Tag Archives: first-amendment

First Amendment Defense Act Would Be ‘Devastating’ for LGBTQ …

Posted: December 26, 2016 at 2:54 pm

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump arrives to speak during a USA Thank You Tour event at Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, U.S., December 15, 2016. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

FADA would prohibit the federal government from taking “discriminatory action” against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The act distinctly aims to protect the right of all entities to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on two sets of beliefs: “(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

Ironically, the

On December 9, Sen. Lee’s spokesperson, Conn Carroll, told

“Hopefully November’s results will give us the momentum we need to get this done next year,” Carroll said. “We do plan to reintroduce FADA next Congress and we welcome Trump’s positive words about the bill.”

“During oral arguments in Obergfell, President Obama’s solicitor general admitted that if a right to same-sex marriage were created, religious institutions, including many Catholic schools, could have their tax exempt status revoked by the IRS,” Carroll told NBC Out on Wednesday. “The First Amendment Defense Act was created to make sure that does not happen.”

But while Carroll claims “FADA in no way undermines federal or state civil rights laws,” it would take away the government’s recourse in terms of punishing businesses, institutions or individuals who break civil rights law by discriminating against LGBTQ people.

Jennifer Pizer, Law and Policy Director at Lambda Legal, told NBC Out FADA “invites widespread, devastating discrimination against LGBT people” and is a deeply unconstitutional bill.

“This proposed new law violates both Equal Protection and the Establishment Clause by elevating one set of religious beliefs above all others,” Pizer said, “And by targeting LGBT Americans as a group, contrary to settled constitutional law.”

Pizer warned that the bill’s language also left room for individuals and businesses to discriminate against unwed heterosexual couples and single mothers, because of the clause stating that “sexual relations are properly reserved” to marriage between a man and a woman.

“There cannot be even one iota of doubt that this bill endorses one set of religious beliefs above others, and targets people in same-sex relationships, married or not, as well as unmarried heterosexual couples who live together,” Pizer said. “It’s an unconstitutional effort to turn the clock back to a time when unmarried mothers had to hide in shame, and LGBT people had to hide, period.”

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FADA was first filed in the House and Senate in 2015, but was met with protests from Democrats and resulted in just one House hearing amid concerns that Obama would veto the bill. It is currently co-sponsored by 171 House Republicans and just one Democrat (Daniel Lipinski of Illinois.)

State-level legislation similar to FADA has failed in recent years, usually resulting from lawsuits and nationwide boycotts. When Vice President-elect Mike Pence passed a “religious freedom” bill as governor of Indiana in March 2015, it was met with

Mississippi’s

A lawsuit brought by Mississippi religious leaders alleges the state law actually violates religious freedom by determining that religious belief necessitates anti-LGBTQ discrimination. The group of ordained ministers suing the state said in the lawsuit,

Barber v. Bryant is currently at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, after a federal trial court ruled HB 1523 violates the federal Equal Protection and Establishment Clauses. Pizer said the case stands as an example of the legal explosion that would occur in reaction to FADA.

“If Congress were to pass the federal FADA as currently written, and the next president were to sign it into law, I’m confident heads would spin at how fast the constitutional challenges would fly into court,” Pizer said, adding “we’re likely to have a great many allies because these attempts to misuse religion for discrimination offend enormous numbers of Americans who cherish both religious liberty and equality for all.”

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : War on …

Posted: December 15, 2016 at 6:43 pm

A major threat to liberty is the assault on the right to discuss political issues, seek out alternative information sources, and promote dissenting ideas and causes such as non-interventionism in foreign and domestic affairs. If this ongoing assault on free speech succeeds, then all of our liberties are endangered.

One of the most common assaults on the First Amendment is the attempt to force public policy organizations to disclose their donors. Regardless of the intent of these laws, the effect is to subject supporters of controversial causes to harassment, or worse. This harassment makes other potential donors afraid to support organizations opposing a popular war or defending the rights of an unpopular group.

Many free speech opponents support laws and regulations forbidding activist or educational organizations from distributing factual information regarding a candidates positions for several months before an election. The ban would apply to communications that do not endorse or oppose any candidate. These laws would result in the only sources of information on the candidates views being the campaigns and the media.

