posts about or somewhat related to ‘first amendment’

Free Speech is Great if I Agree With You
A new study looks at Supreme Court votes in free speech cases from 1953 to 2011 to see if and how the political beliefs of justices affects their rule on constitutional law (PDF).
The verdict, as summarized by The New York Times, is that justices tend to vote in favor of free speech if the case reflects their ideological preferences.
While the study goes back to the fifties, take a look at the current court:

In cases raising First Amendment claims, a new study found, Justice Scalia voted to uphold the free speech rights of conservative speakers at more than triple the rate of liberal ones. In 161 cases from 1986, when he joined the court, to 2011, he voted in favor of conservative speakers 65 percent of the time and liberal ones 21 percent.
He is not alone. “While liberal justices are over all more supportive of free speech claims than conservative justices,” the study found, “the votes of both liberal and conservative justices tend to reflect their preferences toward the ideological groupings of the speaker.”

For those with a social science bent, what’s at play here is “in group bias.”
For idealists among the rest of us we paraphrase former justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who wrote, free speech isn’t to protect that which we agree with but to provide “freedom for the thought that we hate.”
That he wrote this in a dissenting opinion isn’t lost on us.
Related: Supreme Court Allows Prays at Town Meetings.
Image: in Supreme Court rulings, justices are more likely to vote in favor of those whose ideology they share, via The New York Times. Select to embiggen.

Free Speech is Great if I Agree With You

A new study looks at Supreme Court votes in free speech cases from 1953 to 2011 to see if and how the political beliefs of justices affects their rule on constitutional law (PDF).

The verdict, as summarized by The New York Times, is that justices tend to vote in favor of free speech if the case reflects their ideological preferences.

While the study goes back to the fifties, take a look at the current court:

In cases raising First Amendment claims, a new study found, Justice Scalia voted to uphold the free speech rights of conservative speakers at more than triple the rate of liberal ones. In 161 cases from 1986, when he joined the court, to 2011, he voted in favor of conservative speakers 65 percent of the time and liberal ones 21 percent.

He is not alone. “While liberal justices are over all more supportive of free speech claims than conservative justices,” the study found, “the votes of both liberal and conservative justices tend to reflect their preferences toward the ideological groupings of the speaker.”

For those with a social science bent, what’s at play here is “in group bias.”

For idealists among the rest of us we paraphrase former justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who wrote, free speech isn’t to protect that which we agree with but to provide “freedom for the thought that we hate.”

That he wrote this in a dissenting opinion isn’t lost on us.

Related: Supreme Court Allows Prays at Town Meetings.

Image: in Supreme Court rulings, justices are more likely to vote in favor of those whose ideology they share, via The New York Times. Select to embiggen.

Happy 225th Birthday, US Constitution
On this day in 1787 the US Constitution was adopted by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and ratified by eleven states. It went into effect on March 4, 1789.
We’re particularly fond of the First Amendment, submitted to the states as part of the Bill of Rights in September 1789 and adopted in December 1791:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Image: Detail, US Constitution, via Wikipedia.

Happy 225th Birthday, US Constitution

On this day in 1787 the US Constitution was adopted by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and ratified by eleven states. It went into effect on March 4, 1789.

We’re particularly fond of the First Amendment, submitted to the states as part of the Bill of Rights in September 1789 and adopted in December 1791:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Image: Detail, US Constitution, via Wikipedia.

Literally every day, someone is being arrested for doing nothing more than taking a photograph in a public place. It makes no sense to me. Photography is an expression of free speech.

Since 9/11, there’s been an incredible number of incidents where photographers are being interfered with and arrested for doing nothing other than taking pictures or recording video in public places.

It’s not just news photographers who should be concerned with this. I think every citizen should be concerned.

Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel, National Press Photographers Association. New York Times Lens Blog, Criminalizing Photography

Professional and non-profressional photographers need to know their rights.

Here’s a brief primer from us.

If you want to jump straight into the details, the ACLU writes about photographer rights here.

Why the WikiLeaks Grand Jury is So Dangerous: Members of Congress Now Want to Prosecute New York Times Journalists Too →

Via the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

For more than a year now, EFF has encouraged mainstream press publications like the New York Times to aggressively defend WikiLeaks’ First Amendment right to publish classified information in the public interest and denounce the ongoing grand jury investigating WikiLeaks as a threat to press freedom.

Well, we are now seeing why that is so important: at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on July 11th, some members of Congress made it clear they also want New York Times journalists charged under the Espionage Act for their recent stories on President Obama’s ‘Kill List’ and secret US cyberattacks against Iran. During the hearing, House Republicans “pressed legal experts Wednesday on whether it was possible to prosecute reporters for publishing classified information,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

In addition, the Washingtonian’s Shane Harris reported a month ago that a “senior” Justice Department official “made it clear that reporters who talked to sources about classified information were putting themselves at risk of prosecution.”

