Tags Posts tagged with "First Amendment"

First Amendment

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"Look Bibi, this is not joke. If I stay off of twitter for more than an hour, my hands shake."

The Knight First Amendment Institute sent a letter to President Donald Trump, demanding him to unblock dissenting Twitter users, as according to them, this violates the First Amendment.

President Trump’s Twitter account, the @realDonaldTrump has supposedly blocked quite a sum of users that had replied to the president’s tweets with rather mocking, disagreeing and criticizing comments, as indicated by a letter sent to the White House, by the free speech group.

“This Twitter account,” the institute wrote, “operates as a ‘designated public forum’ for First Amendment purposes, and accordingly the viewpoint-based blocking of our clients is unconstitutional.

“We ask that you unblock them and any others who have been blocked for similar reasons,” the letter requested.

The institute, a brand of the much larger Knight Foundation is said to be representing two Twitter users: Holly O’Reilly, @AynRandPaulRyan, and Joseph M. Papp, @joepabike, both of whom were blocked by the president’s Twitter account.

“This Twitter account,” the institute wrote, “operates as a ‘designated public forum’ for First Amendment purposes, and accordingly the viewpoint-based blocking of our clients is unconstitutional.”

“We ask that you unblock them and any others who have been blocked for similar reasons,” the letter requested.

The institute’s senior staff attorney, Alex Abdo argued that Twitter is very much similar to a town hall or a public forum. Katie Fallow, a senior fellow at the institute, backed the argument by highlighting a case called Davison v. Loudoun County.

In that particular case, the plaintiff, Brain Davison had argued that by deleting a post from a Facebook page maintained by a county supervisor in Loudoun County, Virginia, violated his First Amendment rights. The court had sided with Davison and ruled that the Loudon County cannot discriminate against or block people based on views.

Laurence Tribe, a Liberal Harvard Law School professor also claimed that Trump’s Twitter account is “a public forum subject to [First] Amendment anti-blocking principles.”

While, the First Amendment only protects the right to speak, not the right to be heard. When you block someone on Twitter, unlike Facebook, it doesn’t prevent anyone from posting anything, but rather means that the president won’t be able to read the posts.

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A new “satire” column is viciously mocking a conservative student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill–after he spoke at a First Amendment panel.
 
The piece, which was written anonymously and appeared on a UNC website dedicated to mocking conservatives, goes after UNC’s College Republican Chairman Frank Pray. The article asks, “Is It Libel to Say These 10 Things About Frank Pray?”
 
The article then goes on to pose questions like, “Would it be libel… to say Frank Pray killed five hookers while interning for the Koch brothers?”
 
“FRANK PRAY CLUBS BABY SEALS <- Is that libel?”
 
“Really though, is it libelous to point out Frank Pray has a 1.5-inch dick?”
 
“Would you… call it libel if we said that Frank Pray’s incredibly homophobic stances on social issues were just compensation for his own repressed sexuality?”
 
Pray, who also edits the right-leaning campus newspaper Carolina Review, has been an advocate for conservative stances on campus.
 
But things really hit fever pitch after he participated in a “Symbols of the South and The First Amendment” panel, where a controversial, hundred-year-old statue on UNC’s campus was discussed.
 
After another student suggested Pray’s opinions on the century-old chunk of stone made students feel “unsafe,” Pray responded that “an opinion of a fellow classmate cannot make you unsafe. It can make you very uncomfortable. Even when there’s an opinion you disagree with, it doesn’t make you unsafe.”
 
Now, it’s clear that liberals are set on making students they disagree with feel both unsafe and uncomfortable on campus.
 
But, unfortunately, scare tactics may not work on Frank Pray. He’s reportedly taking the attack in stride, noting that he understands it’s satire and that, if liberals are willing to go to such lengths to destroy him, he must be doing something right.

 

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kim-davis

Imagine waking up to the news that a Quaker county sheriff is denying concealed carry permits to citizens because of his religious objection to violence; or, a Muslim DMV supervisor in Dearborn, Michigan has ordered his staff to refuse to issue driver’s licenses to women out of a religious objection to women behind the wheel. These are among the realities that await should we make Kim Davis, the embattled County Clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky, an archetype for “religious freedom” in America.

In 1802, Thomas Jefferson replied to a letter from the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut in which he outlined a concept for the First Amendment’s application as it relates to religion. According to Jefferson, the Amendment creates a “wall of separation between Church & State,” to which “the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions.” While Jefferson’s concept of a wall separating the Church and State has been used in a modern context by the Left to justify its radical purge of any and all religious artifacts from the public sector — particularly those of Christianity – Jefferson rather was simply warning about the power of government, compelled by a dominant sect of religion, to corrupt and oppress religious liberty of all worshipers.

As an elected government official and public employee, Davis took an oath to uphold the law, and cannot properly use her power as an elected official to deny marriage licenses to couples found by the Supreme Court of the United States to be entitled to receive those licenses. This is not a question of whether or not we agree with that Supreme Court ruling; it most definitely is a question of whether we are – as Chief Justice John Marshall noted in his seminal, 1803 opinion in Marbury v. Madison – a “nation of laws, not of men.”

To permit a public official to pick and choose the laws they decide to honor based on their personal religious views – regardless of whether we agree with those views — would open the floodgates for any government official, from local police chief or tax assessor, to the President of the United States, to make access to essential government services or basic civil rights contingent not on the Constitution, but subservient to an unwritten code of personal beliefs. One need only look to the Obama Administration to see how such a government would operate, when laws and the Constitution are subject to the personal whims of whoever is wielding the levers of power at any particular time.

This is where the controversy swirling around Davis is doing the most damage. Rather than discussing factors at the heart of the controversy — such as the overreach of the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, or the shortsightedness of the Kentucky legislature in protecting the conscience of those under its purview with special accommodations similar to what has been created in North Carolina — the debate once again has oversimplified a complex and fundamentally important issue into two divisive camps. For many well-intentioned conservatives on the right, the Davis controversy has turned “religious freedom” into the right of Christian government employees to disregard a law they find unconscionable; meanwhile the Left is shouting their tired refrain that a claim of religious freedom is a Trojan horse for discrimination against gays.

Both arguments miss the mark widely, and further endanger an already fragile notion of “religious liberty” in America.

The virulent reaction of the Left to this controversy, and laws such as Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, leaves little doubt about the Left’s “respect” for religious freedom, and highlight the need protect it from further erosion. Yet, as the Davis controversy also illustrates, protecting religious freedom is not as black and white as the media and the political rhetoric make it out to be. It requires a far more thoughtful approach to articulating its fundamental importance in our society than rushing to make every perceived injustice the focal point of such a debate.

Using the wrong examples to make our case for religious freedom only further ingrains the disrespect for religious freedom and the rule of law so desperately needed in the public and the private sectors; and encourages use of the “Wall-of-Separation” phrase as a bludgeon against religion, rather than a protector of it.

It is regrettable that Kim Davis was jailed, and as former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s lawless “gay marriage” protest shows, clearly the Left does not hold itself to the same standards as it does with Davis. However, what is happening to Davis is not about the sincerity of her religious beliefs, or even the morality of gay marriage. Placing her on a pedestal will likely come back to haunt her supporters.

And perhaps those who find a government for which they work so morally repugnant as does Kim Davis, would better serve the public they have sworn to serve, from outside rather than inside.

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