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October 4, 2015
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Tag: First Amendment

Supreme Court Preview: The Pope Casts a Long Shadow Over the New Term

Francis’ full-throated opposition to the death penalty puts him at the opposite end of the moral universe from Scalia, Thomas and Alito.

Posted on Sep 29, 2015 READ MORE

Trending on Twitter: Blocking Access to Politicians’ Deleted Tweets

The social media giant’s decision to end public access to its websites that archive politicians’ deleted tweets alarms transparency advocates.

Posted on Aug 28, 2015 READ MORE

How the Israel Lobbies Hurt the University of Illinois and the First Amendment in the Salaita Case

There is no honor among thieves or ideologues, and it is sad to see a great university’s leadership descend into petty squabbling and vicious infighting over the illegal firing of Urbana-Champaign professor Steven Salaita.

Posted on Aug 15, 2015 READ MORE

Government Surveillance of the Black Lives Matter Movement Shamelessly Violates the First Amendment

ACLU staff attorney Nusrat Choudhury explains why government tracking of activists involved in the Black Lives Matter movement is simply “not okay.”

Posted on Aug 5, 2015 READ MORE

Campus Administrators Invoke ‘Civility’ to Silence Critical Speech

University administrators are successfully rallying around the value of “civility” in discourse as a means of silencing and getting rid of professors deemed politically troublesome.

Posted on Apr 18, 2015 READ MORE

The Noise Machine That Quells Dissent

Police in a number of U.S. cities aren’t just tasering and tear-gassing protesters, they’re attacking their sense of hearing.

Posted on Jan 20, 2015 READ MORE

Hypocrisy Abounds: Free Speech as Cover for Islamophobia

The dominant narrative that has emerged from the horrific massacre at Charlie Hebdo is that the very foundation of freedom itself was attacked last week in Paris, and that the best way to fight Islamic fundamentalism is to uphold the ethos of the French weekly’s irreverence and satire.

Posted on Jan 15, 2015 READ MORE

Caricature Assassination

Exercising one’s artistic prerogative to create a drawing that is critical or demeaning of an established religion or political ideology should in no way be construed to equate with kicking a hornet’s nest, which it has been, over and over and over again.

Posted on Jan 7, 2015 READ MORE    

Shredding the Fourth Amendment in Post-Constitutional America

The Bill of Rights was designed to protect the people from their government. If the First Amendment’s right to speak out publicly was the people’s wall of security, then the Fourth Amendment’s right to privacy was its buttress. It was once thought that the government should neither be able to stop citizens from speaking nor peer into their lives.

Posted on Jun 27, 2014 READ MORE

Truthdigger of the Week: Cecily McMillan

Occupy Wall Street organizer Cecily McMillan is paying with her time and body for our leaders’ sins of unbridled power and extreme wealth.

Posted on May 11, 2014 READ MORE

Supreme Court Watch: Campaign Spending, Union Busting and the Subversion of the First Amendment

Although predicting the outcome of Supreme Court cases is never a sure thing, two decisions that may be handed down any day have the clear potential to transform the meaning of the First Amendment and once again expose the court’s radically pro-corporate and anti-union agenda.

Posted on Mar 18, 2014 READ MORE

Do Companies Have a First Amendment Right to Track You?

If you think that is a purely academic question, think again.

Posted on Mar 7, 2014 READ MORE

Zanthia (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Is Texas Spending $82 Million to Teach Creationism in Charter Schools?

Texas is violating the Constitution’s First Amendment to teach a myth as fact in publicly funded schools, a Slate writer asserts.

Posted on Jan 21, 2014 READ MORE


Posted on Nov 25, 2013 READ MORE

Seeing Visions (CC BY 2.0)

ACLU Argues Bulk Gathering Violates Rights

Civil liberties campaigners with the ACLU told a New York court Friday that the NSA’s dragnet collection of U.S. phone records violates constitutional rights to freedom of association and privacy.

Posted on Nov 23, 2013 READ MORE

AP/Gary He

Truthdigger of the Week: Larry Flynt

The man who made his fortune selling pictures of naked women demonstrates virtue unmatched by most of his peers by writing against the planned execution of the man who left him paralyzed.

Posted on Oct 20, 2013 READ MORE

ClinicEscort (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Abortion’s Back on the Supreme Court Docket

Two new cases regarding abortion rights in the U.S. are coming up before the high court. Let’s just hope SCOTUS doesn’t further limit access to reproductive health care as many states are finding ways to do just that.

Posted on Oct 8, 2013 READ MORE

Dave Dugdale (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Supreme Court Could Eliminate Campaign Caps on Individual Donors

An effort to remove the limits on total campaign contributions by a single donor is before the Supreme Court. Progressives predict the elimination will lead to an estimated $1 billion increase in giving over the next seven years by the top 1,219 donors from the 2012 election.

