Category: Free Speech

Federal Judge Orders L.A. Times To Remove Information Of A Plea Agreement From Published Articles [UPDATED]

screen-shot-2018-07-17-at-7-22-46-am-e1531826624860.pngIn one of the most troubling orders issued by a court in years, U.S. District Judge John F. Walter issued an order on Saturday to the Los Angeles Times to remove information from an article describing a plea agreement between prosecutors and a Glendale police detective.  The detective is alleged to have been in the pocket of the blood-soaked Mexican Mafia.  The newspaper discovered the details in a posted order on PACER the online court database, which was supposed to be left under seal.  I have been in cases when such mistakes have occurred but the court’s actions in this case drive to the heart of press freedom in this country. In my view (which will hardly surprise our regular readers), the order is a direct and dangerous violation of the First Amendment. [UPDATE: After a national outcry, the judge has rescinded his order and says that he was not sure that the LA Times had obtained the material legally.]

Continue reading “Federal Judge Orders L.A. Times To Remove Information Of A Plea Agreement From Published Articles [UPDATED]”

Cambridge Under Fire For Hiring American Physics Researcher Who Advocated Monogamy On Blog Three Years Ago

300px-University_of_Cambridge_coat_of_arms_official_version.svgStudents at Cambridge are objecting to the hiring of American Aron Wall, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California-Santa Barbara who studies “quantum gravity and black hole thermodynamics.” It is not Wall’s academic credentials or theories that are controversial. Rather, three years ago, Wall wrote a blog post critical of Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, the decision protecting the right to same-sex marriage.  Wall’s criticism was of non-monogamous relations in the gay and lesbian communities.  One can easily see the objections to such arguments but critics have gone further to object that Wall’s personal views create a hostile or threatening environment. Continue reading “Cambridge Under Fire For Hiring American Physics Researcher Who Advocated Monogamy On Blog Three Years Ago”

“You Ain’t Supporting S–t”: Teenager Assaulted At Restaurant For Wearing MAGA Hat [Updated]

teenattacked_hdvWe have often discussed the rising incivility and anger in our political discourse.  That derangement was on display at a Whataburger in San Antonio when an unidentified man assaulted a teenager for wearing a Make America Great again hat.  It was fortunately caught on tape and hopefully the culprit will be apprehended. However, a prior such assault by a University of California-Riverside student will not face jail time for an earlier assault on a student wearing a MAGA hat. In the videotape, the man throws a soda in 16-year-old Hunter Richard’s face before triumphantly walking out of the restaurant. Update: The man has now been arrested.  The man’s name is Kino Jimenez, 30.

 

Continue reading ““You Ain’t Supporting S–t”: Teenager Assaulted At Restaurant For Wearing MAGA Hat [Updated]”

“Feeling Patriotic”: James Wood Allegedly Dropped By Agent For Conservative Views

362px-Fourth_of_July_fireworks_behind_the_Washington_Monument,_1986Talent agent Ken Kaplan has a curious way of celebrating the Fourth of July.  According to James Wood, Kaplan used the holiday celebrating a nation committed to free speech and self-determination by publicly dropping the actor for his conservative views.  He said dropping an artist for his political views makes him feel “patriotic.”  Notably, none of the artists represented by Kaplan protested the discrimination against a fellow artists for political reasons. Continue reading ““Feeling Patriotic”: James Wood Allegedly Dropped By Agent For Conservative Views”

Does Lighting Fireworks Constitute Free Speech?

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

180px-San_Diego_FireworksWith the coming this week of this year’s Independence Day, I thought we would revisit an article from 2016 and pose a question to you. Does the use of fireworks constitute protected free speech?

A tradition spanning multiple generations in the United States is that a large portion of our society celebrates and shows tribute to the United States through the lighting and observance of fireworks. Yet numerous municipalities and counties impose sweeping and total bans of fireworks. Some statutes regulate the type of firework allowable, such as those having a ferocity that safety requires certified technicians. Others ban benign devices such as snakes and small fountains.

But does a complete ban on fireworks regardless of size constitute an infringement on the first amendment rights of citizens?

Continue reading “Does Lighting Fireworks Constitute Free Speech?”

Honorable Civil Disobedience

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Having seen over the years protesters engaged in voicing their grievances in fashions ranging from the peaceful to the violent, I believe it is incumbent to provide a guidelines in the hope of furthering a cause without the distractions that spill over into not only silencing important messages but preventing consequences that hurt others.

I propose the idea of Honorable Civil Disobedience.

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The Kennedy Retirement Leaves The Court Without A Center of Gravity and Grace

225px-Anthony_Kennedy_OfficialBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the legacy and vision or Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.  The departure of Kennedy will leave the Supreme Court more calcified and rigid in its ideological division. Chief Justice John Roberts now assumes the role of the swing vote with a center of gravity that will likely move further to the right.  His voice was unique and often profound.  He applied a conservative jurisprudence that emphasized the protection of individual rights and identity.  Time will show that Kennedy saw a horizon for our society that we are still struggling to attain.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “The Kennedy Retirement Leaves The Court Without A Center of Gravity and Grace”

Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks