In the wake of today's massacre in Paris, there has already been a lot of preening about journalistic bravery. Much of it has come from people who, it can be shown, don't have the guts to work in Charlie Hebdo's newsroom. Preening about free speech may be reassuring at times like this, but what we need are apologies from those who haven't done enough to defend free speech, as well as a real desire to hold those journalists and politicians who have undermined free speech accountable. As a smart academic on Twitter put it, "Today, as journalists 'bravely' voice support for Charlie Hebdo, ask them for their piece calling on Yale to publish the Muhammad cartoons."
The other day a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that a First Amendment challenge to an Ohio law should be heard in the lower courts. While the decision may have seemed a minor one, it represents an important advance for freedom of speech.
The question that the Court answered in the affirmative, with Justice Clarence Thomas writing, was whether Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life advocacy organization, has standing to challenge an Ohio statute that prohibits false statements made during a political campaign.
Last week, George Will wrote a column about how progressive politics have fomented "rape culture" on college campuses. The column was not well received by some, or even, as a great many of the histrionic responses would indicate, well understood.
Looking for issues to push in this year’s congressional elections, Senate Democrats are proposing a constitutional amendment that would enable government at the federal and state levels alike to heavily regulate campaign contributions and expenditures. The effort is driven by the Democrats’ intense disagreement with Supreme Court decisions on campaign finance. The amendment likely will fail, as it certainly should. As in so many areas of governance these days, liberty—here the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment—is at stake.
Last week in these pages (“Unfree Speech”), editorializing on the shamefully canceled commencement addresses of Condoleezza Rice and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Philip Terzian noted, “Both are identifiably conservative, and therefore, so far as the left is concerned, persona non grata. . . . But as it broadens and proliferates, as this culture of bigotry takes root and wields power, such campus intolerance will become a problem for the left as well.”
Yesterday, THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported on the New York City human rights commission's dubious case against seven business owners in the Hasidic community Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The commission alleged that these Jewish stores were guilty of religious and sexual discrimination for posting dress code signs requiring "No Shorts, No Barefoot, No Sleeveless, No Low Cut Neckline," and the stores were facing $75,000 in potential fines. The commission had already been slapped down last year by an administrative judge for alleging that the posted dress code was an attempt by the Orthodox Jewish business owners to impose their religion on others—after all, no one disputes that similar dress codes in courtrooms and other private establishments are acceptable.
Ted Cruz has sparked a Republican civil war. He has done the bidding of the GOP fringe, in a self-aggrandizing crusade. And while he has enhanced his own position in the conservative fantasyland he seeks to rule, the practical effect of his quixotic campaign to defund Obamacare has been to elevate the president and jeopardize the 2014 elections for his own party.
The Johns Hopkins University office of institutional equity has determined that pro-life students who want to conduct sidewalk counseling outside of a Baltimore abortion clinic are not engaging in harassment under university policies.
The students in Voices for Life have requested recognition from the student government association (SGA) but were turned down because the student government believed that the group would be harassing members of the public, in violation of school policies.
Muslim Americans in Michigan, including a local newspaper editor, will be rallying Friday in Dearborn to protest the YouTube film, "Innocence of Muslims" and advocate for blasphemy laws. Here's an image of a poster advertising the rally:
"I think it's not good enough to say it's free speech, it should be allowed. I think if this does provoke action against American citizens or Americans anywhere else in the world then maybe we do need to think how much freedom is OK."