Posted on Oct 4, 2013 READ MORE

Movieing Memories (CC BY 2.0)

Wisconsin Drops Charges Against Protest Videographer

The local district attorney, after a lengthy delay, decided there was insufficient evidence that videographer Damon Terrell was doing anything illegal this summer as he filmed the noontime Solidarity Sing Along in the State Capitol in Madison. Justice delayed, yes, but still justice. Now, on to the civil suits ...

Posted on Sep 26, 2013 READ MORE

PhareannaH[berhabuk] (CC BY 2.0)

The Qurans Didn’t Burn, but Maybe the First Amendment Did

Florida minister Terry Jones was arrested Wednesday before he could torch thousands of kerosene-soaked Qurans as an anti-Islamist protest. And civil libertarians should be concerned.

Posted on Sep 13, 2013 READ MORE

- Hak - (CC BY 2.0)

Singing and Photography Can Land You in Jail

While the NSA has been drawing international attention for its massive collection of personal data and its seemingly preternatural inability to follow its own shadowy protocols for handling the material, it’s useful to remember that our national eavesdroppers aren’t the only governmental entities running roughshod over the Bill of Rights.

Posted on Aug 19, 2013 READ MORE

‘Purse Boys’ Aren’t All the Rave in D.C.

A sexist article in The New York Times tries to make it sound like male aides carrying female politicians’ handbags is wrong and, perhaps worse, newsworthy; members of the LGBT community are being treated like second-class citizens in America; meanwhile, a company relied on the First Amendment to justify its immoral use of private information found on pharmaceutical prescriptions. These discoveries and more after the jump.

Posted on Jun 5, 2013 READ MORE

Chris Hedges: The ‘Terrifying’ State Assault on Press Freedom

“We are now in the last moments of an effort to, in essence, effectively extinguish press freedom,” the Truthdig columnist told “Democracy Now!” in a conversation Wednesday about revelations of the Justice Department’s seizure of work, home and cellphone records of up to 100 reporters and editors at The Associated Press.

Posted on May 15, 2013 READ MORE


Posted on Mar 1, 2013 READ MORE


Missouri Bill Would Make It Illegal to Propose Gun Control Laws

A pro-gun Missouri Republican has introduced legislation that would make it a felony for state lawmakers to so much as propose firearm safety regulations.

Posted on Feb 19, 2013 READ MORE

The Second Amendment vs. the First Amendment

After more than a week of residual buzz from radio host Alex Jones’ now-famous meltdown during a CNN discussion of gun control, it is worth taking a deep breath and considering the spectacle’s two big lessons, especially now that the White House is pushing Congress to debate firearm legislation.

Posted on Jan 18, 2013 READ MORE

Piers Morgan

Posted on Jan 11, 2013 READ MORE


Petition Seeks Piers Morgan’s Deportation Over Anti-Gun Comments

A petition seeking to deport the CNN host for speaking out in favor of gun control has garnered enough signatures to elicit an official response from the Obama administration.

Posted on Dec 24, 2012 READ MORE

Glenn Beck to Sell ‘Obama in Pee Pee’ Art

The conservative rabble-rouser is defending, as only he can, the First Amendment rights of an artist who painted President Obama being crucified on a cross.

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 READ MORE

Photo by CTJ71081 (CC-BY)

NDAA Setback: Latest Court Ruling Paves Way for ‘Indefinite Detention’

An appeals court Tuesday extended a temporary stay of a judge’s order prohibiting the Obama administration’s controversial efforts to put any U.S. citizen the government deems a terrorism suspect behind bars indefinitely without being charged or tried.

Posted on Oct 3, 2012 READ MORE

Bill Moyers: The Hoax of Citizens United

According to Bill Moyers, the Supreme Court’s recent decision not to revisit the controversial Citizens United ruling shows that the case was never about free speech. Instead, he argues, the Citizens United decision was just a hoax (albeit a really big one).

Posted on Jul 9, 2012 READ MORE

cliff1066™ (CC BY 2.0)

Say ‘Hi-Ho!’ as They Strip-Search You

Reflecting on his arrest with Kurt Vonnegut while protesting apartheid outside the South African consulate in the early 1980s, David Lindorff, founder of the news blog This Can’t Be Happening, says he and the author might be treated differently if they were arrested today.

Posted on May 26, 2012 READ MORE

shawncampbell (CC-BY)

Twitter Prepares to Clip Its Wings

One year after the beginning of the Egyptian uprising that it helped make possible, Twitter began its descent down what media commentator Jeff Jarvis called the “slippery slope of censorship,” announcing that it would begin to locally censor tweets that governments find objectionable.

Posted on Jan 28, 2012 READ MORE

AP / Charlie Neibergall

Super PACs Super-Size Campaign Corruption

Given time and enough money, the super PACs and other secretive political campaign funds are capable of causing corruptive influence that could reach from the presidency down to the lowest ranked members of the House.

