Tag: First Amendment

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The Slants Win at the Supreme Court


In January, I posted about Simon Tam and his band The Slants, which had been denied trademark protection on the grounds that the name is racially insensitive and therefore forbidden in the marketplace. This morning I see that Tam has won his case, the Court unanimously concurring but issuing two opinions, one written by Justice Alito and concurred with by the Chief Justice, Justice Thomas, and Justice Breyer; the other by Justice Kennedy who was joined by Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg in a separate opinion that affirmed in part and concurred in the judgment.

From Alito’s opinion:


FIRE’s 2017 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech


Unfortunately, it isn’t an easy undertaking deciding which schools belong on FIRE’s “10 worst colleges for free speech” list every year. This year was no exception.

This morning, we at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) published our annual “worst of the worst” list, which can be read with detailed descriptions of each school’s misdeeds at The Huffington Post.


Mann v. National Review, Judges v. First Amendment


The assault on the First Amendment continues. On December 22, more than two years after it heard our appeal of a lower-court ruling, a sweet-time-taking three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued a ruling in the Mann v. National Review case. The case stems from this July 15, 2012 Corner post in which Mark Steyn, quoting in part from something Rand Simberg had posted on the Competitive Enterprise Institute website, laid into global-warmist Penn State prof Michael Mann’s infamous “hockey stick” graph, Mann himself, and his Penn State bosses.

On the ruling’s upside: The court tossed out Mann’s defamation claim against National Review and Rich Lowry over his August, 2012 “Get Lost” NRO piece replying to Mann’s lawsuit threat.


Yes, You Have Free Speech! (Except on 99.9985% of This Campus.)


georgiagwinnettcollege…And except if your expression “disturbs the peace and/or comfort of person(s).” And for only about 18 hours during the week. Otherwise … free speech! So it is at one college.

Alliance Defending Freedom sued Georgia Gwinnett College Monday on behalf of Chike Uzuegbunam, a student who sought to politely share his faith on campus. Despite jumping through several unconstitutional hoops in order to get permission to speak, Chike was nonetheless accused of “disorderly conduct.”


President Trump: Defender of Religious Freedom?

a katz / Shutterstock.com

At this point, I expect Donald Trump will likely be the nominee, and — if he can overcome his huge negatives and is as good at demolishing Hillary Clinton as he was his Republican competitors — he may well be our next president. My point here is that he might be, counterintuitively, more successful on religious liberty and culture war issues than Senator Ted Cruz would be.

Why? Well, as a devout Christian, Cruz would be a lightning rod for the Left as was John Ashcroft, and any attempt to defend or restore 1st Amendment rights to Christians would encounter fierce opposition. Conversely, the more profane and socially-liberal Trump’s apparent indifference to issues like traditional marriage might give him an advantage if he plays it right. That is, he could say he has no problem with gay relationships but simply opposes punishing Christians who merely don’t want to be coerced to be involved in activities that violate their beliefs. His lack of a record of opposing gay rights might make his defense of religious rights more palatable — or at, least, harder to attack — politically.


Is Twitter “Shadowbanning” Conservatives?


I spoke with OAN host Liz Wheeler about the allegations that Twitter is silencing many of its users. Milo Yiannopoulos, editor of Breitbart Tech and frequent guest of Ricochet’s own Radio Free Delingpole, revealed that the financially troubled social platform is using a technique called “shadowbanning” to limit the reach of accounts that promote a non-PC message:

According to the source, Twitter maintains a ‘whitelist’ of favoured Twitter accounts and a ‘blacklist’ of unfavoured accounts. Accounts on the whitelist are prioritised in search results, even if they’re not the most popular among users. Meanwhile, accounts on the blacklist have their posts hidden from both search results and other users’ timelines.


Video: Mizzou Protest Shuts Down First Amendment


A young photojournalist tried to do his job today and take pictures of a protest movement roiling the University of Missouri. The protest, named #ConcernedStudent1950, complains of institutionalized racism at the Mizzou campus and society at large. Their disruption has gotten so bad, the university president decided to resign earlier today. Since this is obviously news, sympathetic reporters are there to spread the protesters’ progressive message. Unfortunately for the journalists, Mizzou doesn’t seem to teach its students about the First Amendment.


China: Harbinger of a Brave New World


shutterstock_275764925Totalitarianism is a function of technology. Prior to recent times, governments might claim to be absolute, but they did not have the record-keeping, administrative capacity to make good on that claim. Now they can do so far more easily than ever before — without hiring armies of spies. All that they have to do is follow the population on the Internet and use computers to collect and analyze the data. What Google can do, governments can do — and in Xi Jinping’s China that is what they are going to do. As The Weekly Standard reports,

China’s Communist government is rolling out a plan to assign everyone in the country “citizenship scores.” According to the ACLU, “China appears to be leveraging all the tools of the information age—electronic purchasing data, social networks, algorithmic sorting—to construct the ultimate tool of social control. It is, as one commentator put it, ‘authoritarianism, gamified.’ ” In the system, everyone is measured by a score ranging from 350 to 950, and that score is linked to a national ID card. In addition to measuring your financial credit, it will also measure political compliance. Expressing the wrong opinion—or merely having friends who express the wrong opinion—will hurt your score. The higher your score, the more privileges the government will grant you.