We recently discussed the case of a Louisiana high school senior who had his parking space mural to President Donald Trump painted over by his school. Now a Florida senior has an equally troubling free speech case involving the Volusia County School District. Tyler Maxwell is suing the District after it barred him from parking his pickup truck with a large elephant in the back featuring Trump’s name. The District declared that such “political statements” are now banned. Continue reading “The Elephant in the Room: Florida School Revokes The Parking Privileges Of Student With Trump Display On Truck”
We previously discussed the disturbing case of Vermont Principal Tiffany Riley who was suspended after she wrote on Facebook that she does not agree with the Black Lives Matter movement. Shortly after that posting, Mount Ascutney School Board held an emergency meeting to declare that it is “uniformly appalled” and that Riley was “tone deaf” for making such a statement. In what should now be a major free speech case, the Board unanimously voted to fire Riley, citing her “denigrating, derogatory, or contrary to the movement for social equity for African Americans, including the Black Lives Matter movement.” Continue reading “Vermont Goes “Tone Deaf” On Free Speech: Principal Fired Over “All Lives Matter” Statement”
Peter Greenberger, a former Twitter and Google executive, is calling for the social media accounts of President Donald Trump to be shutdown for the remainder of the election. For those of us who have criticized calls for censorship from Democratic leaders for years, the demand is yet another example of the slippery slope of censorship that awaits this country with increasing regulation of speech on social media. Continue reading ““Time To Mute The President”: Former Twitter and Google Executive Calls For Trump To Be Banned From Social Media Until After The Election”
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the censorship of the Hunter Biden controversy by Facebook and Twitter. The response of the Biden campaign and figures like Rep. Adam Schiff has been to dismiss the story as the likely product of Russian intelligence. Notably however they do not address the underlying emails. As many of us have written, there is ample reason to suspect foreign intelligence and the FBI is reportedly investigating that possibility. However, that does not mean that the emails are not authentic. Hillary Clinton was hacked by Russia but the emails were still real. It is possible to investigate both those responsible for the laptop’s disclosure and what has been disclosed on the laptop. The censorship by these companies however has magnified concerns in the controversy, particularly with the disclosure of close connections between some company officials and the Biden campaign. Continue reading “The Rise of The Corporate Censors: How America Is Drifting Toward The Chinese Model Of Media”
We have discussed the growing intolerance for opposing views of politics or the law on our campuses. The most recent example is small but highly illustrative. The sorority Kappa Delta has issued an abject apology. The reason is that the sorority committed the unforgivable sin of tweeting out a congratulations to Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a member of the sorority at Rhodes College, on her nomination to the Supreme Court. One should not have to agree with Barrett’s judicial philosophy to offer a simple attagirl to a sorority sister for her extraordinary accomplishment. However, other members protested that this simple act of civility was “hurtful” and traumatic to them as fellow members. The most notable however was feminist writer Amy Siskind who previously was attacked on Twitter for her own views opposing Black Lives Matter and supporting such political figures as John McCain and Sarah Palin. It is a tale of two Amys and one is being shunned for defending her long-held views and one is being celebrated for dispensing with them.
I previously testified in the Senate on Antifa and the growing anti-free speech movement in the United States. I specifically disagreed with the statement of House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler that Antifa (and its involvement in violent protests) is a “myth.” My greatest concern remains the growing use of violence to shutdown free speech events around the country — a practice that has been going on for years on our campuses. That danger was evident in San Francisco yesterday when a conservative group gathered for a free speech rally to protest the recent actions of big tech companies like Twitter. They were violently attacked and the organizer had two teeth knocked out before the event was canceled. Continue reading “Conservatives Attacked by BLM and Antifa Supporters In Effort To Hold Free Speech Rally In San Francisco”
Midwestern State University in Texas Professor Nathan Jun has triggered a free speech fight in Texas after a series of unhinged, hateful statements on social media. Wearing an Antifa teeshirt on social media, Jun has lashed out at police, capitalists, and politicians. His views are extreme and offensive. They are also, in my view, entirely protected. Much like the banning of Louis Farrakhan discussed yesterday, Jun is the test of our true commitment to free speech. By supporting this right to speak, we support the right of everyone, including the vast majority who view Jun’s comments as deeply unsettling and obnoxious. Continue reading “Texas Professor Triggers Free Speech Fight After Calling For The Death Of All Police By Strangulation with the “Intestines of the Last Capitalist””
This morning, we passed the 45,000,000 mark in views on the blog. The blog continues to grow with new regular commenters and a growing international readership. The continued growth is due primarily to our loyal readers who return every day to discuss contemporary legal, political, and occasionally bizarre stories. We have used these moments to give thanks for our many regular readers around the world and give you an idea of the current profile of readers on the blog. We continue to rank with the top legal blogs in the world. As always, I want to offer special thanks for Darren Smith who has continued to help manage the blog and help out folks who encounter posting problems.
So here is our current profile:
As many on this blog know, I have been a long and vocal critic of Louis Farrakhan, who regularly espouses racist and antisemitic views. Coming from Chicago, I have criticized Farrakhan for years, including recent posts. Nevertheless, the move by YouTube to remove the video channel of the Nation of Islam is in my view another example of private censorship of speech on the Internet. Many of us have denounced Farrakhan, but censorship begins with the most unpopular and obnoxious among us. This action places the Internet on the slippery slope where more and more speech is likely to be banned as offensive or hateful. Continue reading “YouTube Reportedly Shuts Down Farrakhan And The Nation Of Islam”
In Connecticut, U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello has dismissed a free speech challenge that could have sweeping implications for protests against police operations or policies. Michael Friend was arrested in 2018 after he held up a sign warning motorists “Cops Ahead.” The police were looking for distracted drivers in Stamford. Covello ruled that Friend did not have a free speech right in making such a protest. As will likely surprise few on this blog, I disagree. Covello’s decision dismisses the obvious political and social viewpoints reflected in Friend’s protest. Under this standard, a wide variety of speech could be curtailed as inimical to police operations.
Today I have the pleasure of speaking at the Media Law Conference, the largest legal organization of media defense practitioners. The panel discussion is entitled “The Roaring 20s: The Decade Ahead in Libel, Privacy, National Security & Newsgathering and Other First Amendment Law.” Continue reading “Turley Speaks At National Media Law Conference”
The New York Times on Thursday published an opinion column by Regina Ip, the Hong Kong official widely denounced as “Beijing’s enforcer.” Ip declared “Hong Kong is part of China” and dismissed the protesters fighting for freedom in their city. I have no objection to the publishing of the column. Ip is a major figure in Hong Kong and, despite her support for authoritarian rule and crushing dissent, there is a value to having such views as part of the public debate. Rather, my concern is that the New York Times was denounced by many of us for its cringing apology after publishing a column by Sen. Tom Cotton (R, Ark.). and promising not to publish future such columns. So it will not publish a column from a Republican senator on protests in the United States but it will publish columns from one of the Chinese leaders crushing protests for freedom in Hong Kong.
Louisville Metro Police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly is reportedly moving forward with defamation actions against those who have called him a “murderer” for his role in the Breonna Taylor case. His attorney Todd McMurtry has been unclear on who would be sued for the commonly used label following the shooting of Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker. A defamation is possible but it would be highly challenging under controlling case law and this specific context. Continue reading “Does Officer Jonathan Mattingly Have A Defamation Case In The Coverage Of The Breonna Taylor Case?”