Below 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.
West Point graduate and Army infantry officer Spenser Rapone has been drummed out of the military after receiving an “other than honorable discharge” from the military. He caused a stir with a posted photo of his West Point cap with the words “Communism will win” written inside. He also displayed a Che Guevara T-shirt underneath his uniform jacket. Rapone is clearly a dedicated socialist, but the action raises the issue of whether being a communist or socialist is disqualifying. His removal is widely tied to a letter sent by Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fl.). Rapone is scheduled to be a featured speaker at the conference “Socialism 2018” in Chicago this year.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the calls for a constitutional challenge to the new NFL policy against protests during the National Anthem. While many have claimed that the policy violates free speech rights of the players, there is actually little support for such a challenge under constitutional law. The best shot might be procedural in nature in arguing that the collective bargaining agreement requires conferral on such rules with the players. Putting aside the strong defenses to this claim, it would likely only require consultation and not a change in the ultimate policy.
Addison Barnes, 18, is suing his school, Liberty High School in Hillsboro, for violating his free speech rights under the First Amendment. Barnes had simply worn a t-shirt reading “Donald J. Trump Construction Co. . . .The wall just got 10 feet taller.” He was suspended for refusing to cover up the message. It is clearly a political statement that some would object to. However, high school students are encouraged to become involved in the political system and nothing on the shirt is profane or racist or vulgar. If this t-shirt is offensive and barred, wouldn’t any political or religious or social cause be equally subject to such action? The question answers itself and the implications are troubling.
Otis Dawayne Ryan, 30, has a curious idea of family planning education classes. The Florida man was arrested in Clearwater Beach at a playground after he climbed atop a piece of equipment at a Clearwater Beach playground Sunday and yelled at a bunch of children in the area about where babies come from.
We have been discussing the erosion of free speech on campuses with rising speech codes and ambiguous rules barring “microaggressions.” A small percentage of students and faculty often push for such speech codes and regulation. However, it is often difficult for students and faculty to object at the risk of being called intolerant or microaggressors. Now there is a Gallup poll confirming that most students feel that they are no longer able to speak freely at college due to this minority of speech intolerant students and faculty. Ninety percent of Pomona students said that they did not feel free to speak openly or freely. It is an indictment of not just Pomona but many of our colleges. Continue reading “Gallup Poll: Ninety Percent Of Pomona Students Feel That They Cannot Speak Freely”→
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on how liberals in New York are supplying the Supreme Court ample reason to rule for a Colorado cake shop owner in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. As the Court decides whether a baker can refuse to bake a cake deemed offensive, many liberals are asserting the right to refuse to serve conservatives based on their political views or associations.
We have been discussing the rapid erosion of free speech on our campuses and the increasing confrontations with students who bar speech with which they disagree. (Here and here and here and here) The most disturbing aspect of this trend has been the active support of academics and administrators, including defining the prevention of free speech as an exercise of free speech. The result is that schools are caving into academic demands made by students. The latest example is the action taken by the State University of New York at Oswego administrator, who reprimanded a student for making other students feel “uncomfortable” by raising liberal intolerance of free speech at an “Open Mic” event last month. Nicole Miller was called out under an “unofficial policy” — thereby confirming the very point of her remarks.
Utah senior Keziah Daum, 18, thought that she was sharing a pictures from a wonderful prom from Woods Cross High School. The pictures show Daum in a beautiful Chinese Choengsam (also known as a qipao) dress, a creative and striking choice for this important event. The posting however unleashed a torrent of criticism of Daum for “cultural appropriation” because she is not Chinese. I have been a long critic of the “cultural appropriation” protests on campuses, but this case is particularly maddening and absurd. Continue reading “Utah Student Accused Of Cultural Appropriation After Posting Prom Pictures In Chinese Dress”→
I will have the pleasure today of serving as a keynote speaker at the Connect: ID 2018 conference in Washington. Connect:ID is an international conference on identity technologies including biometrics, mobile applications and secure credentials. I will be speaking on identity, privacy, and anonymity. The speech will be at 8:30 am at the Washington Convention Center.
We have been discussing the increasing practice of students interrupting classes or speeches to prevent others from hearing opposing views. This has included protests where students have been prevented from studying as other students accuse them of privilege or racism. Administrators at schools like Dartmouth have allowed such abusive conduct to occur without disciplinary action, even apologizing to the protesters. Now, twenty students were allowed to storm the Columbia University library Wednesday to protest the fact that College Republicans were allowed to exercise their free speech in bringing conservative speakers to campus. It was a demonstration that not only sought to deny other students free speech but did so in a way to deny students their right to study. Columbia has been silent on any effort to discipline the students. The Liberation Coalition occupied the library staircase while holding signs proclaiming “Decolonize Columbia” and “Divest from White Supremacy Now.”
Below is my column in The Hill on the speech by French President Emmanuel Macron and his calling for the United States to join France in a crackdown on “fake news.” Our members were either clueless or complicit in this thinly veiled call for speech regulation on the Internet. However, there is growing pressure from Europe for the United States to abandon its long commitment to free speech — a call that is being heard by a rising number of academics and politicians. I love the oak (which has disappeared) but the advice in far more invasive for this country.
I have previously criticized the University of California at Berkeley for its highly biased history in dealing with conservative speakers who come to campus. Now, federal judge Maxine Chesney has agreed with the Young America’s Foundation (and the U.S. Justice Department) in rejecting a motion to dismiss by Berkeley — forcing the school to deal with its policies and priorities on the exercise of free speech. The president of the University of California system is Janet Napolitano, former United States Secretary of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama.