Tag Archives: free speech

How the civil rights movement brought us free speech on campus

Souce: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

“As our nation takes the day to celebrate the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for those of us at FIRE it’s worth pausing once again to consider the contributions of the movement King came to represent to the conception of First Amendment and due process rights FIRE continues to defend today. The reality is that FIRE would not and could not exist if not for two movements. First is the Enlightenment, which brought us (among many other things) the United States, the Bill of Rights, and the idea — enshrined in our founding documents, if not in practice — that ‘all men are created equal.’ Second is the African-American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, which set the modern template for successful and peaceful activism.” (01/15/18)


The real scandal should be Trump’s attempt to ban that book

Source: spiked
by Mick Hume

“Opponents claim that the ‘revelations’ in Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House prove President Donald Trump is ‘unfit’ for office. But what exposes Trump is not the petty gossip about eating burgers in bed. The real scandal should be the president’s attempt to suppress the book, and his threat to introduce tougher US libel laws to protect the powerful from criticism. The lie behind Trump’s noise about championing freedom and making America great again is laid bare by his fear and loathing of free speech — the one liberty that has set US democracy apart, protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Yet amid all the criticism around Fire and Fury, this is one stick the president’s opponents are ill-equipped to use against him. Because the Trump-hating American left fears free speech as much as he does.” (01/10/18)


Tenth Circuit finds administrator not liable for expelling student over tweets

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by Zach Greenberg

“In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that expelling a student for his off-campus tweets did not violate clearly established law under the First Amendment. The court’s flawed analysis unduly shields colleges from the consequences of violating students’ speech rights. … The Tenth Circuit’s distorted analysis allows administrators to violate students’ free speech rights with impunity. Instead of properly denying qualified immunity to ‘the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law,’ the court paves the way for more college administrators to escape liability for flagrant First Amendment transgressions.” (01/09/18)


First Amendment values versus the First Amendment

Source: Cato Unbound
by John Samples

“To participate in making a democratic culture, people need to (and do) use cultural artifacts owned by others. Balkin calls for strong ‘fair use’ to encourage democratic culture. Some would deny recognition and protection to intellectual property; after all, Mickey Mouse has retained his popularity because he has been absorbed into and retained by popular culture, long after Walt Disney penned his last cheerful rodent. On the other hand, in initially creating Mickey, Disney birthed an incredibly potent cultural product, and since at least 1688, the added value of that type has justified a kind of private property, for some people anyway. In a culture characterized by endless remixing, the locus of value creation can be difficult to determine.” (01/02/18)


Beyond free speech narrowly considered

Source: Cato Unbound
by Mike Godwin

“Like John Samples, I find Thomas I. Emerson’s exploration of the social value of the First Amendment persuasive, and it has been profoundly influential on my thinking as a civil libertarian. … Freedom of speech, as Emerson explains, is valuable for more than just its necessity to the proper function of democracy, and John particularly underscores this point when he says that, in terms of free speech’s role in individual self-fulfillment, ‘social media is an unalloyed good.'” (12/22/17)


The end of free speech

Source: Reason
by Katherine Mangu-Ward

“Republicans, as is their habit of late, have positioned themselves as the defenders of First Amendment freedoms in a time of runaway political correctness. This plays well on television: Footage of college students shouting down speakers they don’t like, staging sit-ins, and brandishing protest placards runs on an endless loop at Fox News …. when a demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, spiraled out of control, it was primarily right-leaning lawmakers and pundits who stood up for the right of white supremacists and Nazis to express their vile opinions about race and Confederate statuary. Meanwhile, signs demanding ‘No Free Speech for Fascists’ cropped up in the hands of lefties at post-Charlottesville rallies around the country. But as the weather cooled, the GOP revealed its true colors. President Donald Trump, the same party that was poised to die on the hill of free speech when it was being threatened by angry progressives was suddenly ready to eliminate First Amendment rights on the football field, revoke citizenship for flag burning, pull broadcast licenses over bad comedy sketches, and expand libel laws to take down annoying members of the media. There are greater threats to speech, it turns out, than a bunch of angry co-eds.” (for publication 01/18)


Social media and the First Amendment’s values

Source: Cato Unbound
by John Samples

“Emerson remarked that Western thought assumes that ‘the proper end of man is the realization of his character and potentialities as a human being.’ This implies that every person has ‘the right to form their own beliefs and opinions’ along with a right to express both. This path toward self-realization demands the freedom to know and speak, and makes society a servant of individuals rather than their master. On this front, social media is an unalloyed good. Not since the invention of the printing press have we seen such a radical expansion of the individual’s capacity for self-fulfillment through self-expression. … The elimination of the old gatekeepers comes with its own costs. The supply of speech now far outstrips any individual’s attention. Hyperbolic, attention grabbing proclamations may initially win out over well-reasoned arguments. … This concern aside, fierce competition is exactly what we expect to see when barriers to entry are drastically lowered.” (12/08/17)


NH: Vermin Supreme sues City of Concord over free speech denial

Source: Free Keene

“2020 is a long way off, but longtime presidential contender Vermin Supreme isn’t resting easy. His attorneys filed a civil suit against the City of Concord, NH and some of its bureaucrats on Friday in the federal district court over Concord’s denial of a permit for a pony protest. According to the thirteen-page suit, Supreme had requested a permit from the city bureaucrats to protest outside Gibson’s Bookstore where Hillary Clinton will be holding a book signing event on Tuesday, December 5th. …
A bureaucrat with the Concord Health & Licensing Services Department, Eugene Blake, told Supreme’s agent that there were no general restrictions on having ponies outdoors at that location and that ordinarily he would grant the permit to have ponies at that location. However, Blake admitted the Concord police directed him not to grant a permit for the ponies on that day, and at that location, specifically because no one wanted to interfere with Clinton’s book signing.” (12/03/17)


Two clashing meanings of “free speech”

Source: The Atlantic
by Teresa M Bejan

“Little distinguishes democracy in America more sharply from Europe than the primacy — and permissiveness — of our commitment to free speech. Yet ongoing controversies at American universities suggest that free speech is becoming a partisan issue. While conservative students defend the importance of inviting controversial speakers to campus and giving offense, many self-identified liberals are engaged in increasingly disruptive, even violent, efforts to shut them down. Free speech for some, they argue, serves only to silence and exclude others. Denying hateful or historically ‘privileged’ voices a platform is thus necessary to make equality effective, so that the marginalized and vulnerable can finally speak up — and be heard. The reason that appeals to the First Amendment cannot decide these campus controversies is because there is a more fundamental conflict between two, very different concepts of free speech at stake. The conflict between what the ancient Greeks called isegoria, on the one hand, and parrhesia, on the other, is as old as democracy itself.” (12/02/17)


SCOTUS will hear challenge to California law requiring anti-abortion groups to promote state-funded abortions

Source: KSRO News

“The Supreme Court on Monday said it will consider whether a California requirement for pregnancy centers in that state to provide information about publicly funded abortion and contraceptive services violates free-speech rights. The petitioners, which say they are ‘life-affirming pregnancy centers,’ argue that California’s Reproductive FACT ACT, ‘Forces licensed pro-life medical centers to post notices informing women how to contact the State at a particular phone number for information on how to obtain state-funded abortions, directly contradicting the centers’ pro-life message.’ And that petitioners argue is a violation of the First Amendment, both its protections of speech and of free exercise.” (11/13/17)