Archive for the ‘1st amendment’ Category

Thomas is right, Establishment Clause Jurisprudence ‘in Shambles’

Justice Thomas pointed out what many should already know from his lone dissent from the court’s denial of certiorari in Utah Highway Patrol Association v. American Atheists Inc. on Monday: Federal Establishment clause jurisprudence is “in Shambles.” The court’s refusal to hear the case brings to an end a lawsuit that has been contested since […]

There is No Constitutional Right to Occupy

“[A]ssembly to be peaceable, the usual remedies of the law are retained, if the right is illegally exercised.” —William Rawle I wish to briefly address the assertion the folks occupying Wall Street – and elsewhere – are merely exercising their First Amendment right to peaceful assembly. The constitutional provision to peaceably assemble extends no further […]

Wrong Questions in Hosanna-Tabor Religious Freedom Case

Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School (“Hosanna-Tabor”) is a religious school in Redford, Michigan who terminated employment of a teacher and commissioned minister named Cheryl Perich after a disability-related leave of absence for narcolepsy. Perich taught a full secular curriculum along with religion and lead students in prayer. Perich filed a complaint with the Equal […]

Misunderstanding Jefferson’s ‘wall of separation’ metaphor

Not intending to revisit what has already been written following the Coons/O’Donnell Senate debate over church and state under the First Amendment, I do though want correct an erroneous assertion that Jefferson’s use of the phrase “wall of separation between Church & State” is somehow improper or erroneous. The fact is there is nothing wrong […]

What the Court & Everyone Misses in Citizens United v. FEC

The Supreme Court recently held in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission that corporations had a First Amendment right to spend money to support or oppose political candidates. The Court struck down federal laws regulating independent political advertising by for-profit and non-profit corporations before an election even as they reaffirmed rules about disclosure and disclosures […]

Original Meaning: Freedom of Speech or of the Press

Summary: Freedom of Speech or the Press is the freedom from government officials making speech or writings they find too critical of their affairs a seditious crime. Under common law, people had to be careful of any criticism they wrote or said about government policy, laws or official conduct out of fear of being charged […]

SCOTUS Only ‘Assumes’ You Have 1st Amendment Rights via 14th Amendment

I was reading today about a federal case (Morse v. Frederick, aka “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case) winding its way through the courts, and was thinking how bizarre current federal jurisprudence has really become. On March 19, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments over the limits of freedom of speech in public […]

Supreme Ignorance: ACLU’s Empty Establishment Claims

The American Civil Liberties Union again is suing under the twisted rational the Fourteenth Amendment somehow disables local government from displaying anything remotely religious in nature. The latest victim targeted by the ACLU is the rural Florida county of Dixie, which has a Ten Commandments monument at the steps of its courthouse. The lawsuit says […]