Authors Facing Increasing Pressure To Retroactively Edit Their Work To Appease Critics

We have been discussing writerseditorscommentators, and academics who have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including book banning and blacklisting. That movement has now become retroactive. Authors are now being successfully pressured to remove lines from published books that are deemed objectionable by some readers. It appears that even speech that has published can be retroactively “corrected” under the threat of public accusation. Continue reading “Authors Facing Increasing Pressure To Retroactively Edit Their Work To Appease Critics”

Debunking The Photo Op Myth: Inspector General Investigation Refutes Media Account On The Clearing Of Lafayette Park

For over a year, there has been one fact that has been repeated in literally thousands of news stories: former Attorney General Bill Barr ordered the clearing of Lafayette Park on June 1, 2020 to allow former President Donald Trump to hold his controversial photo op in front of St. John’s Church.  From the outset, there was ample reason to question the claim echoed across media outlets. As I noted in my testimony to Congress on the protest that month, the operation was clearly a response to days of violent and destructive protests.  Now the Inspector General has completed its investigation and the report debunks the conspiracy theory that the Lafayette Square area was cleared to make way for the Trump photo op.

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“Patriotism and Colonialism are Not Really Separable”: Oxford To Remove Queen’s Portrait From Common Room

This week, the cancel culture became a royal pain with the removal of the portrait of the Queen by Oxford students at Magdalen College because her image is threatening to some students and “represents recent colonial history.” The decision follows King’s College formally apologizing for sending out an email after the death of her husband, Prince Philip, which showed a picture of Philip opening university’s Maughan Library with the Queen in 2002. Continue reading ““Patriotism and Colonialism are Not Really Separable”: Oxford To Remove Queen’s Portrait From Common Room”

“A Matter Of Public Concern”: Virginia Judge Orders Reinstatement of Teacher Who Criticized Gender Policy

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We recently discussed the case of Loudoun County teacher Byron “Tanner” Cross who was suspended for speaking against gender policies. In a major victory for the free speech rights of teachers, Twelfth Circuit Judge James E. Plowman ordered LCPS to restore Cross’ position as a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School. In a letter, the court found a basis for a temporary injunction to allow Cross to return until Dec. 31 pending further orders of the court. Continue reading ““A Matter Of Public Concern”: Virginia Judge Orders Reinstatement of Teacher Who Criticized Gender Policy”

“Either You Are Anti-Racist or Racist”: California Professor Put On Administrative Leave After Commenting On The Japanese Internment Camps

Last November, the Santa Barbara City College announced the selection of Joyce Coleman as the new vice president of the School of Extended Learning.  Now Coleman has been put on administrative leave due to a comment made about Japanese internment camps that was denounced as causing “great harm” to the Asian community. The action is particularly notable given Coleman’s own campaign against racism in education.  Coleman, who is African American, has been a prominent voice against racism in society and particularly in education.  She reportedly observed in March in a Zoom event that “There is no such thing as not being racist. Either you are anti-racist or racist.” As will come as no surprise to many on this blog, I believe that Coleman’s statement should be considered protected by free speech and academic freedom principles.  Continue reading ““Either You Are Anti-Racist or Racist”: California Professor Put On Administrative Leave After Commenting On The Japanese Internment Camps”

Yale’s Belated Unease: University Issues “Disclaimer” Regarding Psychiatrist’s Racist and Violent Diatribe

We recently discussed the racist and violent remarks of New York psychiatrist Aruna Khilanani, who was featured by Yale Medical School. Khilanani launched into a tirade against white people and delivered such remarks as how she often thought of “unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way.” After weeks of intense criticism, Yale has added a disclaimer to the video. Continue reading “Yale’s Belated Unease: University Issues “Disclaimer” Regarding Psychiatrist’s Racist and Violent Diatribe”

Spanish Politician Suspended On Twitter After Responding To Transgender Story With “A Man Cannot Get Pregnant”

The expanding censorship on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook continue to be a major issue in the United States. However, the same debate is occurring in Europe despite a long erosion of free speech values. In Spain, a far-right politician was locked out by Twitter after saying “a man cannot get pregnant” because they have “no uterus or eggs.” Francisco José Contreras, deputy to Spain’s Vox Party, made the response to an article about a transgender male who the birth of a baby girl.  The remark was deemed hate speech by Twitter.

