Showing posts with label First Amendment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label First Amendment. Show all posts

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Would you believe it? The judge who blocked the @PPact videos is an Obama guy!

I know. I was shocked, too. Via Mollie Hemmingway at The Federalist (if you don’t have a fainting couch, you may need to invest in one before reading this):
A federal judge late Friday granted a temporary restraining order against the release of recordings made at an annual meeting of abortion providers. The injunction is against the Center for Medical Progress, the group that has unveiled Planned Parenthood’s participation in the sale of organs harvested from aborted children.
Judge William H. Orrick, III, granted the injunction just hours after the order was requested by the National Abortion Federation.
Orrick was nominated to his position by hardline abortion supporter President Barack Obama. He was also a major donor to and bundler for President Obama’s presidential campaign. He raised at least $200,000 for Obama and donated $30,800 to committees supporting him, according to Public Citizen.
I know, gang. I know. Take a moment to recover from the news that a California liberal judge who not only was appointed by Obama, but was a campaign bundler, might be making rulings based on political ideology. I can wait.
Feel better? Let’s go.
This should really not be surprising to anyone, considering this is politics as usual in the United States of America. As my colleague and intellectual superior, Leon Wolf, pointed out yesterday, the rule of law has been replaced by a system built entirely on prosecuting the hell out of people, and it has been heavily peppered with judges who act solely on political ideology and allegiance rather than the Constitution and the law.
So, while people and organizations can run to friendly judges appointed by their political allies, what used to be a system of laws is now a system of feels. If we feel you’re harming our cause, we’ll find something to bring you down. If we don’t like you, we can (at least until someone notices we’re engaging in prior restraint or the like) silence you. You don’t have freedom of speech so law as we have political activism in lieu of an actual judicial system.

P.S. If you want the First Amendment to succeed, consider donating to the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing the Center for Medical Progress and is currently matching all donations dollar for dollar.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Soda Wars: Business Groups Sue San Francisco To Defend First Amendment

A trio of business groups is suing San Francisco to protect the First Amendment rights of companies that sell and market sugary drinks.
On 24 July, the California Retailers Association, the American Beverage Association and the California State Outdoor Advertising Association filed a lawsuit to prevent mandatory warning labels on soda ads. The San Francisco ordinance, which was passed in June by nine votes to zero would cover soda ads on billboards, buses, transit shelters, posters and stadiums.
The plaintiffs argue “the city is trying to ensure that there is no free marketplace of ideas, but instead only a government-imposed, one-sided public ‘dialogue’ on the topic — in violation of the First Amendment.” They hope the District Court will overturn the city government’s decision.
The label, which must cover 20 percent of the ad, reads “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.” The labels mimic warning signs placed on cigarette packs.
Drink manufacturers will not only have to comply with producing warning labels but will be subject to a wave of new restrictions. Baylen Linnekin, chief executive of Keep Food Legal, writes, “the law would prohibit soda makers from identifying the products they sell while protesting against the law on public space. It bars ads advertising soda, Frappuccinos, or some Jamba juices on public property.”
Linnekin identifies two violations of the First Amendment in the city ordinance. One being the government preventing speech with which it disagrees and two, compelling the speaker to switch their language to that preferred by the government.
Government efforts to label certain products with health warnings have taken a knock in recent years. The California plaintiffs may draw hope from the 2012 case where tobacco companies won a major victory after a federal appeals court struck down requirements for cigarette packs to display graphic health warnings.
Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the District of Columbia Circuit, who voted with the majority in the case, wrote ”this case raises novel questions about the scope of the government’s authority to force the manufacturer of a product to go beyond making purely factual and accurate commercial disclosures and undermine its own economic interest — in this case, by making ‘every single pack of cigarettes in the country a mini billboard’ for the government’s antismoking message.”
The Food and Drug Administration which was pursuing the policy has not attempted to reintroduce the graphic labels.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Study: Less than 5 percent of colleges uphold the First Amendment

Photo - Florida State University students play disk football on Langford Green in front of Doak S. Campbell Stadium on the campus of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., Friday April 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
A new study says that less than 5 percent of colleges and universities surveyed have policies in place that respect the First Amendment right to free speech, while more than half are violating either the First Amendment or free speech promises made by these schools.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is an educational nonprofit that reviews 437 college and university speech codes every year in an effort to "defend the individual rights of students and faculty members at colleges across the country," said Azhar Majeed, director of FIRE's Individual Rights Education Program.
FIRE puts schools into three categories: red light, yellow light and green light. Red light ratings are for schools that have at least one policy that violates student and faculty freedom of expression, and in the group's 2015 poll, 55.2 percent of these schools got the red light. That's a slight improvement from the 58.6 percent of schools that got a red light rating in the prior survey,according to FIRE's website.
Green light ratings are for schools whose policies uphold the First Amendment, but only 21 of the 437 schools evaluated this past year received a green light, Majeed said. That's just shy of 5 percent.
"Red light policies are clearly unconstitutional," Majeed said. "Yellow light speech codes are a little bit more ambiguous, often times they are vague in the way they are worded, and so they do encompass some protective speech, but it's not as clearly restrictive as a red light speech code."
FIRE works with schools to be sure their policies do not infringe on faculty members' or students' rights. While public schools are bound by the First Amendment, private institutions are not. However, FIRE examines the promises private schools make in their handbooks on free speech, and then evaluates the supporting policies to make sure they uphold those promises, Majeed said.
Todd Zywicki, foundation professor of law at George Mason University, spent five years trying to improve GMU's speech code rating before finally receiving a green light rating.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Federal Appeals Court Rules Bloggers Have First Amendment Protections

