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    1st Amendment Tag

    As detailed extensively in prior posts, Sarah Palin has sued the NY Times for defamation based on an Editorial regarding the 2011 shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. I discussed the suit and the motion to dismiss filed by The Times in a prior post, NY Times defense: Palin Crosshairs Editorial Wasn’t Actually About Sarah Palin. Please read the prior post for background and links to pleadings and motion papers. In an unexpected development, the Authors of NY Times Palin Editorial Ordered To Give Testimony In Court:

    U.S. District Judge James Cacheris in Alexandria, VA, ruled that politicians who block followers on social media violates free speech. From The Wall Street Journal:
    A federal court in Virginia ruled that a local politician violated the free-speech rights of a constituent she banned from her Facebook page, in a case the judge said raises “important questions” about the constitutional restrictions that apply to social media accounts of elected officials.

    We have written several times about lawsuits commenced in Maryland federal court by Brett Kimberlin against numerous conservative bloggers, including our Editor Emeritus Mandy Nagy ("Liberty Chick") based on her writing about Kimberlin when she was at Breitbart. Our most recent update on Mandy's condition, from a little over a year ago, is here. I think about her often, and hope to have another update by the end of the summer.

    One of the fondest dreams of the radical (and not-so radical) left is to undermine the First Amendment and ultimately to control speech.  Democrats have advocated the DOJ's investigation and even prosecution of climate "skeptics," condemned "hate" speech formally in the House, supported the criminalization and ban of "hate" speech, and as we see play out on college campuses across the nation, resorted to violence as a response to speech with which they disagree. This assault on one of our nation's most cherished foundational principles is ongoing and has most recently manifested in a tweet by former governor and former Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean.

    In case you missed it, the liberal media is really upset that the people they have been pissing on for years are pissing back. But it shouldn't be a surprise. There are countless stories of liberal media enemies-of-the-week, innocent citizens who make one errant comment or tweet and are the subject of a swarm of media bees. Remember how just recently the liberal media built up Ken Bone, who asked a question at a presidential town hall, because he said he had been for Trump but was considering Hillary after the event? It was a useful narrative, so Ken Bone became media hero. But when Bone appeared to go back to Trump support and commented that the Trayvon Martin verdict was correct, the media singled him out and took him down as quickly as they built him up, Ken Bone told the truth about Trayvon Martin, and for that media must destroy him.

    I have been following the antics of 17 state attorney generals who formed (AGs United for Clean Power), which intends to promote the progressive climate change agenda by targeting the fossil fuel industry using racketeering statutes. Recently, thirteen Republican members of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee Republicans sent letters to 17 state attorneys general and eight environmental groups requesting documents related to the groups’ coordinated efforts to deprive companies, nonprofit organizations, scientists and scholars of their First Amendment rights and their ability to fund and conduct scientific research free from intimidation and threats of prosecution. Now, a coalition of Republican AGs, headed up by Alabama's top cop, Luther Strange, issued a letter promising retaliation in kind, directed at "AGs for Clean Power. Call this rebuke fighting fire with fire!

    Breitbart author/media personality Milo appeared at DePaul University tonight, and was met with a stage takeover and threats of violence. Breitbart News has the details:
    Milo Yiannopoulos’ event at DePaul University had to be cut short Tuesday night after protesters stormed the stage, blew whistles, grabbed the microphone out of the interviewer’s hand, and threatened to punch Yiannopoulos in the face.
    Our friend Rebel Pundit (aka Jeremy Segal), who is the husband of Legal Insurrection author Anne Sorock, was outside filming protesters.

    Walt Disney and Marvel, a Disney subsidiary, are threatening to boycott Georgia if Governor Nathan Deal signs into law a religious freedom bill that recently passed the Georgia state legislature. The bill, HB 575, had already undergone significant revisions in response to pressure from SJWs.  The bill was initially designed to protect businesses and non-profits whose owners had religious objections to providing services for and participating in gay "marriages"; however, the new version is less accommodating to religious freedom. The Washington Times reports:
    The bill initially would have allowed Georgians to decline service for same-sex weddings if doing so violated their religious beliefs. But, sensing the coming storm, Mr. Deal urged lawmakers to make substantial changes to the legislation before passing it.

