Category Archives: First Amendment

Federal appeals court ruling endangers First Amendment

A new article in The Atlantic by Garrett Epps, writer and legal scholar (he teaches law at the University of Baltimore), describes what both he and I see as a very legal serious challenge to the First Amendment’s free speech provision. Click on the screenshot to read about it. I can state the facts in […]

Truman State rejects student clubs for no good reason, violating First Amendment

I once visited Truman State University (it’s in Kirksville, Missouri—Truman’s state) as a guest of Taner Edis, physicist, atheist, and anti-creationist. It was a pleasant visit, and Taner surely couldn’t have played a role in the latest shenanigans at This school, recounted in the article from FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) that […]

Penn students deplatform former ICE director

According to the University of Pennsylvania’s student newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian, an event involving acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Thomas Homan was canceled after Penn students disrupted the proceedings. The discussion, scheduled to involve several people (see below) was sponsored by Perry World House, self-described as “a center for scholarly inquiry, teaching, research, […]

Two UConn students arrested for shouting racial slurs, violating a Connecticut “anti-ridicule” law

This piece in the New York Times reports that two University of Connecticut students were arrested, apparently by campus police, after shouting racial slurs outside a university dormitory. They were charged with violating a state law that prohibits ridiculing individuals based on “creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race” (see below) Here’s the video, which […]

Christianity infests the State Department, violating the First Amendment

Newsweek and HuffPo report that this was the the U.S. Department of State’s homepage yesterday: I checked a few minutes ago, and the homepage entry has been changed to this: HuffPo reports this: The U.S. State Department’s main homepage was updated on Monday to show a photo of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with the […]

Pinker on free speech and academic freedom

Here’s a short Big Think talk by Steve Pinker, much demonized by the success-hating Pharyngula crowd as well as those who make their living by prognosticating the demise and degradation of humanity or our lack of social progress. Here Steve advances the well-known arguments for both free speech and academic freedom, which is simply free […]

National television networks refuse to air First-Amendment commercial featuring JFK

A news release from the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) tells us that while this FFRF commercial featuring John F. Kennedy was played three years ago on the ABC television network, it was rejected by ABC for airing during the Democratic debates in Houston tomorrow.  This was after ABC refused a much more provocative ad, […]

More First-Amendment shenanigans: Federal court rules that a Christian cross on a county emblem is not religious

In late June, the Supreme Court made a portentously bad decision, ruling that the “Bladensburg Cross”, a giant cross on public land in Maryland, did not violate the First Amendment’s stipulation of freedom of (and from) religion. (The vote was lopsided: 7-2.) The reasons was the usual one: that by merely existing for a long […]

What free speech isn’t

Ken White is an attorney specializing in free-speech issues, and is the main contributor to the well-known and useful law website Popehat. This week he has a good article in The Atlantic about American free-speech law, which you can read by clicking on the screenshot below: We talk a lot about free speech on this […]

South Dakota requires all public schools to PROMINENTLY display “In God We Trust”

We all know that “In God We Trust” is the U.S. national motto, though the unofficial motto—a much better one—is E pluribus unum (“Out of many, one”). The former is divisive, the latter unifying. The change in mottos was made in 1956, during the Cold War, and was largely a response to “godless Communism”: an […]