BEST OF 2013 - President Obama Delivers Statement In White House Press Briefing Room
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that bloggers and the public have the same First Amendment protections as journalists when sued for defamation: If the issue is of public concern, plaintiffs have to prove negligence to win damages.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial in a defamation lawsuit brought by an Oregon bankruptcy trustee against a Montana blogger who wrote online that the court-appointed trustee criminally mishandled a bankruptcy case.
The appeals court ruled that the trustee was not a public figure, which could have invoked an even higher standard of showing the writer acted with malice, but the issue was of public concern, so the negligence standard applied.
Gregg Leslie of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press said the ruling affirms what many have long argued: Standards set by a 1974 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc., apply to everyone, not just journalists.
"It's not a special right to the news media," he said. "So it's a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pelosi reiterates that Obamacare is about ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’

Nancy PelosiHouse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday morning that Obamacare is a certain unalienable Right, which is no big surprise coming from the Left.
Pelosi was speaking at The Atlantic’s Washington Ideas Forum when she argued that the president’s health care law is “all about” a great many things, one of them being a core tenet of American life.
“This all about the people, about the seniors, about the children … it’s about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Pelosi said to a gathering at the Newseum, a Washington, D.C. museum of journalism and news. At the top of her remarks, Pelosi gave praise to freedom of the press, and she harked back to it as she continued her explanation of Obamacare-as-product of the Declaration of Independence.
“As we talk about the First Amendment, let’s go back even further than that — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A healthier life, the liberty to pursue your happiness so that you’re not job-locked because you have a preexisting condition or your child does, but you are free — that liberty to pursue your passion, whether you want to be a writer, a photographer, be self-employed, start a business, change jobs. This is a transformative initiative.”
And oh, what a transformative explanation.
This is not the first time the nation’s House minority leader has made these comments – not by a long shot – but it’s comical that she’s continuing to use it as a talking point. Pelosi’s ilk say that it’s Republican obstructionism to the law that will keep people off of health insurance “even if it means half the country dies,” and yet Obamacareis forcing insurance cancellations. So much for the “life” argument. And where is the “liberty” in having to payjacked-up premiums for the same health insurance?
Via Red Alert Politics
Continue Reading....

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lawsuit: College Fired Administrator For Being Conservative

University SC 300x300 Lawsuit: College fired administrator for being conservativeModern colleges and universities are largely beholden to a prevailing leftist ideology. Officials and professors often indoctrinate students with big government propaganda, providing no accommodation for those who wish to express a dissenting viewpoint.

Unfortunately, these same institutions are also defined by job security, meaning tenured staff members can spew virtually any outrageous opinion in the classroom and still maintain their position. As an administrator at one Kentucky college discovered, however, there is one perspective that is not tolerated on campus.

Kent Robinson, once the Jefferson Community and Technical College’s human resources director, was fired from the position last November. He is now suing the school, claiming he was let go because of his conservative values.

Claiming the school punished him for “sincerely held religious beliefs and practices” and “public displays of support for Republican candidates,” Robinson’s suit alleges the termination violated his First Amendment rights.

Furthermore, it seems Robinson was repeatedly ignored when he attempted to call attention to a number of inappropriate situations on campus.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Obama OKs illegals’ march on Mall, still blocks Americans

The National Park Service is allowing an Oct. 8 pro-immigration rally on the national mall, even as it posts pickets and barriers to bar Americans from visiting their open-air memorials.
“They’re going to be allowed to go [ahead] because it is a First Amendment activity,” Shannon Maurer, a spokeswoman for the “March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect,” told The Daily Caller.
“They allowed us to have it because it is part of the First Amendment of the constitution,” said Susana Flores, a spokeswoman for CASA in Action, which is organizing the rally. ”We’re going to have a stage and microphones,” plus a stand for TV cameras, she said.
The mall is currently marked as closed, and law enforcement officials have have been deployed to picket open-air monuments to keep Americans off their own land.
Critics quickly pounced on what they see as special treatment for the administration’s allies.
“What this means is that the administration is sending a clear message that it’s OK to barricade elderly veterans out of their memorials, but illegal immigrants have to be accommodated no matter what,” Mark Krikorian, director of the anti-immigration Center for Immigration Studies, told The Daily Caller.
“It’s hard to justify closing off open areas [such as the World War II memorial], but to allow a major setup with equipment, electronics and security in a closed area is a little outrageous,” said Krikorian.
Administration officials say a rewrite of the nation’s immigration laws remains a very high priority. Analysts say a pending Senate bill would double immigration and allow 33 million immigrants into the country during the next decade.
Via: The Daily Caller

Continue Reading.....