Leaks big and small have been happening for decades—even centuries—and the most recent are comparable to several others. No journalist has ever been prosecuted under the Espionage Act and it has generally been accepted, even by Congress’s own research arm, that the publication of government secrets by the press is protected speech under the First Amendment. Yet the government is actively investigating WikiLeaks and now threatening others for just that.

The mainstream media may see little in common with Assange’s digital publication methods or his general demeanor, but what he is accused of is virtually indistinguishable from what other reporters and newspapers do every day: poke, prod, and cajole sources within the government to give up classified information that newspapers then publish to inform the public of the government’s activities.

FJP: All so true. Read on.

View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.

producermatthew:

“Your First Amendment rights can be terminated.” Chicago police officers arrest members of the local media outside a hospital Sunday evening. [WMAQ-TV]

FJP: Chicago. Where arresting journalists happens.

(Source: matthewkeys)

Society underestimates the degree of bravery required to be a journalist. In the modern world, the notion of killing the messenger ought to just be a quaint metaphor, not a valid and accepted tactic. Freedom of speech is protected not even just for them to have leave to speak, but because the rest of us need to hear.

Kent, from Keene, N.H.

One of the 16,000 messages sent to the 70 journalists arrested during Occupy protests nationwide.

via Save the News:

For too long we have taken the First Amendment for granted, but increasingly we are taking responsibility for it. In the last few months, more than 40,000 Free Press members sent letters and made phone calls to their mayors, demanding that charges be dropped for the nearly 70 journalists who have been arrested while trying to cover Occupy protests nationwide.

We then asked people to write directly to the arrested journalists themselves, to stand with them and the organizations fighting to protect the First Amendment. Sixteen thousand people responded. This week we are delivering those messages to all those who have been detained.

alesiakaye:

Ben Franklin’s Ghost Teaches You Photographer’s Rights

It’s easier than ever to capture images of public goings-on with all our fancy camera gadgets. If you find yourself in the middle of some contentious event—particularly when the police are involved—you should know your rights. And who better to tell you than the singing cartoon ghost of Benjamin Franklin?

The American Civil Liberties Union teamed up with Joseph Gordon-Levitt to bring you this animation about photographing in public. Clearly targeting those of the Occupy Wall Street ilk, the video might just be the most entertaining explanation of your camera rights out there. 

via: gizmodo.com

(via alesiakaye-deactivated20140614)

First Amendment Tweets →

Via the Knight Foundation:

Today, students ages 14 to 22 who tweet creatively about the First Amendment – and use the hashtag #FreeToTweetare eligible for a $5,000 scholarship.

The tweet-a-thon is a celebration of the 220th birthday of the Bill of Rights. 

Learn more at FreeToTweet.org.

It’s really a good day for journalism teachers and journalism students everywhere. This is just an incredibly, incredibly important reaffirmation of the rights of students. It was an absolute must-win for the independence of student journalism and we’re very thankful the court got it right.

Frank LoMonte, Executive Director, Student Press Law Center, in a statement to the Chicago Tribune, Iowa court grants students broad free press rights

Background: An Iowa school district disciplined the faculty advisor of a student newspaper after it ran an April Fools edition that included stories about a chemistry teacher running a meth lab, cheerleaders taking steroids and a doctored photo of a baby smoking in an article about the school’s tobacco policy.

The school contended that the articles violated state law for student-run newspapers by promoting illegal activity.

Via the Chicago Tribune:

The court ruled that an Iowa law gives students greater free speech rights than those afforded under a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision that granted school administrators more leeway to censor student publications. Eight other states have similar laws or rules that grant students broad press rights, but Wednesday’s decision marked the first time a U.S. court has interpreted any of them…

…While the decision only interprets the law in Iowa, it could affect debates and legal disputes in other states amid a growing movement to give students more rights, [LoMonte] said.

#FreeToTweet Scholarship Competition

1 for All, a non-partisan organization launched in 2010 to raise awareness about the US First Amendment, is holding a contest with 22 $5,000 scholarships for the winners.

Open to 14 to 22-year-olds, the “Free to Tweet” competition asks participants to write, perform or otherwise produce a piece of content that celebrates the First Amendment in its entirety, or any of the specific five freedoms it guarantees.

Via 1ForAll:

Beginning at midnight on Dec. 15, students ages 14 to 22 can tweet their support for the First Amendment with the hash tag #freetotweet, which will enter them in the “Free to Tweet” scholarship competition. Students are encouraged to freely express themselves in their entries, which can be posted on any publicly viewable social media platform, including blogs.

