Category Archives: First Amendment

Court rules that flipping someone off is free speech

If you had asked me before this story broke whether giving someone the finger counts as protected free speech, I would have said, “Yes.” After all, it’s an expression that doesn’t hurt anyone physically and is simply a gesture that expresses one’s feelings. If burning an American flag is considered free speech, as it is, […]

U of C minority law students boycott “admitted students weekend” after University fails to condemn professor who used “n-word” in class as an example; students further call for restrictions on free speech

I’ll try to be brief here, but there’s a new series of incidents on my campus that has wound up with some law students calling for restrictions on free speech, and free speech is a flagship principle of the University of Chicago. The incident involves Professor Geoffrey Stone of the Law School, who was the […]

FFRF loses a slam-dunk case in Federal appellate court

If ever a First Amendment case looked like a winner, it was this one: the U.S. government keeps giving a tax exemption to ministers so that their housing allowances provided by the church—allowances that could be substantial, and include house renovations—remain tax free. No other people save “ministers of the gospel” (I assume that includes […]

Is there a cogent argument against free speech?

I’m not 100%, set-in-stone wedded to the American courts’ interpretation of free speech and the First Amendment. I think it’s the best interpretation going, but I’m always looking for viable arguments that it should be modified. Here’s what purports to be one, but in the end proves limp and toothless. The argument is given in […]

CNN uncritically covers a “miracle”

UPDATE: Now Seth Andrews has weighed in on the thread, and he has supporters! (Remember, Seth used to be a pious Christian.) ___________ I suppose that if I weren’t an atheist, I wouldn’t notice things like this, nor pay attention to the media’s uncritical coverage of it. In this case the media is the liberal […]

U of C President opposes Trump’s proposed executive order requiring universities to support free speech

Among Trump’s ways to obviate Congress is his spate of “executive orders” that may well be unconstitutional. The most ridiculous is his “national emergency” order to fund the Big Wall. Now, as many venues report (e.g., here and here), Trump is proposing to sign an executive order directed at colleges and universities. This one, he […]

The FFRF victory in Charleston, Illinois

Here’s a very short video featuring the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s staff attorney Ryan Jayne, who wrote the letter to the Charleston, Illinois’s city attorney pointing out that their sponsored trip to the Creation Museum and Ark Park was unconstitutional. They won within 24 hours, with Charleston canceling the trip. So where is my second […]

More free speech kerfuffle at Williams College, a school on the road to becoming Evergreen State

Williams College, a very prestigious school in Williamstown, Massachusetts, is currently in the throes of a debate about free speech. In this case the professors (not all of them, but many) want Williams to adopt the Chicago Principles of Free Expression (the “Chicago Principles”). The students, however, don’t want any stinking principles; they want endless […]

UC Berkeley loses lawsuit over its policy of charging right-wing groups more money for security

According to the Daily Californian and the Los Angeles Times, the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) has just settled a free-speech lawsuit involving discrimination against student groups that brought in conservative speakers. Click on screenshot below to see the Daily Cal piece (that’s the UCB student paper): The first speakers at issue were Ann Coulter, […]

Victory! Charleston, Illinois cancels city-sponsored trip to creationist sites

I’ve just heard from the FFRF that the City Attorney for Charleston, Illinois, to whom the FFRF wrote to about the unconstitutionality of their city-sponsored trip to the Ark Park and Creation Museum, has sent the following email. The city has bailed. Thank you for your email below and letter attached dated December 3, 2018. […]