Recently the Federal Election Commission (FEC) rejected a proposal to add language exempting books, movies, and streaming videos from its regulations. The majority of FEC commissioners apparently believe they should have the power, for example, to ban Oliver Stones biography of Edward Snowden, since it was released two months before the election and features clips of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump discussing Snowden.

The latest, and potentially most dangerous, threat to the First Amendment is the war on fake news. Those leading the war are using a few viral Internet hoaxes to justify increased government regulation and even outright censorship of Internet news sites. Some popular websites, such as Facebook, are not waiting for the government to force them to crack down on fake news.

Those calling for bans on fake news are not just trying to censor easily-disproved Internet hoaxes. They are working to create a government-sanctioned “gatekeeper” (to use Hillary Clintons infamous phrase) with the power to censor any news or opinion displeasing to the political establishment. None of those wringing their hands over fake news have expressed any concern over the fake news stories that helped lead to the Iraq War. Those fake news stories led to the destabilizing of the Middle East, the rise of ISIS, and the deaths of millions.

The war on fake news has taken a chilling turn with efforts to label news and opinion sites of alternative news sources as peddlers of Russian propaganda. The main targets are critics of US interventionist foreign policy, proponents of a gold standard, critics of the US governments skyrocketing debt, and even those working to end police militarization. All have been smeared as anti-American agents of Russia.

Just last week, Congress passed legislation creating a special committee, composed of key federal agencies, to counter foreign interference in US elections. There have also been calls for congressional investigations into Russian influence on the elections. Can anyone doubt that the goal of this is to discredit and silence those who question the mainstream medias pro-welfare/warfare state propaganda?

The attempts to ban fake news; smear antiwar, anti-Federal Reserve, and other pro-liberty movements as Russian agents; and stop independent organizations from discussing a politicians record before an election are all parts of an ongoing war on the First Amendment. All Americans, no matter their political persuasion, have a stake in defeating these efforts to limit free speech.

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Jeff Bewkes: ‘Real threat’ to First Amendment from Democrats …

Posted: December 7, 2016 at 7:58 am

Jeff Bewkes. Screenshot/Business Insider

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes told Business Insider’s Henry Blodget on Tuesday that the “real threat” to the First Amendment did not come from President-elect Donald Trump during the campaign, but rather from the Democratic Party.

Bewkes was speaking at Business Insider’s annual IGNITION conference, during which he was asked about Trump’s frequent campaign threats to open up libel laws.

Trump has also set his sights on Bewkes’ own media property, CNN, which he consistently ridiculed along the campaign trail and even after Election Day.

“Do you worry about that at all?” Blodget asked.

Bewkes said he didn’t “think that’s a serious thing,” adding that “we should all worry” if someone were seeking to change the First Amendment. He suggested that came from the Democratic Party, which “had a campaign plank to change the First Amendment, and they were doing it in the guise of campaign finance reform.”

“And that was worrying me more,” Bewkes said. “The press tends to miss that because they tend to lean that way, and therefore they were supporting what they were viewing I think overly charitably as something in cleaning up money in politics when in fact what it would do is restrain multiple voices.”

Democrats, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, vowed to engage in campaign finance reform following the election a cause that has been bolstered in recent years by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The 2010 ruling deemed that corporations and labor unions were people who could flex First Amendment rights in contributing to campaigns, and it led to the advent of so-called super PACs.

“So I thought the real threat to the First Amendment came from the Democrats’ side more,” Bewkes said. “There’s not going to be a serious effort on the Republican side.”

Watch the whole Bewkes interview right here, scroll to 1:05:45.

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Media worry about First Amendment rights under Trump but …

Posted: November 17, 2016 at 6:34 pm

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The mainstream media is freaking out over what it thinks are going to be restrictions on its First Amendment rights under President-Elect Donald Trump.

Everything we have everything that makes us unlike any other nation flows from those words and the protections they offer for free expression, Margaret Sullivan, the media columnist for The Washington Post wrote on Nov. 13. Donald Trumps presidency is very likely to threaten those First Amendment rights.

Last month, the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the rights of journalists, said in a statement: Trump has consistently demonstrated a contempt for the role of the press beyond offering publicity to him and advancing his interests.

This is not about picking sides in an election, the statement added. This is recognizing that a Trump presidency represents a threat to press freedom unknown in modern history.

The groups board consists of Associated Press executive editor Kathleen Carroll, New Yorker editor David Remnick, CBS New correspondent Lara Logan, Univision boss Isaac Lee and many other mainstream media journalists.

