“Troubling signals on free speech”

In “a little-publicized October 2 resolution … [the U.S.] State Department joined Islamic nations in adopting language all-too-friendly to censoring speech that some religions and races find offensive, notes Stuart Taylor, Jr.’s new column for National Journal. Legal academics, including some who have gone on to join the Obama Administration, have sketched out doctrines indicating “how the resolution could be construed to require prosecuting some offensive speech and how it could be used in the long run to change the meaning of our Constitution and laws… In my view, Obama should not take even a small step down the road toward bartering away our free-speech rights for the sake of international consensus.” More: Reason, Jonathan Turley/USA Today. And (h/t comments): A Monday statement by Secretary of State Clinton is being widely greeted as reaffirming a free-speech position, but Taylor is not convinced that it undoes the damage. Nor, it seems, are Eugene Volokh and Ilya Somin.

P.S. What Rick Brookhiser told the Yale Political Union about that cartoonless Mohammed-cartoons book from Yale University Press [NRO] And here’s word that in the U.S., liberal church denominations will ask the FCC to probe conservative broadcasters [Jeffrey Lord/American Spectator]


  • I wonder if we have a strong enough judiciary to oppose this? I think more than a few politicians would see the Obama administration’s position to be very appealing and reasonable. Yet, such positions are designed to make it easy to enforce and require little actual thought or discernment on the part of the regulator.

  • does this suprise anyone? after he atttempted to censor Fox news?

  • With their attacks on Fox News, the Obama administration appears to be against freedom of the press. With their support for this legislation, they now appear to be against free speech. Maybe they should just repeal that pesky First Amendment and be done with it. It is so much easier to rule when the opposition is silenced.

  • For what it’s worth, the Administration–at least through the State Department–rolled back on that. <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/26/AR2009102603218.htmlThe Washington Post reports.

    Clinton did note that anti-blasphemy laws would restrict free speech.

  • Sorry about the blown link:

    Try this.

  • I don’t put much importance on how Hillary Clinton interprets the meaning of this. Firstly, because statements of intent by politicians doesn’t control how the courts interpret and enforce laws and treaties, and secondly because Mrs. Clinton is not the president and seems to be a relatively powerless figure in the Obama administration. Normally the Secretary of State is one of the most powerful members of the cabinet, but Obama seems to be using Clinton mainly as window dressing, so I don’t really regard what she says as reflecting what the Obama administration thinks or plans on doing.