The IRS’s intrusive tactics thus have a chilling effect on people who wish to exercise their First Amendment right of free association without attracting public attention—or, more precisely, the attention of vicious ideological antagonists. Even calling attention to those tactics can compound the problem, as illustrated by [Friends of Abe]’s need to reassure its members in the wake of the Times story. The gradual accretion of power by a vast administrative state, combined with an administration intolerant of dissent, has produced a clear and present danger to basic American freedoms.— James Taranto
A law granting special privileges to the press effectively gives the government the power to license the press by deciding who qualifies.— James Taranto
Durbin acknowledges this problem but doesn’t really grapple with its implications. For instance, he doesn’t spell out whether the protection would belong to individual journalists or only to news organizations. If the latter, then he is in a funny position for a leftist Democrat: He is claiming that a constitutional right belongs only to corporations, not individuals.
Further, a government that grants privileges also has the power to take them away. A shield law would make those designated as “legitimate journalists” beholden to powerful politicians—especially when, as today, most journalists are ideologically sympathetic to the party in power. The Durbin shield proposal looks less like real protection than a protection racket.
By contrast, the scholars who favor gay marriage found it relatively easy to foresee looming legal pressures on faith-based organizations opposed to gay marriage, perhaps because many of these scholars live in social and intellectual circles where the shift Kmiec regards as inconceivable has already happened. They have less trouble imagining that people and groups who oppose gay marriage will soon be treated by society and the law the way we treat racists because that’s pretty close to the world in which they live now.— The coming conflict between same-sex marriage and religious liberty
KAL’s cartoon: this week, bubbles.
I like free speech. And I like legal protections for people to say outrageous things in public forums. I think that extends generally extends to schools, even if some student holds up a “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” sign. But then there’s this:
A handful of students were sent home from Florida schools this week after showing up in shirts proclaiming that “Islam is of the Devil,” part of a fiery church campaign to “expose” Islam as a religion of violence.
Well. That happened. Was it too much? I think so. But where is the line? Does it depend on other people’s reactions? And who gets to enforce it?
(Edit: I should probably clarify that you’re intersted in where you think the line should be. Under precedent, this is not at all protected speech.)
The dress code is poorly worded and probably is (or should be) a violation of free-speech protection. Who the heck gets to determine what “disrupts the learning process” or causes other students to be “offended or distracted”? If my arch nemesis’ dad is the CEO of Crest and I wear a Colgate t-shirt just to piss the kid off, and it “distracts” or “offends” him, is that a violation? How about if I wear a Michael Jackson shirt that makes the classroom burst into spontaneous moonwalking? Surely that’s a disruption. Make the dress-code about something other than politically correct, subjective determinations of offensiveness—and you’e covered your bases.
That being said, neither the parents nor the church should have encouraged this behavior; they’re all a bunch of asshats shooting themselves in the feet. But the school should not have singled them out.
Does anyone doubt that if the school ignored it, this would have blown over and the students would have gotten tired of it?