Archive for the ‘Constitutional Law’ Category

125px-Flag_of_Malaysia.svgPrisonCellWe have yet another attack on free speech and the free press from one of our allies. Malaysian cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Alhaque, better known as Zunar, has been hit with nine counts of sedition for tweets critical of the country’s judiciary. It is an outrageous prosecution brought under a law that defines sedition as any comment that promotes hatred toward the government. Zunar previously defended his art against claims that it is defamatory. Zunar faces up to 43 years in jail if found guilty on all nine charges.

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"A Revolutionary Committee during the Terror." An engraving of 1798 with a negative portrayal of policing functions during the Terror carried out by radicalized sans-culottes in Paris.There is an interesting lawsuit in France by six survivors of the January attack by Islamic extremist Amedy Coulibaly at the Hyper Casher Jewish supermarket in Paris. The six people were mortified after learning that French media broadcasted their hiding location in a refrigerator while Coulibaly was looking for hostages and threatening to kill them all.

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Wedding_cake_with_pillar_supports,_2009This week, I appeared on the CNN special addressing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in Indiana. While I have been a long-standing supporter of same-sex marriage, I raised concerns over the dismissive treatment of religious concerns over the scope of anti-discrimination laws and how they may curtail free exercise of religion. I have previously written both columns and academic work on this collision between the two areas of law. In the program, I raised an example of the growing conflicts that we discussed earlier on this blog of a bakery that refused to make a cake deemed insulting to homosexuals while other bakers are objecting to symbols that they view as insulting to their religious views. This issue also came up with an advocate for LGBT rights on the show:

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220px-Washington_Post_buildingPresident_Barack_ObamaWe have previously discussed the criticism of reporters, newspapers like the New York Times, and international groups that President Obama has run one of the most hostile Administrations in history to press freedom and public openness. Now that Democratic stalwart, the Washington Post, has joined in the chorus of critics, detailing the secretive, almost Nixonian culture of the Obama Administration in a new article.

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54de18903b380.imageWe previously discussed the terrible case of Sureshbhai Patel who was seriously injured after former Madison (Alabama) police officer Eric Sloan Parker slammed him face first into the ground during a confrontation. Parker is now charged on the state level and facing a civil lawsuit. Now he has been charged with violating Patel’s civil rights. As we have discussed before, the question is whether such federal charges are necessary or warranted. Obviously, while based on the same conduct as the state charges, the charges are different. On the state level, it is assault while on the federal level it is the denial of federal rights. The Supreme Court has rejected double jeopardy attacks on such back-to-back charges, but these cases still raise the same concerns of multiplication of charges.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox

In what hopefully will become the conclusion of an oppressive years long ordeal, Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, overturned the murder convictions against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

The news came as somewhat a surprise considering the zeal at which the prosecution fought to ensure the defendants be imprisoned for over two decades. The subsequent court drama and media circuses made it seem an almost foregone conclusion her fate would ultimately rest upon an extradition hearing within the purview of American courts.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Flag of TurkeyIn an injustice to both the liberty of a Kurdish man and free speech in general a court in Turkey handed down thirteen year sentence to a defendant accused of removing a Turkish flag at a military base near Diyarbakir, Turkey. The disproportionate sentence followed an outraged Recep Erdogan who declared after the act, “[w]e don’t care if he is a child. Even if a child dares to take down our sacred flag both him and those who send him there will pay a price.”

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