Category Archives: First Amendment

A new survey on Americans’ views of free speech gives mixed results

I’ve known about this survey on free speech for a while, but was told not to divulge the details until it was published. Well, it still hasn’t come out yet, but since Conor Friedersdorf published some of its results in The Atlantic (“American’s many divides over free speech“), these are now in the public domain. […]

Bisexual student threatened by a University of Texas official after saying he said he didn’t have a “high opinion of Islam” because he’d be killed in some Muslim countries

This report comes from the Volokh Conspiracy site at the Washington Post, which got it from Gay Star News. The quote below, from the WaPo, includes links where you can hear the audio recording and read the transcript that documents the incident. In short, Alfred MacDonald, a bisexual philosophy student at the University of Texas […]

The FFRF wins a big one: federal court rules that ministers’ tax-free housing allowances violate the Constitution

You may know that American ministers have some tax advantages under the law: they often get a housing allowance from their church, and that allowance, in contrast to non-ministers who get such perks, is free from taxes.  Here’s the stipulation from the Internal Revenue Service code: A licensed, commissioned, or ordained minister may be able […]

President of William and Mary responds after BLM disruption of ACLU talk; promises no more fracases

As I reported on October 5, the students of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization at The College of William and Mary, my undergraduate alma mater, shut down a talk by Clair Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia. Ironically, the topic of her talk was “Students and the First Amendment.” […]

Black Lives Matter protestors shut down ACLU “free speech” lecture at William and Mary

The title of this post sounds ironic, doesn’t it? But not if you share Black Lives Matter’s (BLM’s) view—and that of other Regressive Leftists—that offensive speech isn’t protected free speech and that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a hate group because it defends the civil liberties of white supremacists, Nazis, and other bigots.  This […]

Who should decide what speech is acceptable? P. Z. Myers appoints himself.

Over many decades, the United States court system has come up with an interpretation of the Constitution’s First Amendment that protects people from harassment and physical attack without deep-sixing the important right to express your opinion without censorship. Here’s that amendment again, just for review: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, […]

The unconstitutional presentation (and whitewashing) of Islam in American public schools

The Clarion Project, a think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C., states that its mission is “to [educate] the public about the dangers of radical Islam” and “[to deliver] news, expert analysis, videos, and unique perspectives about radical Islam, while giving a platform to moderate Muslims and human rights activists to speak out against extremism.” The Southern Poverty […]

The U. S. moves toward theocracy: Congress aims to repeal the Johnson Amendment barring nonprofits (like churches) from endorsing candidates

The Johnson Amendment, in effect since 1954, is in fact named after Lyndon Johnson, who introduced it as a congressman. It’s part of the U.S. Tax Code, and specifies behavior prohibited for 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations (the amendment itself is the part in bold below): 26 U.S. Tax Code §501 Section C (3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or […]

Supreme Court rules that “hate speech” is free speech

On Sunday, by a vote of 8-0 (Gorsuch didn’t rule), the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Matal v. Tam,  which involved a patent application to trademark the name “The Slants,” an Asian band of which Simon Tam was a member. Tam’s attempt to patent trademark the band’s name was rejected by the trademark office, but […]

Ken White on free speech and hate speech

Ken White, who’s identified as “a 1st Amendment litigator and criminal defense attorney at Brown White & Osborn LLP in Los Angeles” writes a lot at the legal website Popehat. One of his pet issues is freedom of speech, and I call your attention to his new piece in the Los Angeles Times, “Actually, hate speech is protected speech.” […]