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First Amendment

Can Students Wear American Flag Clothing to School?

Clay Calvert | Posted 03.31.2015 | Education
Clay Calvert

School officials banned the wearing of the American-flag clothing on only one day of the school year. What day was that? Cinco de Mayo -- a day to celebrate Mexican heritage. School officials did not ban American-flag clothing on any other school day -- just one.

Christian Paranoia Makes for Awful Legislation

Dale Hansen | Posted 03.30.2015 | Politics
Dale Hansen

Christians across the country are paranoid. In their minds, there is an unmitigated war on Christianity, where Christians are becoming the most ostrac...

Talking on Eggshells in College

Greg Lukianoff | Posted 03.27.2015 | College
Greg Lukianoff

Speech policing advocates forget that there is incredible value in knowing what people actually think, unfiltered. Believing you can conquer racism, bias and bigotry by rooting out microaggressions and enforcing self-censorship and uptightness is like taking Xanax for syphilis.

Man Jailed for Swearing During 911 Call: The Sad Saga of Boyd Green and a Senseless Arrest

Clay Calvert | Posted 03.24.2015 | Crime
Clay Calvert

Although Green v. Chitwood seems at first glance trivial, it is both the backstory and the vague terms used in statute that make Green's arrest so outrageous and egregious.

Texas License Plates and the Confederate Flag

Geoffrey R. Stone | Posted 03.23.2015 | Politics
Geoffrey R. Stone

It seems clear that Texas cannot constitutionally forbid the display of the Confederate flag on a license plate because others might find it "offensive or disagreeable." But it is not so simple. Is the government discriminating among private speakers, or is it expressing only the messages it wishes to convey?

Twitter: The Constitution Project's 2015 Constitutional Champion

Ginny Sloan | Posted 03.31.2015 | Politics
Ginny Sloan

The details about the scale of NSA's surveillance activities made many people, both at home and abroad, question the security of their data, as well as the role of their service providers in giving the NSA access to it. But now Twitter is doing something about it.

Racist Rants and the University of Oklahoma: Getting It Wrong

Geoffrey R. Stone | Posted 03.11.2015 | Politics
Geoffrey R. Stone

Now, I know it may seem crazy to say that a state university cannot constitutionally expel students for such outrageous speech. But the very point of the First Amendment is that the government cannot censor people (including students) merely because it finds their speech abhorrent.

Peaple Power

Marcia Liss | Posted 03.09.2015 | Comedy
Marcia Liss

...

Are Newspapers on the Ropes?

William B. Bradshaw | Posted 03.07.2015 | Business
William B. Bradshaw

There is no question about it: most newspapers in the United States are on the ropes. They are not yet down and out, but they are close to that knockout blow. I know this, as most of you readers do, from personal experience.

Free Speech on Campus: The 10 Worst Offenders of 2014

Greg Lukianoff | Posted 03.02.2015 | College
Greg Lukianoff

Schools all across the country not only fall short on promises of free expression and academic freedom but openly suppress constitutionally protected speech on campus by using tools such as speech codes to shut down forms of expression that might be uncomfortable, disagreeable, or even offensive to some members of the campus community.

I'm With Stupid: How to Make Sure You're Buying a Christian Potato

Todd Hartley | Posted 02.27.2015 | Comedy
Todd Hartley

I'm not sure what "Christian principles" the committee is referring to, but when it comes to the collected works and thoughts of Madison and Jefferson, I move that we go with the Bill of Rights over some nebulous, assumed principles. But that's just me.

Founding Fathers: We Are Not a Christian Nation

Jeff Schweitzer | Posted 02.26.2015 | Politics
Jeff Schweitzer

As we witness yet again the brutal and bloody consequences of religious intolerance in the form of ISIS, we have a majority of Republicans pining for a Christian America. Proponents of converting the United States into a theocracy do not see the terrible parallel between religious excess in the Middle East and here at home.

