When there is a major advance in civil rights for a minority group that has been widely discriminated against, do people have the right to dissent with the new standard? Should individuals and businesses be treated the same with respect to the fundamental rights protected by our Constitution? Are artists, artisans, and other craftsmen exercising their free speech rights when they create custom works for paying clients in the normal course of business? Where does society draw the line when it comes to sincerely-held religious beliefs? And how, if at all, is racial discrimination different than discrimination based on sexual orientation? All of these critically important societal questions are deeply integrated in one of the most widely discussed and anticipated Supreme Court cases of this term, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
“If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”
– Justice Louis Brandeis, Whitney v. California
Before getting into the meat of this section, I have a simple question for you to consider: since the defeat of the Third Reich in 1945, has the United States or any American state ever been governed by a party or individual that has openly espoused fascist or Nazi ideology?Read More »
“It is easy to defend freedom of speech when the message is something many people find at least reasonable. But the defense of freedom of speech is most critical when the message is one most people find repulsive. That was true when the Nazis marched in Skokie. It remains true today.”
Now that I’ve gone through a less-than-concise legal history of the First Amendment in the 20th Century, let’s talk about an organization that has made its own impact on the popular understanding of free speech and assembly in the United States: the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU. Read More »
“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.”
The fundamental freedoms of speech, assembly, and association have been enshrined in our Constitution since the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791, and were expanded to include all Americans with the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment and its key ‘equal protection’ clause in 1868. Since then, there have been many legal cases that have expanded upon or conversely, limited, the speech, assembly, and association rights recognized under the First Amendment.Read More »
UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT! WARNING, CONTENT AHEAD MAY BE CONTROVERSIAL OR PROVOCATIVE.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I want to talk about an issue that has been on my mind for a few months now, and that has been in and out of the news since August: the First Amendment to our Constitution and how we should view it in light of today’s rapidly changing political environment.Read More »
“A compelling story, even if factually inaccurate, can be more emotionally compelling than a dry recitation of the truth.”
Tax reform, tax relief, tax cuts, tax giveaways. Estate taxes, inheritance taxes, death taxes. Illegal aliens, undocumented immigrants, economic migrants, refugees, DREAMers. Pro-life, pro-choice, anti-woman, pro-murder.
Have you ever turned on the news and heard pundits on opposite sides of an argument use completely different terms to describe the exact same policy, proposal, or position?Read More »