Tag Archives: first-amendment

Media worry about First Amendment rights under Trump but …

Posted: November 17, 2016 at 6:34 pm


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.


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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Media worry about First Amendment rights under Trump but …

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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

Yeah, About That Second Amendment

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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…


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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Amazon.com: Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction (Very …

Posted: October 26, 2015 at 1:41 am

Warburton writes, “John Stuart Mill was explicit that incitement to violence was the point at which intervention to curb free speech was appropriate. Mere offensiveness wasn’t sufficient grounds for intervention and should not be prevented by law, by threats, or by social pressure.” “A spirit of toleration should not include a prohibition on causing offence.” Times columnist Oliver Kamm agreed, “Free speech does indeed cause hurt – but there is nothing wrong in this.”

As US Justice Brennan said in Texas v. Johnson, which upheld the right of dissenters to burn the US flag as a protest, “If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”

Virtually anything can be seen as offensive, and something that is both true and important is bound to offend somebody.

But in Britain today, it seems that we have the right to have free speech, as long as we don’t use it. So members of the English Defence League are arrested and the group Muslims against Crusades is disbanded for saying things that some find offensive. But it is legitimate, if unjust and idiotic, to call for Sharia law here, and it is also legitimate, and just, to oppose Sharia law.

This government is trying to suppress dissent. It is expanding its police powers to control and limit expression, narrowing our rights of democratic participation.

The meanings of symbols like the poppy are in the realm of opinion and argument, so the state must not impose a politically correct interpretation on us.

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First Amendment – Text, Origins, and Meaning

Posted: October 19, 2015 at 4:44 am

Text of Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Jeff Hunter/The Image Bank/Getty Images Origins of the First Amendment

The founding father most concerned–some might say obsessed–with free speech and free religious exercise was Thomas Jefferson, who had already implemented several similar protections in the constitution of his home state of Virginia. It was Jefferson who ultimately persuaded James Madison to propose the Bill of Rights, and the First Amendment was Jefferson’s top priority.

The first clause in the First Amendment–“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”–is generally referred to as the establishment clause. It is the establishment clause that grants “separation of church and state,” preventing–for example–a government-funded Church of the United States from coming into being. More

The second clause in the First Amendment–“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”–protects freedom of religion. Religious persecution was for all practical purposes universal during the 18th century, and in the already religiously diverse United States there was immense pressure to guarantee that the U.S. government would not require uniformity of belief.

Congress is also prohibited from passing laws “abridging the freedom of speech.” What free speech means, exactly, has varied from era to era. It is noteworthy that within ten years of the Bill of Rights’ ratification, President John Adams successfully passed an act specifically written to restrict the free speech of supporters of Adams’ political opponent, Thomas Jefferson. More

During the 18th century, pamphleteers such as Thomas Paine were subject to persecution for publishing unpopular opinions. The freedom of press clause makes it clear that the First Amendment is meant to protect not only freedom to speak, but also freedom to publish and distribute speech. More

The “right of the people to peaceably assemble” was frequently violated by the British in the years leading up to the American Revolution, as efforts were made to ensure that radical colonists would not be able to foment a revolutionary movement. The Bill of Rights, written as it was by revolutionaries, was intended to prevent the government from restricting future social movements.

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Hate Speech, Sex Speech, Free Speech: Nicholas Wolfson …

Posted: October 3, 2015 at 10:42 pm

A powerful indictment of contemporary attacks on free speech, this book argues for a vigorous First Amendment jurisprudence protecting even offensive types of speech. In recent years, political activists, academics, and legal specialists have attacked traditional notions of free speech protection as they concern hate speech, obscenity, and pornography. They have called for changes in Supreme Court doctrine in defining the First Amendment and have argued that the traditional view of free speech actually creates and perpetuates a society in which the weakwomen, minorities, the poorhave no voice. While recognizing their fears, Nicholas Wolfson argues that it is impossible to separate bad speech from good speech without fatally compromising the uniquely American concept of free speech, and that efforts to modify our concept of free speech for a greater egalitarian good can only result in undue state influence over private speech. In a keenly argued analysis, he finds that, in the end, the preservation of free and vigorous speech requires a strong First Amendment protection for even the most hateful of speech.

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