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Court Rebukes Obama Administration’s “Trust Us” Revision of the HHS Mandate

The influential D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a short procedural order rebuking the Obama Administration in a lawsuit that was filed by Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College. The two religiously affiliated organizations had challenged the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) anti-conscience mandate that requires them to fund health care plans for their employees that provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization, or else pay substantial penalties.
As discussed in a Heritage Legal Memorandum, the plaintiffs have very strong claims that the mandate violates their rights under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Following the uproar that ensued after the mandate was issued, the government announced a one-year, temporary enforcement suspension against some religious employers. The Obama Administration misleadingly labeled this move a “safe harbor.” The Administration then announced its intention to develop and propose changes to the HHS mandate that would provide contraceptive coverage without cost-sharing to covered individuals while at the same time accommodating the religious objections of nonprofit organizations like the plaintiffs.
In light of this non-binding promise to make some hypothetical policy changes that would supposedly assuage objectors’ concerns, some lower courts dismissed this and other similar lawsuits as being premature. But the D.C. Circuit has now indicated that it is prepared to hold the government’s feet to the fire, so to speak.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Obama Campaign’s Ejection of Student Raises Discrimination Questions

An expert on the First Amendment said the Obama campaign’s decision to bar a University of Florida student from attending a Michelle Obama speech smacked of viewpoint discrimination and raised questions about liberal bias in academia.
Clay Calvert, the director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida, said the incident also raises questions about the university’s involvement.
“While the university might not have done anything legally wrong in allowing Obama officials to discriminate against Republicans in terms of attendance, certainly the incident will, in the eyes of some folks, appear – rightly or wrongly – to be another indicator of liberal bias in academia,” Calvert told Fox News.
Matt Pesek, a student at the university, was denied entry to the speech even though he had a ticket for the event. He told the website Campus Reform that an Obama staffer pulled him out of line because he was wearing a John McCain t-shirt.
The First Lady’s speech, the Obama staffer allegedly told the student, was for “supporters only.”
The revelation surfaced the same day President Obama appeared on CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman and said he represented the entire country.
“If you want to be president, you have to work for everyone,” he told Letterman.
Pesek said he offered to turn his shirt inside but was still denied entry.
University of Florida spokesperson Janine Sikes told Fox News that the university had absolutely no control over the event. She said the Obama campaign paid money to rent the facility and could determine who was allowed inside.
However, that appears to contradict a stipulation in the contract between the university and the Obama campaign.
Fox News obtained a copy of that document which includes a non-discrimination clause.
“User shall not prohibit attendance at the Event by any person in violation of law,” the clause states. “In the event entrance to any person is restricted by law, User shall provide written notice of such restricted use to University’s vice president for business affairs prior to signing of the agreement.”
Sikes said the campaign did not violate the law by denying the conservative student entry into the event.
Calvert said the incident raises troubling questions about the university’s handling of the situation.
“My primary question and concern is whether university officials knew in advance about the attendance discrimination policy that the Obama officials implemented – that people with pro-Republican garb that didn’t include anything offensive about the First Lady or the President would be turned away,” he said. “If officials new that in advance, then it would be highly problematic. Second, if university officials did not know in advance, then why didn’t they know?”\

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Democratic Platform Calls for Constitutional Amendment Limiting Free Speech

(  The 2012 Democratic Party platform includes language calling for a constitutional amendment restricting free speech rights during elections, saying that the Supreme Court decision in theCitizens United case should be overturned.
“Our opponents have applauded the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United and welcomed the new flow of special interest money with open arms. In stark contrast, we believe we must take immediate action to curb the influence of lobbyists and special interests on our political institutions,” the 2012 platform says.
“We support campaign finance reform, by constitutional amendment if necessary,” it adds.
In its 2010 decision, the Supreme Court said that the government could not restrict the political speech of activist groups or other independent organizations by limiting how much money they could spend during an election cycle. The court also struck down federal limits on when independent groups could engage in election-related activities such as running television ads or publishing political materials.
During oral arguments, the Obama administration argued that federal campaign finance laws allowed the government to ban the publication of books, pamphlets, or any other material it felt qualified as election-related communications.
By calling for a constitutional amendment – as President Obama has in the past – the Democratic Party is saying it supports an amendment restricting the First Amendment rights affirmed by the Supreme Court. Such restrictions, by the Obama administration’s own admission, would allow the government to ban the publication of books, pamphlets or any other type of material by independent political groups.

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