Category: Constitutional Law

Father Arrested After Continuing To Call His Child “She” After Court-Ordered Gender Transition Treatments

There is an extraordinary case out of British Columbia where a father referenced as CD was arrested after he continued to refer to his biological 14-year-old daughter (known as AB) as “she” and his “daughter” after he transitioned to a male gender.  The Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada ordered that the child receive testosterone injections without obtaining parental consent. CD opposed the transition as the parent but he was overruled after physicians at BC Children’s Hospital who decided the girl should receive testosterone injections. The father continued to defy gag orders, including a bar on his trying to persuade with his own child to wait before making such a change. Continue reading “Father Arrested After Continuing To Call His Child “She” After Court-Ordered Gender Transition Treatments”

Court: Michigan Secretary of State Broke The Law On Absentee Ballot Guidelines In The 2020 Election

The litigation over the 2020 election seem to be continuing with a ruling this week from Michigan Court of Claims Chief Judge Christopher Murray that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) broke state law in issuing new rules on absentee balloting before the 2020 election. The orders concerned instructions on what constitutes a “match” for verification signatures — a core issue raised by the Trump campaign in its election challenges. There is no evidence that the violation of state law altered the outcome of the election in the state and the court declined to order a new audit. However, the court found that Murray should not have issued the orders and, in doing so, violated the state’s Administrative Procedures Act. Continue reading “Court: Michigan Secretary of State Broke The Law On Absentee Ballot Guidelines In The 2020 Election”

North Carolina Supreme Court Upholds Judicially Mandated Speech And Censorship On Blog

An opinion out of North Carolina is raising very serious concern over free speech this week.  The North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld the actions of William Coward, a Macon County judge, who not only convicted a blogger of the crime of recording a court hearing, but went further to force  Davin Eldridge to write and post a lengthy essay about respect — and then delete any negative comments from those objecting to the judicially-coerced speech.  The opinion in my view is an outrageous overreach of judicial authority and an attack on free speech. Yet the North Carolina Supreme Court has now upheld the sentence without any opinion.

Kentucky Moves To Criminalize Taunting Police Officers

Kentucky’s state Senate has passed a bill that raises deep concerns over free speech.  The bill would make it a crime to “taunt” a police officer, an act that would sweep an array of protected speech under the criminal code and would face serious constitutional challenges. Continue reading “Kentucky Moves To Criminalize Taunting Police Officers”

Near Unanimous Supreme Court Rules Against Georgia Gwinnett College In Free Speech Victory

If Georgia Gwinnett College wanted to foster greater unity in its use of “free speech zones,” it succeeded in prompting a near unanimous Supreme Court in ruling against it in favor of free speech this week. The Court voted 8-1 that two former students should be able to sue for nominal or symbolic damages to avoid mootness on their challenges.  Only Chief Justice John Roberts stood against the ability of the two former students to sue over the loss of free speech rights. Continue reading “Near Unanimous Supreme Court Rules Against Georgia Gwinnett College In Free Speech Victory”

British Court Rules Against The Press In Lawsuit By Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex

There is a saturation of coverage of the upcoming interview of Oprah and Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. The increasingly public spat between the Crown and the couple is turning nasty with an investigation into alleged bullying and abuse of household staff by Meghan.  All of that sensational coverage has distracted from a far more substantive and costly matter.  Meghan just won a case against Associated Newspapers and the ruling by London High Court Judge Mark Warby should be a concern for anyone who values the freedom of the press. Continue reading “British Court Rules Against The Press In Lawsuit By Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex”

Flipping The Byrd: Democrats Demand The Firing Of The Senate Parliamentarian After The Minimum Wage Hike Is Deemed Out of Order

Democratic members this week attacked Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough after she (correctly) ruled that the inclusion of the $15 minimum wage hike in a reconciliation bill violated Senate rules. The response from Democratic members and many in the blogosphere was withering.  Rep. Ilhan Omar called for MacDonough to be fired and others denounced her actions and called the Senate to simply overrule her — and the long-standing rules.  It is not just the effort to gut or flip the “Byrd Rule” but vicious attacks on this parliamentarian that are so disconcerting.

Continue reading “Flipping The Byrd: Democrats Demand The Firing Of The Senate Parliamentarian After The Minimum Wage Hike Is Deemed Out of Order”

“Not All TV News Sources Are The Same”: Congress And The Slippery Slope Of Censorship

Congressional SealBelow is my column in the Hill on yesterday’s hearing on possible private and public limitations on free speech and the free press, including a letter from Democratic members asking companies why they do not remove Fox News and networks from cable. I recently responded to comments made by Rep. Anna Eshoo in the hearing.  However, the letter highlighted the continuing pressure from members on both Big Tech and cable suppliers to silence opposing viewpoints. What was most disappointing was that no Democratic members used the hearing to offer a simple and unifying statement: we oppose efforts to remove Fox News and these other networks from cable programming. Not a single Democratic member made that statement, which (in my view) should be easy for anyone who believes in free speech and the free press. Even though every witness (including one who lost her father to Covid-19) made that statement, no Democratic member was willing to state publicly that they would oppose efforts to remove Fox News from cable access. That silence was also chilling to the point of glacial.

