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Posts tagged with ‘first amendment’

  • Do we take freedom of the press for granted?

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on November 11, 2014
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    Former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson is either a paranoid kook or victim of one of the most heinous government abuses of a reporter in American history. Either way, the rest of the journalism community should be jumping into action to determine the truth. Sadly, it is not. Atkisson claims in her new book that the federal government hacked into her […]
  • Obama breaks his promise to be open with the public

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on September 11, 2014
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    The U.S. system of government relies on citizens having full access to information that can be used in self-governance. Journalists and other First Amendment advocates were enthused when the Obama administration came into office with convincing statements about transparency and open government. President Obama himself has claimed, “This is the most transparent administration in history,” and his press secretaries have […]
  • Ferguson

    By Sheila Kennedy on August 21, 2014
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    I haven’t blogged about the depressing situation in Ferguson, Missouri, for a number of reasons: first of all, unlike left- and rightwing partisans, all of whom are convinced they know exactly what happened, I’m not in possession of all the facts. So what do I know? I know that everyone in a position of authority, including the police chief, the Mayor and […]
  • ‘Scuse me, while I duck the sky…

    By Beth Cate on July 18, 2014
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    Don Knebel wrote last week that the sky was not falling by virtue of the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby ruling. Not all at once, certainly, but some pieces have been raining down over the last couple of weeks that suggest we might want to keep our helmets handy. Don concluded, and I agree, that “[t]he key to the [Hobby […]
  • The Hobby Lobby Decision: The Sky is Not (Yet) Falling

    By Donald Knebel on July 7, 2014
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    On June 30, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. By a vote of 5 to 4, the Court held that regulations issued under the Affordable Care Act cannot require a for-profit corporation to provide health insurance covering contraceptives violating the religious beliefs of the corporation’s owners. The response has been […]
  • Is Money Speech?

    By David Schultz on June 3, 2014
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    If — or when — the Roberts Court in the next couple of years strikes down the last remaining Watergate-era campaign finance laws, the question will shift to: Who is to blame? It will be easy for liberals to say it was the conservatives, especially those on the U.S. Supreme Court, the Republicans or even the Koch brothers. But the […]
  • Metaphysical Not Empirical: The Problems with McCutcheon

    By David Schultz on April 3, 2014
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    The Supreme Court decision McCutcheon v F.E.C. striking down aggregate contribution limits is flawed for many reasons.  Critics will complain that the Court adopted a crabbed and narrow definition of corruption, or that it seemed inured to the role of money in politics, or that it is one more extension in giving more rights to the wealthy and in sanctifying […]
  • Civility and Free Speech

    By Sheila Suess Kennedy on March 25, 2014
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    At 5:00 pm today, I will participate in a panel discussion at the McKinney School of Law (my alma mater), focused on whether the Free Speech protections of the First Amendment tend to promote incivility. Back in the day, when I was Executive Director of Indiana’s ACLU, I mounted a campaign through the organization’s newsletter to promote civility. That campaign […]
  • Can the Government Prevent Lying in Political Ads?

    By Ed Brayton on January 17, 2014
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    The Supreme Court last week granted cert in a case that involves the question of whether the government can prevent allegedly false speech in political ads or whether this is a violation of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. Some details about the case: The case, involving an anti-abortion group’s claim that Ohio’s False Statement Law violates free […]
  • Free Expression: whether we like it or not.

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on January 15, 2014
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    Americans know the First Amendment guarantees free expression through speech, press, religion and assembly. It is harder, however, to know how that noble concept gets operationalized in the real world. Public pressure and courts together work to make sense of free expression, but it is a never-ending challenge. We know free speech lands somewhere between an expression free-for-all and absolute […]
  • Ted Cruz Doesn’t Understand the First Amendment

    By Ed Brayton on December 27, 2013
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    Actually, he does. Ted Cruz is, by all accounts, a brilliant attorney who has been called by liberal law profs at Harvard Law one of the best con law students they ever had. So he must know that when he claims that the bigot from Duck Dynasty is having his free speech and religious liberty rights violated, he’s just lying […]
  • Duck Calls and Pilgrims: Religious Freedom in America

    By Donald E. Knebel on December 26, 2013
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    A&E’s suspension of “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson for an interview in which he seemingly equated “homosexuals” with “terrorists” and “homosexual behavior” with “bestiality” based on his interpretation of the Bible has caused an outcry from conservative commentators and politicians, including Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, who characterize the suspension as an attack on “religious liberty” and “free speech.”  It plainly […]
  • Laws Based on the Bible – a Preview

    By Donald E. Knebel on November 25, 2013
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    Some politicians are fond of saying that American laws should be based on the laws of God as taught in the Bible.  The Bible certainly contains moral principles that can properly be reflected in our civil laws, such as commands not to accept bribes and not to lie to a court.  The teachings of Jesus, such as loving your neighbor […]
  • Predicting the Supreme Court Prayer Case

    By Donald E. Knebel on November 18, 2013
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    On November 6, 2013, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments on one of the most vexing issues under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution —  When does the Constitutionally required governmental allowance of religious practices cross the line into Constitutionally prohibited governmental endorsement of religion?  The specific issue in the case is whether the town council of […]
  • Constitutional Rights and Wrongs – Part II

    By Donald E. Knebel on November 7, 2013
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    My last post tested your general knowledge of the United States Constitution.  This True/False test determines your knowledge of the “Bill of Rights,” the first ten amendments to the Constitution.  At the end you will find both the answers and a way to score your own Bill of Rights literacy.  Note:  Although the precise wording of the questions is important, […]
  • Free Speech Week Celebration

    By admin on October 18, 2013
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    If you didn’t know this week is Free Speech Week and I celebrated it by catching up with my friend and local author Hugh Vandivier. He recently made a powerful expression for Banned Books week and spent the entire week “imprisoned” in the Vonnegut Memorial Library to raise awareness around censorship. You can read the summary of our conversation with […]
  • Our Contentious First Amendment

    By Sheila Suess Kennedy on September 30, 2013
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    We all know the stories about the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock, the original settlement at Jamestown, and the subsequent colonization of the New World by the Puritans.  Most of us have heard of John Winthrop and his belief that America was destined to be the new Israel, the “Shining City on the Hill.” Legal scholar Frank Lambert has called […]
  • You be the Judge- Religious Freedom and the First Amendment

    By Donald E. Knebel on August 22, 2013
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    United States District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker recently ordered the city of Evansville, Indiana not to allow a group of churches to display 31 six-feet high crosses in a popular river front park for two weeks.  The reaction has been predictable, with some decrying an activist judge destroying religious freedom and others bemoaning the obtuseness of the officials who […]