Tag: First Amendment

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Speak Out in 2021

 

As the train wreck of 2020 steams full speed into what we have every reason to expect will be the train wreck of 2021, I’ve been thinking about how I want to apply my limited time and energy in the new year. There are certainly plenty of issues that warrant attention. After all, no problems that dogged us last year have been solved; none has even grown smaller, and a brand new set of problems is scheduled to take office in just a couple of weeks, promising a tsunami of bad judgment and its inevitable consequences.

I’ve resolved to do my best to focus most of my attention on one issue, something I consider to be of paramount importance; more important even than our foolish panic over COVID, or the frankly idiotic trans movement, or the viciousness of Antifa and hateful dishonesty of BLM, or the barely concealed self-loathing of climate catastrophism.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Biden Confused by Free Speech

 

Biden campaign picture of protest
Evidence provided by Biden campaign of terrifying protesters flying American flags on a public highway, new Covid-19 restrictions expected in response.
After encountering Trump supporter escorts as their campaign bus traveled in the Lone Star State, the Biden campaign expressed concern about the exercise of First Amendment rights on public highways, reported by Jack Phillips in the Epoch Times:

“Rather than engage in productive conversation about the drastically different visions that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have for our country, Trump supporters in Texas today instead decided to put our staff, surrogates, supporters, and others in harm’s way,” Biden campaign Texas communications director Tariq Thowfeek told news outlets, confirming several events would be canceled in the state.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Censorship Is Real

 

So someone on Twitter commented about Joe Biden being able to survive COVID-19, and I couldn’t help myself. I pointed out he was weak, frail, uncertain, and had no confidence. I pointed out that when you lack confidence that you can beat an illness, the likelihood is that the illness is going to kill you. It was fair commentary. I mentioned that I had clinical experience that bore out those observations in the tweet. There were no threats. It wasn’t targeted toward Joe Biden. It was a simple observation. But not to Twitter.

I was booted for 12 hours because of that tweet.

Pastor Ché Ahn and Attorney Mathew Staver joined Senior Editor Christopher Bedford to discuss their recent lawsuit against California Gov. Gavin Newsom for his actions in banning religious worship amid the ongoing government lockdown. Ahn is the founder and head pastor at Harvest International Ministry and Harvest Rock Church, and Staver is a founding member of Liberty Counsel.

Ahn argued Gov. Newsom imposed a double standard in shutting down religious services while praising the reckless protests and looting that ensued following the death of George Floyd, despite their lack of compliance with CDC guidelines. Staver said the Constitution makes it clear the government cannot prevent citizens from gathering to worship.

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Our own Sam Jacobs sat down with Matthew Larosiere. Matthew Larosiere is the Director of Legal Policy at the Firearms Policy Coalition and an unashamed supporter of the Second Amendment without exceptions. He is also an early adopter of the 3D printer, something that he has become very skilled at using to make full firearms, […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

I recently called for the White House to show they believe that all black lives matter, using the beginning of week press briefing among other venues. That is exactly how Kayleigh McEnany started out this Monday’s press briefing. This theme was also highlighted by a young black woman speaking at President Trump’s invitation in Phoenix […]

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A federal judge has issued a restraining order preventing the Louisville mayor from banning drive-in church services. Hoping this starts a trend. https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/04/11/federal-judge-issues-restraining-order-against-kentucky-city-and-police-attempting-to-block-easter-worship/ Preview Open

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Make the Democrats Talk About Sex

 

Yes, really. I mean the meaning of “sex.” The leftists in the House of Representatives passed a resolution purporting to extend the deadline for passage of a Constitutional amendment that had failed for lack of ratification by the specified deadline. The Democrats did so as part of election politics. The Senate Republicans should seize the opportunity given them, rather than playing into Chuck and Nancy’s hand.

Democrats want to run this year as women’s rights advocates, even as they destroy the rights of actual girls and women. It is time one party stood up for girls and women against the patriarchy in dresses. The ERA, if passed as currently written, will be weaponized by the left, reading their cultural agenda through the word “sex.” Nevertheless, the recurring story we will see and hear for the next nine months will be that a bunch of old white men, led by Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, are standing in the way of women’s equality. It does not have to go this way.