Here is the column:

Continue reading ““Not All TV News Sources Are The Same”: Congress And The Slippery Slope Of Censorship”

“It All Meant Something. Until It Didn’t”: A Response To Rep. Anna Eshoo

I testified yesterday on possible private and public limitations on free speech and the free press, including a letter from Democratic members pressing companies to remove Fox News and networks from cable.  Democratic members sent the letter to AT&T, Verizon, Roku, Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Charter, DISH, Cox, Altice, Hulu and Google’s parent company, Alphabet. During the hearing, House Democrat Anna Eshoo (D., Cal.) insisted that she was only “asking questions” and then reframed the objections to the letter as whether the letter itself was a violation of the First Amendment. It seemed like the line from A Hologram for the King: “It all meant something. Until it didn’t.”

Given the limited opportunity to respond to Rep. Eshoo in the hearing, I wanted to respond. Continue reading ““It All Meant Something. Until It Didn’t”: A Response To Rep. Anna Eshoo”

Portman’s Principled Stand: A Response To The Cincinnati Enquirer

Below is my column in the Cincinnati Enquirer in response to a column criticizing Sen. Rob Portman for his vote to acquit former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial. Portman (who recently announced that he will not run for reelection) is one of the most thoughtful and decent figures in Congress. James Freeman Clarke once said “A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman of the next generation. A politician looks for the success of his party; a statesman for that of his country.” I have spoken with Sen. Portman on constitutional and legal issues for years and he always epitomized what Clarke meant about a true statesman.  His decision not to seek reelection was a blow for the Senate as someone who was eager to work with the other party on finding solutions to our growing national problems. That is why I felt I had to respond to a recent column by Opinion Editor Kevin Aldridge. I have no doubt about Aldridge’s good-faith disagreement with the verdict. However, we need to reach a place where we can disagree on such issues without questioning each other’s integrity or honesty. To that end, I want to thank the Cincinnati Enquirer (and Mr. Aldridge) for having the integrity of running my column.  This is the essence of dialogue and we may find that what divides us is not nearly as great as what unites us as citizens.

 

Here is the column: Continue reading “Portman’s Principled Stand: A Response To The Cincinnati Enquirer”

Chicago Faces 135% Increase In Carjackings . . . So Legislator Seeks To Ban “Grand Theft Auto”

My home city of Chicago continues to reel from soaring crime rates. Among the categories of increasing crime is a 135% spike in carjackings.  One would think that the legislators would be focused on better policing and other programs. Rep. Marcus Evans Jr. (D, Chicago) however wants to ban video games like “Grand Theft Auto” which depict “motor vehicle theft with a driver or passenger present.” While it would not likely make a dent in carjackings, it would curtail free speech and individual choice. Continue reading “Chicago Faces 135% Increase In Carjackings . . . So Legislator Seeks To Ban “Grand Theft Auto””

Fired High School Coach Sues Massachusetts School In Free Speech Lawsuit

There have been a variety of reported conflicts in school districts over curriculum changes and materials addressing racism, including the recent controversy in New York where white families were asked to chose between such “white identities” as “white supremacist” and “white traitor.” Such controversies make for poor lawsuits since they reflect policy, curricula, or programmatic choices of a given district. It becomes a legal matter when a district punishes parents for objecting to such material. That is part of the allegations raised in a recently filed lawsuit by the conservative group Judicial Watch. It is representing fired high school football coach Dave Flynn who alleges that he was terminated by the Dedham High School after raising objections as a parent over the course material in his daughter’s World Geography and Ancient History class. While I have not seen the school’s answer, the lawsuit highlights troubling allegations over how the district handled the matter and allegedly retaliated against Flynn. Continue reading “Fired High School Coach Sues Massachusetts School In Free Speech Lawsuit”

Mutual Destruction: How Trump’s Trial Became A Tale Of Constitutional Noir

Below is my column in the Hill on second Trump trial and how core values quickly became the extraneous to the purpose of this constitutional process.  The final chaos triggered by Rep. Jaime Raskin (D., Md) only highlighted the procedural and legal irregularities in a trial that seem increasingly detached from values like due process.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “Mutual Destruction: How Trump’s Trial Became A Tale Of Constitutional Noir”