    The Mall of America has gone to court seeking an injunction against Black Lives Matter protesters disrupting shopping at the mall on Christmas Eve day. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports on the hearing held in court today:
    With a planned demonstration by Black Lives Matter at the Mall of America less than two days away, a Hennepin County judge on Monday heard arguments over whether the shopping complex has the right to a restraining order against protesters. In its request, the mall named four alleged leaders of Black Lives Matter and asked Judge Karen Janisch to prevent them from encouraging people to demonstrate Wednesday and to take down any social media messages about the event. The mall also wanted Black Lives Matter to post a social-media message canceling the demonstration and to post a copy of the judge’s restraining order, if one is issued.
    I'll admit that I'm not up to speed on how 1st Amendment protections apply on a private property that nonetheless operates as a public space, a replacement for Main Street. So I express no opinion on the legalities.

    International support for blasphemy laws has been growing in recent years with Muslims pushing for them in Europe and Obama seemingly advocating for them at the U. N. In Quebec, a bill has been introduced that will target those who "write against the Islamic religion." Robert Spencer reports, initially quoting from The National Post:
    “Bill 59 assigns new powers to the Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC) to combat hate speech, as well as a variety of other provisions meant to protect against extremism, by censoring speech that promotes ‘fear of the other.’ Ominously, the bill would allow the QHRC to pursue websites that in its estimation describe and denounce Islamism….Jacques Frémont, the commission’s president, explained that he planned to use the requested powers to sue those critical of certain ideas, ‘people who would write against … the Islamic religion … on a website or on a Facebook page.'”

    Dan Joseph of MRCTV has released a new video which is as maddening as it is humorous. Joseph interviews a bunch of people and asks them to list the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment and almost everyone struggles to name them. Here's the best part, he's interviewing people who have just come out of the National Archive Building in Washington, DC which, you know, houses the original Bill of Rights. From the MRCTV blog:
    The First Amendment is the foundation on which our entire nation was built. Without it, America as we know it would cease to exist. So, you would think that Americans would be able to name at least a few of the basic rights guaranteed by the most important section of the Bill of Rights. Well, think again! In our latest video, MRCTV proves that many Americans have an incredibly limited knowledge of the First Amendment - and some people actually don't have any.

    A group called Disarm NYPD plans to celebrate the 4th of July with an July 1 event featuring the burning of American flags. It started as an event to burn the Confederate Flag. But other groups around the country turned such events into burning both the Confederate and American flags, so the Disarm NYPD group changed the name of the event, as announced on a Facebook Event page:
    We changed the name of this event to "Burn the American Flag." We did this for several reasons, all of which are hopefully obvious, and should ring true to everyone with a conscious. The Confederate flag has long been a symbol of white supremacy, slavery, and Jim Crow. However, the Confederacy lost the war the American flag has unceasingly, from the first day it was ever hung, represented the exact same thing.

    It's proof that public pressure works. After weeks under fire, Texas state representative Jason Villalba (R-114) has pulled his controversial "cop watcher" bill. As it was originally filed, the bill would have placed limits on how citizen journalists are allowed to document police activity. However, soon after the bill was referred to committee and reactions from activists escalated, Villalba indicated that he was open to substantially changing the language in the bill to clarify how the average citizen's First Amendment rights would be affected should it become law. Not good enough, said the people of Texas. And so Villalba has pulled the bill. The move is being praised by some law enforcement associations, but others, like the Dallas Police Association, are standing by their reasoning for proposing the bill to begin with.

    Yesterday, we told you about a small Indiana pizza joint that has been forced to close down after its proprietors committed the unpardonable sin of coming forward in support of Indiana's new RFRA law. An irresponsible "news hit" led to a landslide of boycott threats, liberal thinkpieces, and threats against the lives and livelihoods of Memories Pizza's proprietors. I'm going to walk back a word I used just now---what happened here goes beyond a "boycott." Nobody involved in what has been done to Memories Pizza is "taking a stand"---unless, of course, this is what "taking a stand" looks like: memories pizza arson tweet Twitter is full of nutcases, but here's the problem---no one in the local media took a stand against this.

    Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson may have called for changes to his state's recently-passed religious freedom legislation, but he certainly isn't giving activists and the press a free pass to paint Arkansas' RFRA with the wrong brush. "This is a bill that in ordinary times would not be controversial, but these are not ordinary times," he said during a press briefing earlier today. Hutchinson didn't concede to arguments made by progressives and LGBT activists that the bill is a tool businesses can use to facilitate discrimination against gay people, but he did publicly ask the legislature to clarify language in the bill. From the AP:
    "What is important from an Arkansas standpoint is one, we get the right balance and secondly, we make sure that we communicate we're not going to be a state that fails to recognize the diversity of our workplace, our economy and our future," Hutchinson said at a news conference at the state Capitol. Hutchinson initially supported the bill and on Tuesday his office had said he planned to sign it into law.
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