The Democrats almost slipped the ERA by us back in 1972-1973, whereafter Phyllis Schlafly mobilized effective opposition. Eventually, several states reversed their ratification. Yet, the Democrats intend to claim in court that a state cannot un-ratify, so they get to collect every state, with the more recent passage by Virginia making the magical 38th state, adding the already redefined amendment onto the end of the Constitution, trumping all previous language—especially the First Amendment’s religion clauses.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Case for a Free Speech Union

 

The idea for a free speech trade union was born at a conference for canceled academics in Oxford last year. It was organized by Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Philosophy at Oxford, who was targeted by an outrage mob in 2017 after writing an article for the Times of London entitled ‘Don’t feel guilty about our colonial past.’ Because Nigel was bold enough to defend Bruce Gilley, a conservative political science professor at Portland State, who had made the case for colonialism in an academic journal called Third World Quarterly, he became the victim of a witch-hunt. Colleagues stopped collaborating with him, open letters circulated calling for his academic work to be de-funded and a Cambridge lecturer accused him of being a “white supremacist.” Needless to say, Professor Gilley had it much worse. The editors of Third World Quarterly received death threats from enraged members of the woke Left and withdrew the article, although it was republished by the National Association of Scholars.

Bruce Gilley was at Nigel’s conference, as was Bret Weinstein, who was chased off the Evergreen State College campus by baseball-bat wielding thugs, and Amy Wax, who was relieved of some of her teaching responsibilities at Penn Law School after she had the temerity to co-write an article for the Philadelphia Inquirer defending the bourgeois virtues. There were others, too.

Listening to their stories convinced me the time had come to take a stand. What was needed was a trade union-like organization that stood up for the speech rights of its members. The idea was simple: everyone who values intellectual freedom should organize so if the mob tries to pick one of us off, we can unite in his or her defense. The enemies of free speech hunt in packs; its defenders need to band together too.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Multi-Front Attack on Free Speech

 

Free speech…free expression generally…is under attack in America and throughout the Western world to a degree not seen in a long time. I think there are specific phenomena and (partially-overlapping) categories of people which are largely driving this attack, to wit:

The Thugs. As I pointed out in my post The United States of Weimar?, illegal actions against political opponents, ranging from theft of newspapers to direct assault and battery, have in recent decades become increasingly common on university campuses, and now are well on track to being normalized as aspects of American politics. Incidents of political thuggery are reported almost daily: just the other day, pro-Trump women at an upscale DC hotel were verbally attacked and apparently physically assaulted by members of a wedding party that was heavy on Democrat attendees; including, reportedly, some top officials from the DNC. A pro-free-speech film was reportedly interrupted by two men wearing masks. Interruption of movies they didn’t like was a tactic used by the Nazis prior to their obtaining official censorship powers. The film “All Quiet on the Western Front” was plagued by Nazi disruptions when released in Germany in 1930. And attempts to shut down dissident speakers on college campuses, such as this, have become so common as to now be almost the default expectation.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Democrat Candidate for NH Governor, Andru Volinsky, Blocks Media Outlet on Twitter

 

Andru Volinsky, a Democrat, announced this morning that he will seek the Democrat nomination to run for governor of New Hampshire against incumbent Chris Sununu, a Republican. New Hampshire Journal, run by friend of Ricochet @michaelgraham, naturally wanted to get a comment from the candidate, but noticed that Volinsky has blocked New Hampshire Journal’s twitter account.

Volinsky is engaging in unconstitutional “view point discrimination” according to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled unanimously this past July in upholding a lower court’s decision in Knight First Amendment Institute v. Trump:

This case requires us to consider whether a public official may, consistent with the First Amendment, “block” a person from his Twitter account in response to the political views that person has expressed, and whether the analysis differs because that public official is the President of the United States. The answer to both questions is no. …blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment.