Continue reading “Spanish Politician Suspended On Twitter After Responding To Transgender Story With “A Man Cannot Get Pregnant””

An Ideal Rule for the Age of Rage? Critics May Be Making the Best Argument For Keeping The Filibuster

Below is my column in the Hill on the future of the filibuster and why this may be the most credible period for the use of such a compromise-forcing rule. There have always been good-faith arguments against the use of such a rule as inhibiting democratic voting. After all, the rule blocks bare majority voting. However, with a razor-thin margin in both houses, the use of such a rule can help force greater dialogue and compromise in Congress, which most voters indicate that they want in polls. It now appears that Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) will block the federal voting rights legislation even without a filibuster. As a result he was attacked as a “not very bright” aider and abetter and “cowardly, power-hungry white guy” by the left. Sen. Dick Durbin’s press secretary on the Judiciary Committee even curiously declared that democracy should not be “in the hands of a man who lives in a house boat.” The furious response explains why Manchin has been one of just two Democrats willing to demand compromise. The Republicans have roughly the same number willing to push from that side. However, combined these senators are seeking bipartisan agendas in a deeply divided nation. Killing the filibuster will remove the key pressure to seek bipartisan approaches.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “An Ideal Rule for the Age of Rage? Critics May Be Making the Best Argument For Keeping The Filibuster”

The Cotton Controversy One Year Later: The Dark Anniversary of the Surrender of the New York Times

This week is the one-year anniversary of one of the lowest points in the history of modern American journalism. During the week of June 6, 2020, the New York Times forced out an opinion editor and apologized for publishing the editorial of Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) calling for the use of the troops to restore order in Washington after days of rioting around the White House.  While Congress would “call in the troops” six months later to quell the rioting at the Capitol on January 6th, New York Times reporters and columnists called the column historically inaccurate and politically inciteful. Reporters insisted that Cotton was even endangering them by suggesting the use of troops and insisted that the newspaper cannot feature people who advocate political violence. One year later, the New York Times published a column by an academic who has previously declared that there is nothing wrong with murdering conservatives and Republicans.

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Res Ipsa Hits 51,000,000

crowd vj dayLast night, we passed the 51,000,000 mark in views on the blog. Our steady increase in traffic continued this month. Again, we thank 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. 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. I also want to thank our regular readers who email me to flag my signature typos or any violations of the civility or copyright policies on the blog. Continue reading “Res Ipsa Hits 51,000,000”

Federal Court Strikes Down California’s Assault Weapons Ban

For many years, I have been critical of politicians running on promises of sweeping gun control legislation that would violate controlling case law under the Second Amendment. After every mass shooting, politicians pledge that they will get guns out of society when they know that such promises mislead voters on the range of permissible action in the area. In reality, the range of permissible legislative action is quite limited. Moreover,  limits on things like clip capacity are unlikely to make a significant difference in gun violence. Now, a federal judge has struck down California’s three-decade-old ban on assault weapons as a violation of the Second Amendment. The decision could be raised in the ongoing consideration of the nomination of David Chipman, who President Joe Biden wants to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

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“Unloading A Revolver Into The Head Of Any White Person”: Yale Features Violent, Racist Diatribe By Psychiatrist

We previously discussed the ongoing controversies over former Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee, who made highly unprofessional and sensational remarks throughout the Trump presidency. The school eventually got rid of Lee but seems to have found another even more controversial substitute as a speaker in psychiatrist Dr. Aruna Khilanani. The New York-based doctor was invited to Yale School of Medicine in April to deliver an address which turned out to be a violent, racist diatribe, including saying that she often thought of “unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way.” Continue reading ““Unloading A Revolver Into The Head Of Any White Person”: Yale Features Violent, Racist Diatribe By Psychiatrist”

“To Support and Defend The Constitution of the United States”: Micheal Flynn’s Crisis Of Constitutional Faith

Below is my column in USA Today on the disturbing comments of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in favor of a military coup. He later insisted that he was misquoted but the videotape confirms that he was for a military coup before he was against it last week. It is certainly positive to see Flynn deny support for a military coup, but the incident is the latest example of our growing addiction to rage — and the loss of our common constitutional faith.

Here is the column:

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San Francisco Police Department Seeks Help To Solve Crime But Blurs Face Of Suspect

Continue reading “San Francisco Police Department Seeks Help To Solve Crime But Blurs Face Of Suspect”

“Malicious Communications”: Scottish Feminist Criminally Charged For Tweets Opposing Gender Self-Identification

There is a free speech fight brewing in Scotland where a prominent feminist, Marion Millar, 50, has been charged with the crime of “malicious communication” due to tweets criticizing gender self-identification.  We have previously discussed how feminists are being accused of hate speech and discrimination in these debates.  Indeed, Millar is accused of being a “terf” (a trans-exclusionary radical feminist) by critics due to her opposition to allowing males to declare themselves to be females.  She could now face two years in jail. Continue reading ““Malicious Communications”: Scottish Feminist Criminally Charged For Tweets Opposing Gender Self-Identification”