Yet, the left and especially President Obama have shown repeatedly their indifference to the First Amendment, a fact these journalists carelessly ignore in making their case against Mr. Trump.

Mr. Obamas administration set dangerous precedents, and the left, for years has been shutting down the opposition through their use of safe-spaces and trigger warnings.

For nearly eight years, President Obama massively expanded his authority on national security issues: on the prosecution of whistleblowers, secret surveillance courts, wars without congressional authorization, and drone campaigns without public oversight, wrote Tim Mak of the Daily Beast. During this time the left, with the exception of some civil liberties groups, remained largely silent.

The New York Times and the ACLU had to sue Mr. Obamas administration to get basic legal documents on the governments position on targeted killing through drone strikes as if some part of U.S. law should be secret.

And it was Mr. Obamas Department of Justice that subpoenaed the telephone records of AP journalists to track down a leak. It also investigated Fox News journalist James Rosen and named him as a co-conspirator in a leak about North Koreas nuclear program. The Justice Department charged Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a State Department contractor who was Mr. Rosens source, with violating the Espionage Act.

The Justice Department used security badge access records to track the reporters comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit, The Post reported at the time. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporters personal emails.

Mr. Obama used the Espionage Act against government whistle-blowers who shared secret information with reporters more than any other administration in history, the Daily Beasts Mr. Mak reported.

Now thats some scary stuff.

And as the Federalist noted, the lefts infringement on First Amendment rights isnt just through the expansion of executive powers, its also cultural.

When mainstream media outlets collectively applaud the boycott of a rural pizza parlor, or the ruination of Brendan Eich, or the persecution of florists and bakers and elderly nuns who hold disfavored political views, it sends a strong message that freedom of speech doesnt mean anything, the Federalists John Daniel Davidson wrote.

On college campuses across the country, liberal professors encourage their students to boycott and protest conservative speakers, shout down administrators who dare to challenge them, and segregate themselves from anyone who might have a different view. Couched in the language of safe spaces and trigger warnings, the Lefts enforcement of political correctness has created a climate of intolerance that goes beyond the campus, Mr. Davidson added.

Indeed.

So before the collective freakout of the mainstream media, speculating about Mr. Trumps presidency, perhaps they should take an inward look of whats happened in the last eight years.

Mr. Obamas presidency created some uncomfortable precedents when it came to secrecy. Transparent, it was not.

This is a good rule: Dont answer any questions when they start yelling at you, Mr. Obama advised Mr. Trump when reporters started shouting questions at the two after their first Oval Office meeting this month.

Mr. Trump is just inheriting Mr. Obamas legacy.

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Be heard at First Amendment Field – Longwood University

Posted: September 22, 2016 at 7:46 pm

In the shadow of a landmark where student activism helped change the world, Longwood University will invite the public to make their voices heard during the Oct. 4 Vice Presidential Debate.

In 1951, 16-year-old Barbara Johns led a student walkout at all-black Moton High School. The students two-week strike launched a court challenge that became part of the Supreme Courts Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Now a National Historic Landmark that is affiliated with Longwood and located a short walk from the debate venue, the Moton Museum will be proud to help welcome a new generation of activists to Farmville on debate day: A field behind the school where Moton students once played will serve as the debates First Amendment Field.

The area will be reserved for public speaking, debate, protest and discussion on the day of the debate. Activists, protestors, concerned citizens and students are invited to address topics important to them from the stage and podium being set up there.

Creating a space for students as well as members of the broader community to engage with the issues they are passionate about… underscores Longwoods commitment to freedom of speech, peaceful protest and civic engagement.

The Moton Museum exists to honor student activism in the civil rights era, said Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV. Creating a space for students as well as members of the broader community to engage with the issues they are passionate about, and locating that space next to the museum, underscores Longwoods commitment to freedom of speech, peaceful protest and civic engagement.

The field behind Moton historically has been a site where citizens have asserted their First Amendment rights, said Larissa Fergeson, university liaison to the Moton Museum and professor of history at Longwood. Barbara Johns and her fellow students planned their strike on that field. Fifty years ago, in July 1966, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Stokely Carmichael gave a speech to an integrated audience here, a mere month after he coined the term Black Power at a rally in Mississippi.

Longwood University is dedicated to the development of citizen leaders, Reveley said. As the university prepares to be a host once again to history, it was vitally important for us to offer our students and members of the public the opportunity to be heard on the issues that spark their passion.

First Amendment Field is open to the general public from10 a.m.-6 p.m.onOct. 4.Those who wish to speak are strongly encouraged to pre-register for 10-minute time slots via this webpage. Latecomers may register on site if any remaining time slots are available. First Amendment Field will have a stage outfitted with a podium and PA system.

The physical address for First Amendment Field is 800 Griffin Blvd., Farmville, VA. Questions should be directed to Sherry Swinson at swinsonsd@longwood.edu.

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Yeah, About That Second Amendment

Posted: June 19, 2016 at 2:25 pm

Source: Jim Jesus / YouTube.com

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

While there have been countless debates, tests and judgments that have defined and re-defined how to interpret this amendment, the current prevailing interpretation and belief in America is that individual gun ownership is a constitutional right. As a result, America has seen a steady and consistent stream of deregulation around gun ownership, even as mass shootings appear to be on the rise. As progressives get increasingly concerned about the gun culture in America, as a tactic, they try to make their case by comparing gun ownership to other safety-related, common-sense laws:

While certainly humorous while making a practical point, this tweet burn completely misses the larger point: people don’t have a constitutional right to buy Sudafed. You simply cannot compare a constitutional right to anything else not on the fundamental rights playing field.

This lack of focus on the constitutional argument is where progressives have lost their way. They have been so focused on the practical utility of public policy that they end up losing the larger fights that define America. Constitutional interpretation lends itself to a more strategic (and philosophical) debate platform than arguing the facts and stats on how laws can and should protect people. Constitutional theory is the debate platform that conservatives have been playing on for decades while progressives get frustrated and lose ground.

The remarkable irony is that the wording and intent within the Second Amendment is actually on progressive’s side. In fact, the Second Amendment is a progressive’s dream: the third word in the amendment is “regulated” for heaven’s sake.

No matter the interpretation of every other word and phrase after the first three words, the entire context of the amendment is that it will be a regulated right. Through this lens, the Second Amendment is barely even comparable to the First Amendment in terms of what rights it enables. There is simply no language in the First Amendment that regulates the right to free speech… and yet we still regulate speech despite the unassailable strength of the the First Amendment constitutional language

The upshot? Even in today’s hardcore gun rights environment and culture, the Constitution itself provides the guidance — and mandate — to not just regulate militia (i.e., groups of people) and arms, but to regulate them well.

How our culture defines “well” can and will certainly evolve over time, but we shouldn’t let gun rights ideologues and arms industry special interests continue to convince the public that they’re the only ones who have the Constitution on their side in this debate.

Yes, current Supreme Court interpretation is that every citizen has the right to bear arms. But it’s also constitutionally mandated that we regulate these armed people (i.e., militia) and their arms well. Seeing as the right to bear arms has been implemented pretty effectively in America, perhaps now it’s time to start implementing regulation well too, as the Constitution also mandates.

Editor’s note: On 6/18, I revised the article to include people (i.e., militia)” as well as arms, because I originally mistakenly linked regulation only to arms, not the people who have the right to own them

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Fourth Amendment – United States Bill of Rights – YouTube

Posted: February 22, 2016 at 2:43 am

United States Bill of Rights – Application – Fourth Amendment

Previous video: United States Bill of Rights – Application – Second Amendment YouTube: http://youtu.be/AffgFT3YyhY?list=PLAu…

Next video: United States Bill of Rights – Application – Fifth Amendment YouTube: http://youtu.be/lXHDihXzzOA?list=PLAu…

TABLE OF CONTENTS

United States Bill of Rights – Background – The Philadelphia Convention – Background – The Anti-Federalists – Background – The Federalists – Background – Massachusetts compromise – Proposal and ratification – Anticipating amendments – Proposal and ratification – Crafting amendments – Proposal and ratification – Ratification process – Application – Application – First Amendment – Application – Second Amendment – Application – Fourth Amendment – Application – Fifth Amendment – Application – Eighth Amendment – Application – Ninth Amendment – Display and honoring of the Bill of Rights

All videos about United States Bill of Rights: YouTube: http://youtu.be/w7esXiZuEKM?list=PLAu…

Mission: Our mission is to help people learn according to their learning styles. Some people are mainly auditory learner who need to hear the information to easily understand and learn it. Most people have mixed learning styles, these people learn and understand information better when they read AND hear the text simultaneously.

