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Posts tagged with ‘Free Speech’

  • Media contribute to nation’s violent culture

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on December 17, 2014
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    The nation struggles to explain why violence is so much a part of its daily experience. Senseless murders. Sports stars committing domestic violence. Perpetrators playing “knockout games” on public streets. School principals dealing with widespread bullying. The causes of violence are many, complex and difficult to assess. One contributing factor to the disturbing culture of violence, to be sure, is […]
  • Hijacking Free Speech

    By Sheila Kennedy on October 13, 2014
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    Recently, a Indiana State Trooper was sued for proselytizing a woman he’d stopped for speeding. The Indianapolis Star has the story. Not surprisingly, our homegrown theocrats saw nothing wrong with this. Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, said that although the traffic stop might not have been the best time to quiz someone about faith, […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • The risk of living and learning in silos

    By Bruce Hetrick on May 28, 2014
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    Confession: 25 years ago, during my lunch breaks, I began listening to a newly syndicated radio talk show. The host, Rush Limbaugh, was anathema to everything I believe. But while his opinions were outrageous, his delivery was delectable. Ever a believer in Sun Tzu’s “know your enemies,” I tuned in. Nowadays, however, we’re increasingly unwilling to consider anything contrary to our […]
  • The Lessons of Town of Greece v. Galloway for Campaign Finance Laws

    By David Schultz on May 8, 2014
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    The Supreme Court’s recent Town of Greece v. Galloway ruling upholding invocation of a prayer before the start of a local town board meeting is not a decision that one would think would be of significance to election law, but it is.  Specifically, the Court’s discussion about coercion and religious beliefs has potential importance to those arguing against campaign finance […]
  • The Decision- Predicting the Supreme Court Prayer Case

    By Donald E. Knebel on May 6, 2014
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    Last November, I posted a blog predicting how the Supreme Court would rule in a case challenging the right of the town of Greece, New York, to open meetings of its town board with prayers, most of them with a decidedly Christian viewpoint.  At the time, I promised to report on the accuracy of my predictions once the decision had […]
  • Does student expression stop at the schoolhouse door?

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on March 31, 2014
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    Public school administrators must have their heads spinning as they try to sort out recent court decisions regarding free-expression rights of students. Principals have the almost impossible task of balancing constitutionally protected student expression with keeping order in schools where education is the primary objective. In a controversial ruling issued this winter by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, a […]
  • 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 […]
  • Ill-advised FCC study sets off alarm bells

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on March 17, 2014
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    The Federal Communications Commission has backed away from the senseless study it planned that would have had researchers snooping into the content decisions made in local broadcast newsrooms. While that is nice to know, the American public now needs to hear what Paul Harvey would have described as “the rest of the story.” First, it is worth noting this planned […]
  • Glad President Cannot Control News

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on February 17, 2014
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    The president of the United States is often characterized as the most powerful person in the world. In spite of the enormous power held by the leader of the free world, however, there remains one thing the president can’t do — control the news agenda. The constitutional framers created a free press to make sure the government powers-that-be couldn’t orchestrate […]
  • Citizens United for Real Civic Engagement

    By Joelle Gamble on January 24, 2014
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    On the 4th anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC, consider the ways that citizens can engage beyond campaign donations and the ballot box. Today marks the 4th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Citizens United versus the Federal Election Commission. The significance of this case is difficult to overstate as it gave limitless ability to mega-interest groups and corporations to […]
  • Church and State

    By Sheila Suess Kennedy on January 21, 2014
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    Here in Indiana, we’re used to religious warfare. We aren’t called the buckle of the bible belt for nothing. Those battles generally pit people who understand religious liberty to require state neutrality in matters of belief against folks who want government to make everyone live in accordance with the “correct” beliefs (which just happen to be theirs). That, in a […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]