Posted on Jan 20, 2012 READ MORE

AP via YouTube

Bradley Manning’s Pretrial Hearing Begins

Friday marked the first day of Pvt. Bradley Manning’s hearing at Fort Meade, Md., and it wasn’t without some courtroom commotion. Lawyer David Coombs, who is representing the accused WikiLeaks informer, came out swinging by requesting that the investigating officer in charge of Manning’s case recuse himself.

Posted on Dec 16, 2011 READ MORE

© Jeff Pappas

Media Complain of ‘Hostile’ NYPD (Update)

Some of the nation’s most prestigious news organizations, including AP and The New York Times, are condemning New York City’s treatment of the media, writing in a letter that “police actions of last week have been more hostile ...” (more)

Posted on Nov 22, 2011 READ MORE

Timothy Krause (CC-BY)

Why the First Amendment Won’t Protect Occupiers

Those who believe the courts will come to the rescue have bought into the popular mythology surrounding the amendment’s depth and reach.

Posted on Nov 16, 2011 READ MORE

Flickr / curran.kelleher (CC-BY)

Big Tobacco Sues Over Graphic Labels

Tobacco giants, wary of the effect new government-mandated warnings may have on cigarette smokers, filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, claiming that the labels are unconstitutional. (more)

Posted on Aug 17, 2011 READ MORE

AP / Paul Sakuma

Yes to Violence, No to Sex

Scalia’s opinion is actually quite thrilling in enunciating an extremely broad definition of the free speech rights of minors. But it is simply bizarre in dismissing the claimed harmful effects of violent depictions while still insisting on the strictest puritanical view of the dangers of sexual imagery.

Posted on Jun 28, 2011 READ MORE

Mr. Fish

Tuchuses and Nay-Nays

Tuchuses and nay-nays, to me, became a metaphor for what it meant to replace the literal meaning of something with the figurative meaning; that is, to replace the facts with a value judgment that had less to do with the truth and more to do with a particular interpretation of the truth.

Posted on Jan 21, 2011 READ MORE    

‘Pedophile’s Guide’ Author Arrested

The author who gained national attention last month by selling his self-published “Pedophile’s Guide to Love & Pleasure” on Amazon has been arrested on obscenity charges. Authorities are concerned that the book advocates illegal behavior, a familiar challenge to free speech protections.

Posted on Dec 20, 2010 READ MORE

AP / Lennart Preiss

From Jefferson to Assange

It is outrageous for any journalist, or respecter of what every American president has claimed is our inalienable, God-given right to a free press, not to join in Assange’s defense.

Posted on Dec 8, 2010 READ MORE

Christine O’Donnell’s Staggering Ignorance

We’ve been trying to ignore a certain Senate candidate, but her latest display is so shocking (as the audience gasps during this debate confirm), it simply must be witnessed.

Posted on Oct 20, 2010 READ MORE

Flickr / k763 (CC-BY)

Repulsive but Protected

I don’t know if there’s a hell, but if it exists, the Rev. Fred Phelps and other members of the Westboro Baptist Church deserve a place. In this world, their repulsive actions are shielded by the Constitution.

Posted on Oct 7, 2010 READ MORE

supreme court
Flickr / dbking

Weighing Free Speech Against Hate Speech

What do you get when you mix issues regarding a fallen soldier, free speech, homophobia and gays in the military and throw in hatemonger pastor Fred Phelps and Larry Flynt’s famous court battle with Jerry Fallwell?

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 READ MORE

Editor Apologizes for ‘Embarrassing’ Anti-Muslim Remark

Islamophobia alert: Martin Peretz, editor of The New Republic magazine, expressed something very unfortunate about Muslims recently (actually, he wrote more than one shameful something), and now he’s contrite about it, sort of.

Posted on Sep 13, 2010 READ MORE

Flickr / Knight725

Net Neutrality’s Last Stand

The future of the Internet looked a little bleaker to Net neutrality advocates this week after a federal appeals court decided that the Federal Communications Commission couldn’t stop Internet service provider Comcast from messing with the load times of certain websites ... (continued)

Posted on Apr 9, 2010 READ MORE

Supreme Court

SCOTUS Deals Big Blow to Campaign Finance Reform

On Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts explained the U.S. Supreme Court’s campaign finance ruling, which eliminated restrictions on corporate funding for political candidates and causes, by basing it on the First Amendment, stating that the American government doesn’t have the right to “prohibit political speech, even if the speaker is a corporation or union.” (continued)

Posted on Jan 21, 2010 READ MORE

Sick and Satired

Posted on Sep 7, 2009 READ MORE    


Osbourne Show Provokes Free-Speech Fight in Fla.

He’s not biting off bats’ heads at the moment, but Ozzy Osbourne has once again managed to stir up controversy, even in his autumn years. The flap this time is over “The Osbournes: Reloaded,” his new Fox TV variety show co-starring other members of his clan, which an affiliate in Panama City, Fla., has deemed unfit for viewing.

Posted on Mar 31, 2009 READ MORE

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