Deputy PD, Erika Ballou, has refused to comply with a judicial order to remove a Black Lives Matter pin from her blouse — a clear violation of court rules. As we recently discussed with regard to such pins, judges maintain basic rules of decorum and dress in their courtrooms, particularly in barring political symbols that may influence a jury or witnesses. What is astonishing is not just that Ballou defied the court but that Clark County Public Defender Phil Kohn was standing next to her and a dozen defense lawyers stood behind her in support.
Another university has cancelled a conservative speaker under the guise of security concerns. The speaker is Milo Yiannopoulos who has repeatedly been disrupted or cancelled in his effort to speak on campuses (as well as being barred by Twitter). Yiannopoulos attracts considerable opposition and seems to relish the controversy with his “Dangerous Faggot” tour.
Yesterday, I testified about the subpoena power of Congress under Article I and briefly discussed the recent free speech challenge to the Senate subpoena issued against Backpage.com. I mentioned in the hearing that the district court had issued a sweeping reaffirmation of congressional subpoena authority, but that Chief Justice John Roberts had issued a stay. Now, the Supreme Court denied the appeal. The decision further strengthens the case of the House Science Committee.
This afternoon, the Brown family filed its appeal with the United States Supreme Court in the “Sister Wives” case. The case is Brown v. Buhman, No. 14-4117. As lead counsel for the Browns, I am joined on the petition by co-counsel Thomas Huff and we benefited from the input of our long-time co-counsel in Utah, Adam Alba. The petition asks the Court to resolve a longstanding conflict among the courts of appeals concerning the extent to which the government can strategically moot a constitutional challenge to a statute by announcing a new non-enforcement policy during the pendency of litigation. The petition is attached below.
We have often discussed how free speech is rapidly being curtailed on college campuses in the name of fighting intolerance and ill-defined “microaggressions.” California lawmakers are showing the same dismissive attitude in legislation that is a response to the recent scandal over secretly taped statements by Planned Parenthood officials. The videotapes by activists caused a national backlash against Planned Parenthood so liberal politicians are moving to stamp out future “gotcha” films by sharply curtailing free speech and press freedoms. Democratic state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, and other Democrats dismissed vehement objections from the ACLU, civil liberties, and press freedom groups. I understand the objections to the videotape of Planned Parenthood and the alleged unfairness in editing. However, the solution is not to further criminalize this area of free speech and press freedoms.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.
In a shameful and terrible scene reminiscent of police attacks against civil rights advocates and union busting of the 1920’s, the Dakota Access pipeline company dispatched its “goon squad” which unleashed attack dogs and pepper spray, injuring several Native American protesters. What began as a peaceful protest deteriorated into a new and shameful moment in today’s America, symbolized quite fittingly with images of Native Americans’ blood in the teeth of Corporate America’s attack dogs.