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With nearly seven in 10 American adults worried about cultural and political threats to free speech, good news may be closer than you think. In fact, a recent court decision provides hope that free speech protections are trending upward, charting the course for future victories for all Americans. Free speech was at the very center […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Victory for Christian Filmmakers Is a Win for Everyone

 

With nearly seven in 10 American adults worried about cultural and political threats to free speech, good news may be closer than you think. In fact, a recent court decision provides hope that free speech protections are trending upward, charting the course for future victories for all Americans.

Free speech was at the very center of Telescope Media Group v. Lucero. The case challenged the state’s attempt to force Christian filmmakers—with the threat of fines and jail time—to promote messages that violate their faith. On August 23, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of the filmmakers, overturning a lower court’s decision and giving that court a roadmap for how this case should move forward.

The win isn’t just a major victory for the filmmakers—it’s a game-changer. Last summer, when the US Supreme Court decided Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission on free exercise grounds, it did not even need to reach the free speech issue presented because Colorado’s hostility against cake artist Jack Phillips was so egregious.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. An Antidote to Conservative Gloom on Campus Free Speech

 

FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff is in National Review this week with a rather simple message for conservatives: There are actually a lot of things we can feel good about regarding the state of free expression on college campuses today.

The welfare of campus discourse is not perfect, of course, and its easy to sense that the issue is only getting worse–especially as free speech on campus gets no shortage of media exposure. The playing field has also changed in other fundamental ways. College students today are more aligned against free speech than they were ten or even five years ago, for reasons Greg and Jonathan Haidt expound on at length in their bestselling book The Coddling of the American Mind.

I’ve been at FIRE since 2008, and I can attest to those changes in the culture firsthand. I can also, however, attest to these meaningful changes FIRE has brought about nationally:

Andrew Doyle is the man behind satirical Twitter account Titania McGrath – a radical intersectionalist, feminist, and slam poet, who is constantly telling people how oppressed she is – and author of Woke: A Guide to Social Justice. He and Bridget have a fascinating and important conversation about the dangers of taking art and comedy literally, how smart people are becoming stupid because of woke ideology, why self-censorship is a slippery slope, and they wonder when the left became such pearl-clutchers. They discuss winning the culture war by winning people over, rather than locking them up or making certain types of speech illegal, the fact that there’s nothing more likely to help the far right to grow than the way the far left are behaving, the dangers of eroding the distinction between right wing and alt right, and the problems with The Faith of Intersectionality. Should the word “douchebag” be considered ableist? Where did the idea that “speech is violence” come from? What is it like being tribeless in an increasingly tribal world? What is the path forward? Find out on this not-to-be-missed episode.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Absolute Right to Choose Your Own Pronouns

 

I believe both in the right of individuals to express their personal pronoun preferences and in the right of other individuals to ignore them. It’s the same right in each case: the right of freedom of expression and it’s a right I hold dear.

I understand that some folks in the trans movement would like to tell other people which words they can and can’t use. I don’t approve of that, because I really do believe in freedom of expression: the same freedom that lets a guy put on a dress and say “I’m a woman” lets me chuckle and say, “yeah, no. But let’s agree to disagree.”

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Nick Sandmann Lawsuit against WAPO for $250 Million and Clarence Thomas’ Solo Opinion

 

Two stories have intersected making for intriguing discussions about the First Amendment as well as the laws against defamation.

The first story is the defamation lawsuit of Nick Sandmann against the Washington Post for $250 million. WaPo’s coverage of the confrontation between Sandman and a Native American man exploded into a national story and was fed by the inflammatory and reckless coverage by WaPo and other media outlets. Sandmann’s lawyer, Lin Wood, said, “Nick Sandmann was perceived as an easy target. He is 16. Inexcusable on every level.”

I suspect that the attorney will also include information on the threats, intimidation, and harassment that Sandmann went through, which included his family leaving their home for security reasons, explaining how the extreme coverage endangered all those involved. The lawsuit claims that. . .

Daniel DiSalvo joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss the impact of last year’s Supreme Court decision in Janus v. ASFCME, in which the Court ruled that public-sector unions’ mandatory “agency fees” were unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

Unions provide an important source of financial support for politicians—primarily Democrats—around the country. In a new report for the Manhattan Institute, DiSalvo finds that blue states are taking steps to shield their public unions from the full consequences of the Janus ruling.