So, here’s the Website, here’s the competition and here’s the FAQ.

If you enter let us know. We’d love to see what you create.

Virginia Police Arrest Photojournalist Documenting Occupy Richmond Crackdown
Ian Graham, who was shooting for RVA Magazine, explains via the magazine’s Web site:

I was there to photograph the police dissemble the occupation, and therefore what many call the trampling of the first and possibly second amendments. The people assembled in a (literal) public square, were paid lip service to by local authorities, and on the last morning of October, the local police were forced into thuggery by an order from on high. Again, I was not at Kanawa Plaza to make a political statement, I wanted to take some pictures… and instead, I got arrested for crossing the fucking street. The official charge is of trespassing. There were people on both sides of the crosswalk where I was arrested, and none of them were arrested. But none of them had cameras, either.

Image: Screenshot from a CBS video of Ian Graham getting arrested.

Virginia Police Arrest Photojournalist Documenting Occupy Richmond Crackdown

Ian Graham, who was shooting for RVA Magazine, explains via the magazine’s Web site:

I was there to photograph the police dissemble the occupation, and therefore what many call the trampling of the first and possibly second amendments. The people assembled in a (literal) public square, were paid lip service to by local authorities, and on the last morning of October, the local police were forced into thuggery by an order from on high. Again, I was not at Kanawa Plaza to make a political statement, I wanted to take some pictures… and instead, I got arrested for crossing the fucking street. The official charge is of trespassing. There were people on both sides of the crosswalk where I was arrested, and none of them were arrested. But none of them had cameras, either.

Image: Screenshot from a CBS video of Ian Graham getting arrested.

What if the price of having a vital, well-financed string of newspapers included rare, but inevitable, sexual predation of minors?

Not a tough call, right? But maybe more complicated than you think for the businesses involved.

David Carr, New York Times. Fighting Over Online Sex Ads.

Carr reports that Village Voice Media’s Backpage.com, a classifieds site, is under fire from a coalition of religious leaders and the country’s 51 attorneys general for its “adult” section. Each contends that the site has been used to traffic children.

Village Voice Media CEO Jim Larkin counters that the company is not responsible for the content that appears on the site, and has spent millions on human and technological resources to screen ads that feature minors.

In 2010 a similar coalition went after Craigslist about its adult section, leading the company to ban such advertising in the United States. 

All Your Weed Are Belong to Us? →

Last week the US Justice Department announced a crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in California, arguing that federal law trumps state law with regard to controlled substances.

This week, a California US attorney is upping the ante, saying that she will prosecute any newspaper, radio or television station that advertises medical marijuana dispensaries. 

Via California Watch:

U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy, whose district includes Imperial and San Diego counties, said marijuana advertising is the next area she’s “going to be moving onto as part of the enforcement efforts in Southern California.” Duffy said she could not speak for the three other U.S. attorneys covering the state but noted their efforts have been coordinated so far.

"I’m not just seeing print advertising," Duffy said in an interview with California Watch and KQED. "I’m actually hearing radio and seeing TV advertising. It’s gone mainstream. Not only is it inappropriate – one has to wonder what kind of message we’re sending to our children – it’s against the law."

Federal law prohibits people from placing ads for illegal drugs, including marijuana, in “any newspaper, magazine, handbill or other publication.” The law could conceivably extend to online ads; the U.S. Department of Justice recently extracted a $500 million settlement from Google for selling illegal ads linking to online Canadian pharmacies.

Duffy said her effort against TV, radio or print outlets would first include “going after these folks with … notification that they are in violation of federal law.” She noted that she also has the power to seize property or prosecute in civil and criminal court.

Marijuana dispensary ads currently appear in a wide range of alternative publications, as well as mainstream ones such as the McClatchy-owned Sacramento Bee.

Nothing like First Amendment meeting Drug War meeting States Rights meeting Federal Authority to start the day.

Social Media Increases Students' First Amendment Appreciation →

A recent Knight Foundation study demonstrates that the more teenagers use social media, the greater their appreciation is for the US First Amendment.

The findings are rather dramatic. Back in the early social media days of 2006, 45% of teenagers surveyed said that the First Amendment “goes too far” in protecting citizens rights. Today, that number’s down to 24%.

According to a press release accompanying the study, “There is a clear, positive relationship between social media use and appreciation of the First Amendment. Fully 91 percent of students who use social networking daily to get news and information agree that “people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions.”

For the educators out there, Knight Foundation will release a teachers’ guide for social media and the First Amendment on December 15 at the Newseum in Washington DC. 

Study (PDF).