Sources: – Wikipedia CC BY-SA (text) – Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA (image)

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The Rutherford Institute :: Free Speech

Posted: February 21, 2016 at 11:41 pm

Defending this fundamental right of free expression is a central theme of The Rutherford Institutes work because we believe that all other liberties spring forth from this right.

The First Amendment guarantees all Americans the opportunity to freely express themselves. This fundamental freedom includes the right to distribute literature and discuss a multitude of viewseven views distasteful to most people. It also protects the right of the people to engage in lawful picketing and the right to peaceably assemble. It is critical that a free society value and honor a free marketplace of ideas, a diversity of opinion, and free expression. Without free expression, no democratic society would be possible.

It is for these reasons that The Rutherford Institute is dedicated to preserving these fundamental rights for all Americans. The Institute responds to hundreds of complaints of free speech violations each year. From environmental activists peaceably protesting on public property to preachers relaying their message in a public forum, The Rutherford Institute believes that all people, regardless of their personal beliefs, are entitled to speak freely.

Free Speech Double Standard: Rutherford Institute Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Declare Unconstitutional Its Own Ban on Expressive Activity on Plaza

First Amendment Victory: Appeals Court Rejects Government Attempt to Deny Trademarks for Names That Might Cause Offense, e.g., ‘The Slants’

Rutherford Responds: City Officials, Police Ask Federal Court to Dismiss First Amendment Lawsuit Over Violation of Street Preachers Free Speech Rights

‘Government Cannot Discriminate Against Offensive Speech’: Rutherford Institute Argues for First Amendment Protection for Redskins’ Name

Federal Appeals Court Refuses to Reconsider Decision Upholding 60-Year-Old Ban on Expressive Activity on U.S. Supreme Court Plaza

The Rutherford Institutes petition for review in Clary v. Virginia DMV

Rutherford Institute Challenges Virginia Over Its Cancellation, Revocation and Recall of License Plates Displaying the Confederate Flag

The Right to Tell the Government to Go to Hell: Free Speech in an Age of Government Bullies, Corporate Censors and Compliant Citizens

Fear of the Walking Dead: The American Police State Takes Aim

Sheep Led to the Slaughter: The Muzzling of Free Speech in America

The Emergence of Orwellian Newspeak and the Death of Free Speech

Free Speech, Facebook and the NSA: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

An Unbearable and Choking Hell: The Loss of Our Freedoms in the Wake of 9/11

Free Speech, RIP: A Relic of the American Past

Voter ID Laws: Silencing the American People

Criminalizing Free Speech: Is This What Democracy Looks Like?

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Internet Free Speech – American Civil Liberties Union

Posted: at 11:41 pm

The digital revolution has produced the most diverse, participatory, and amplified communications medium humans have ever had: the Internet. The ACLU believes in an uncensored Internet, a vast free-speech zone deserving at least as much First Amendment protection as that afforded to traditional media such as books, newspapers, and magazines.

The ACLU has been at the forefront of protecting online freedom of expression in its myriad forms. We brought the first case in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared speech on the Internet equally worthy of the First Amendments historical protections. In that case, Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, the Supreme Court held that the government can no more restrict a persons access to words or images on the Internet than it can snatch a book out of someones hands or cover up a nude statue in a museum.

But that principle has not prevented constant new threats to Internet free speech. The ACLU remains vigilant against laws or policies that create new decency restrictions for online content, limit minors access to information, or allow the unmasking of anonymous speakers without careful court scrutiny.

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First Amendment Day – UNC Center for Media Law and Policy

Posted: January 31, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Each year, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill celebrates First Amendment Day. This campus-wide, daylong event is designedto both celebrate the First Amendment and explore its role in the lives of Carolinastudents. Students and other members of the university community read from banned books,sing controversial music and discuss the publicuniversitys special role as a marketplace of ideas and the need to be tolerant when others exercise their rights. First AmendmentDay is observed during National Banned Books Week.

First Amendment Day is organized by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy. The UNC Center for Media Law and Policy is a collaboration between the School of Media and Journalism and the School of Law. Generous funding for the days events is provided by Time Warner Cable.

The seventh annual First Amendment Day was held onSeptember 29, 2015.

Be part of the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #uncfree

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