Ruth Bader Ginsburg is known for saying what she means. So no one should be surprised the Supreme Court justice shared her opinion about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest in stark terms.
Recently in First Amendment Category
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has temporarily blocked a Senate subpoena that seeks information on how the classified advertising website Backpage.com screens ads for possible sex trafficking.The order reads in full:
The order Tuesday came hours after Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer asked the high court to intervene, saying the case threatens the First Amendment rights of online publishers.
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the website must respond to the subpoena within 10 days. Roberts said Backpage does not have to comply with the appeals court order until further action from the Supreme Court. He requested a response from the Senate by Friday.
IT IS ORDERED that the August 5, 2016 order of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, in case No. 16-mc-621, is hereby stayed pending receipt of a response, due by noon Friday, September 9, 2016, and further order of the undersigned or of the CourtThe individual Justice assigned to the circuit (the Chief, for DC) is authorized to stay a lower court's order, but they typically refer the application to the full Court for anything more than a brief stay. I expect that "further order" will come early next week, and it will be from the full Court.
The DNC chair got the ax when hacked emails definitively proved what just about everyone paying attention pretty much knew -- that she was using the party apparatus to favor one primary candidate over the other. We didn't think it warranted mention on this blog.
But who is the substitute convention opener? It is none other than the notorious Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the one who said as her city was burning:
It's a very delicate balancing act because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well, and we work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate.She quickly blamed others for supposedly mischaracterizing her words, saying she did not mean what she plainly said.
One foolish statement would not have been so bad if she had followed up by doing everything right after that, but the City of Baltimore has not. Closer to the opposite, and it has the crime to prove it.
If the Democratic Party wanted to make this election all about who is on the criminals' side and who is on the law-abiding people's side, with themselves being the wrong side, it could hardly have chosen a more effective face to put forward to open its convention.
And just to be very, very clear, there is no balance to be struck with free speech when a full-blown riot is in progress. Government can constitutionally put "time, place, and manner" limits on speech to serve important interests, and peaceful protests can be postponed until peace is restored.
"Today, I'm announcing that in my first 30 days as President, I will propose a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and give the American people--all of us--the chance to reclaim our democracy," Mrs. Clinton said in a taped speech to the Netroots Nation conference of progressives. First 30 days? Who knew the 225-year-old First Amendment was in need of such urgent revision?Is amending the Bill of Rights fair game? How about getting rid of the defendant's privilege not to testify in a criminal case? Can we give it the heave-ho? Probably not.
But those who agree with Mrs. Clinton would say her amendment does not change the real First Amendment, just a misinterpretation of it by the Supreme Court. Fair enough. Let's have an amendment to scrape off all the barnacles attached to the criminal law and procedure provisions of the Bill of Rights that were not included in those amendments as originally understood.
First over the side is the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule. Miranda is next.
Dump that stupid rule that the prosecutor cannot comment on the defendant's failure to testify. Have you seen the prosecutor's closing argument in the BBC series Broadchurch? Great fun. Don't try this at home. Almost makes you want to move to England. Except for the wigs.
To convict the McDonnells of bribery, the Government was required to show that Governor McDonnell committed (or agreed to commit) an "official act" in exchange for the loans and gifts. The parties did not agree, however, on what counts as an "official act." The Government alleged in the indictment, and maintains on appeal, that Governor McDonnell committed at least five "official acts." Those acts included "arranging meetings" for Williams with other Virginia officials to discuss Star Scientific's product, "hosting" events for Star Scientific at the Governor's Mansion, and "contacting other government officials" concerning studies of anatabine. Supp. App. 47-48. The Government also argued more broadly that these activities constituted "official action" because they related to Virginia business development, a priority of Governor McDonnell's administration. Governor McDonnell contends that merely setting up a meeting, hosting an event, or contacting an official--without more--does not count as an "official act."The Court agrees with McDonnell on the main point in a unanimous opinion by Chief Justice Roberts. To hold otherwise would raise serious First Amendment concerns.
The Court rejects McDonnell's attack on the "honest services" statute as unconstitutionally vague, a holding based in part on the narrow interpretation in the previous part of the opinion.
The Court declines to address McDonnell's "insufficient evidence" claim because the parties have not yet had a chance to address it in light of the Court's clarification of the elements of the offense and therefore leaves that issue to the Court of Appeals on remand. That is important because a reversal on incorrect jury instructions (the main point addressed in today's opinion) permits a retrial, but a reversal on insufficient evidence is effectively an acquittal and precludes retrial.
Here is my question. Is this violation of the First Amendment so clear that the commissioners can be prosecuted for the federal crimes of conspiracy against free exercise of federal constitutional rights, 18 U.S.C. §241, or deprivation of rights under color of law, §242?
On college campuses today, the principal threat to freedom of speech comes from the political left. The disgraceful conduct of officials at Marquette University in the case of Professor John McAdams is described in this editorial at the WSJ.
But not everyone in academia has lost their minds. The Standing Committee on Open Expression at Emory University has this thoughtful opinion on some recent incidents there.
Thanks for the tip to Eugene Volokh, who notes his brother is on the committee.
Erik Wemple, media blogger for the WaPo, reports:
Melissa Click, an assistant professor of communication at the University of Missouri, has been charged with third-degree assault by the city of Columbia prosecutor's office, an assistant at that office confirmed today to the Erik Wemple Blog. The arrest comes months after Click was captured on video asking for "some muscle" to counter a student journalist at a November protest at the university. She also pushed the student journalist's camera.
Neighbors of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook told ABC Wednesday that they noticed "suspicious activity" at Farook's home recently, but did not report it for fear of being called racist....
Aaron Elswick -- a neighbor of Farook's mother in Redland -- said that another neighbor told him "they had I guess been receiving packages -- quite a few packages within a short amount of time, and they were actually doing a lot of work out in the garage."
"She was kind of suspicious and wanted to report it," Elswick explained, "but she said she didn't want to profile."
"Obviously this is a country that is based on free speech," Lynch told the audience at the Muslim Advocates dinner in Arlington, VA. "But when that edges towards violence...we will take action."
No criminal charges will be filed in the two-year investigation into whether any IRS officials, including Lois Lerner, committed crimes in connection with the handling of tax-exemption applications by conservative groups, the Justice Department announced Friday.* * *Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) criticized the Justice Dept.'s decision not to bring charges as "giving Lois Lerner a free pass" and called it "a low point of accountability in an Administration that is better known for punishing whistleblowers than the abuse and misconduct they expose."
"After stating that their investigation confirms that Tea Party and conservative groups were improperly targeted, they dismiss it merely as a byproduct of gross mismanagement and incompetence - ignoring volumes of evidence in the public record and efforts to obstruct legitimate inquires," Issa said in a statement.
Marine Le Pen is on trial for making a speech. What did she say? Henry Samuel has this article in the London Telegraph. In 2010, Ms. Le Pen had this to say about mass prayer sessions being held by Muslims in the streets at the time:
"I'm sorry, but for those who really like to talk about the Second World War, if we're talking about occupation, we could talk about that (street prayers), because that is clearly an occupation of the territory," she said during the meeting.Poorly chosen words? Sure. A crime? Not in any country that understands what liberty is all about.
"It is an occupation of sections of the territory, of neighbourhoods in which religious law applies, it is an occupation. There are no tanks, there are no soldiers, but it is an occupation anyhow, and it weighs on people."