January 15, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - In a case pitting free speech against abortion rights, Supreme Court justices signaled Wednesday they were inclined to strike down a Massachusetts law that sets a 35-foot buffer zone to prevent protesters from approaching clinics that offer the procedure. Opponents called the law a violation of free speech and complained it prohibits "peaceful conversation on a public sidewalk," said Mark Rienzi, the attorney representing antiabortion activist Eleanor McCullen, 77, from Boston.
December 28, 2013
Re "'Duck' and a free society," Opinion, Dec. 24 Like many conservatives chiming in on the "Duck Dynasty" controversy, Jonah Goldberg appears to hold a fundamental misunderstanding of free speech: It is the freedom to say what you want without fear of government persecution, which is different from freedom from criticism. "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson exercised his free-speech rights when he uttered offensive comments about gay men and women. His critics then used their free-speech rights.
December 24, 2013 |
Normally at this time of year, the culture war fight is over a guy with a white beard. That's true again this year. What's different is that Phil Robertson has taken Santa's place, and instead of a war on Christmas, we have a war on "Duck Dynasty. " The patriarch of the popular A&E reality show said some crude things about homosexuals to GQ magazine. A&E was sufficiently offended that it suspended him from a show about his own family. So far, the controversy understandably has been framed as a fight over free speech.
December 22, 2013 |
As you have probably heard, unless you are leading a life away from the Internet, television and people, Phil Robertson -- the 67-year-old "patriarch" in A&E's popular redneck-reality swamp comedy "Duck Dynasty" -- gave an interview to GQ, the fancy men's lifestyle magazine. In that interview, he said some things he himself termed "controversial," according to writer Drew Magary, who visited the Robertsons on their 20,000-acre spread down in Louisiana. At one point, Robertson includes "homosexual offenders" among adulterers, idolaters, male prostitutes, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers and "the greedy" as ineligible to "inherit the kingdom of God. " In a boxed quote separate from Magary's narrative, Robertson conjures a whimsically rosy image of the old South, remembering working alongside African Americans in the cotton fields: "They're singing and happy.
December 20, 2013 |
For those of you who think that insensitive speech is just an issue for reality television and “Duck Dynasty,” consider Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker has quietly signed a bill that will make it harder to force public schools to drop tribal nicknames. The measure, pushed by GOP lawmakers and signed by the Republican governor on Thursday, makes it more difficult to get a state review on whether a school or team nickname is offensive to some groups. The measure also eliminates pending state orders to drop racially or ethnically based mascots.
December 5, 2013 |
Veteran peace activist Dennis Apel says he was exercising his 1st Amendment rights when he was arrested after marking the start of the 2003 Iraq war by throwing some of his blood at a Vandenberg Air Force Base sign north of Santa Barbara. But after a second trespassing arrest at Vandenberg four years later, the military banned Apel from protesting in the area, including in a space across from the base's main gate along Highway 1, which had been specifically set aside for peaceful public protests.