Janie Velencia

An Officially Christian America Sounds Just Right To Most Republicans

HuffingtonPost.com | Janie Velencia | Posted 02.25.2015 | Politics

Republican Party candidates like to say that America is a Christian nation. It turns out most Republicans are willing to make that official. Fifty-...

'Prison Legal News' vs. the State of Florida: A Battle Against Censorship

Christopher Zoukis | Posted 03.03.2015 | Crime
Christopher Zoukis

The State of Florida wishes to suppress a long-respected voice of dissent and social justice by targeting arguably "dangerous" content in the advertisements. By prohibiting the advertisement of lawful endeavors everyone should take pause and ask: what are they afraid of?

RIP The Joe DiMaggio of the First Amendment

Mike Edison | Posted 02.25.2015 | Media
Mike Edison

Herald Price Fahringer had always loomed large in my imagination. What self-respecting journalist wouldn't want to find themselves as the defendant in a First Amendment case?

City Forced To Allow 'Reason Station' Alongside 'Prayer Station'

The Huffington Post | Kate Abbey-Lambertz | Posted 02.24.2015 | Politics

A Detroit suburb that allows a “prayer station” set up in city hall must also permit an atheist to set up a “reason station,” a federal judge ...

Should News Outlets, Social Media and Internet Services Curb Public Access to ISIS?

Peter Scheer | Posted 02.24.2015 | Media
Peter Scheer

news organizations, social media and internet services have editorial discretion -- protected by the first amendment--to deny ISIS access to their audiences. To the extent they do so, more power to them. They are acting responsibly, in my opinion.

Activism With or Without God

Reverend Billy | Posted 02.23.2015 | Politics
Reverend Billy

More of our activism needs a spiritual basis, and that doesn't only mean the absence of mindless confrontation. Spirit is laughter, shape-shifting and music.

First Amendment Under Fire: Pennsylvania's 'Silencing Act' Puts Society at Risk

Christopher Zoukis | Posted 02.19.2015 | Politics
Christopher Zoukis

This past October, a startling bill was fast-tracked through the Pennsylvania legislature that should make every one of us take pause and think about what those documents really mean.

Stanley Fish on Academic Freedom

David Moshman | Posted 02.17.2015 | College
David Moshman

Interested in academic freedom? If so, you should read Stanley Fish's new book, Versions of Academic Freedom: From Professionalism to Revolution. I hasten to add that you should disagree with much of it, and you probably will.

Charlie Hebdo and the First Amendment

Geoffrey R. Stone | Posted 02.17.2015 | Politics
Geoffrey R. Stone

After the murderous attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, one might wonder whether a newspaper that published the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in the United States would be protected by the First Amendment. The government might make two primary arguments in support of a law prohibiting the publication of the cartoons.

Trademark Your Memorable Phrases

Brad Reid | Posted 02.15.2015 | Business
Brad Reid

Memorable phrases that capture the popular imagination are commercially worth millions of dollars. Consequently, it is no surprise that Taylor Swift has trademarked a variety of phrases from her songs.

Challenges to My Self-Esteem

Domenick Scudera | Posted 02.09.2015 | Gay Voices
Domenick Scudera

I have a strong, healthy dose of self-esteem. This is fortunate because recently there has been a steady stream of damaging messages coming from the media, politicians and religious leaders. There are plenty of voices proclaiming that there is something wrong with me.

Dana Liebelson

U.S. Government Takes Unprecedented Action Against Revenge Porn

HuffingtonPost.com | Dana Liebelson | Posted 01.29.2015 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Trade Commission made an unprecedented move against "revenge porn" on Thursday, reaching a settlement with the alleged opera...

The Upside of Your Dark Side, Free Speech, and 'Problems of Comfort'

Greg Lukianoff | Posted 03.30.2015 | College
Greg Lukianoff

I believe that we can expect threats to freedom of speech to get worse as human beings are likely to expect not just greater physical comfort as time goes by, but greater "intellectual comfort" as well.