The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has handed down a major ruling that will likely shock many dog owners. Judge Eric Clay wrote the opinion that police can legally shoot and kill any dog that is barking at them during a raid. Since this is a common response to intruders, it would mean that police have virtually complete discretion to kill dogs during raids. The case is Brown v. Battle Creek Police Dep’t, 2016 FED App. 0293P (6th Cir.).
Our close ally Saudi Arabia has again proven that it imposes the same type of extreme and arbitrary justice as nations like Iran. The latest outrage out of the Kingdom was the jailing of a man for campaigning against the nation’s repressive state control over women. For merely speaking up for women, the man is now reportedly in jail for a year.
I recently wrote about the growing threat of government regulation of speech on the Internet under the guise of combatting “fake news.” Germany has been ground zero for civil libertarians for the rollback of free speech. German Chancellor Angela Merkel long ago established herself as a menace to free speech, particularly in her decision to first apologize to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a satirical poem and then approve the prosecution of the comedian is a shocking and chilling disgrace. Now, Germany is considering imposing a legal regime that would allow fining social networks such as Facebook up to 500,000 euros ($522,000) for each day the platform leaves a “fake news” story up without deleting it. Governments have finally found a vehicle to get citizens to allow them to curtail or chill speech — ironically in the name of facilitating “real news” or “truth.” It is perfectly Orwellian and Merkel’s latest contribution to the erosion of free speech in the West. I recently discussed the issue as part of an interesting segment with Ted Koppel.
We have long discussed the rapid decline of free speech protections in the West. I have long argued that the West appears to have fallen out of love with free speech, which is more often viewed as a rising scourge rather than a defining value in some countries. That trend was reinforced by Israel this week, which became the latest country to criminalize some statements on social media. A new law would give the government the ability to move against any speech deemed as threatening or encouraging violence to be “removed immediately.” The law would cover the dangerously ambiguous category of language deemed “incitement.”
The Obama Administration and many Democratic leaders have made “fake news” a rallying cry for more government and private regulation of the Internet — as well as a rationale for the devastating loss of Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump. Below is a column exploring the dangers of this new justification for speech regulation, which are already becoming evident in various countries around the world. I recently discussed the issue as part of an interesting segment with Ted Koppel.
There is a controversy at the University of Oregon that embodies our long debate over the free speech rights of employees over statements and conduct in their private lives. Law professor Nancy Shurtz triggered a firestorm after she wore blackface to a Halloween party. She was dressed as Dr. Damon Tweedy, the author of Black Men In A White Coat. The school launched a formal investigation and found that, while there was no “ill intent”, Shurtz violated the school’s anti-discrimination policies. That has caused a debate over the extension of such rules to the conduct of faculty or students off campus and off hours.
Given our previous discussion of the rising popularity of the electoral college, the final vote tallies are interesting. They do confirm that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 million. However, it also shows that Clinton lost to Trump by 3 million outside of New York and California. The results will tend to reinforce fears that the abandonment of the Electoral College would hand the outcome of presidential elections to voters in New York and California. Trump however issued signature tweets about how Clinton focused on the wrong states.