- “30 Years After the Rushdie Fatwa, Europe Is Moving Backward” on speech that gives religious offense [Jacob Mchangama and Sarah McLaughlin, Foreign Policy] Whether you call it blasphemy or hate speech, chilling effects on expression are the same [Helen Dale, Unherd]
- British writer faces police inquiry after “deadnaming” transgender activist online [Katie Herzog, The Stranger; Sophie Law, Daily Mail on Graham Linehan case] Social media “like” contributes to another police call [James Kirkup, The Spectator]
- How American law came to recognize hate speech as part of the zone of protected free speech: a look at the history [Flemming Rose, Cato Institute]
- Labour MP introduces bill to ban private Facebook groups [Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner]
- Far-right French politico Marine Le Pen, prosecuted over speech on Twitter, “ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination as part of the investigation.” Say what? [Jacob Sullum]
- The U.K.’s new anti-terrorism efforts should be terrifying to anyone who cares about free speech [J.D. Tuccille, Reason]
- Getting together to do a national We’re-Not-The-Enemy-Of-The-People Day might not play to the strengths of an independent press [Jack Shafer; New York Post on why it did join, and L.A. Times on why it didn’t] Kevin Williamson wishes that many in the institutional press were more than just fair-weather friends of free speech values [NRO]
- ““Racial Ridicule” Is a Crime in Connecticut — and People Are Being Prosecuted” [Eugene Volokh]
- “Can Fake News Be Regulated?” Federalist Society policy brief video with Thomas Arnold;
- Once you get past the headline, Adam Liptak’s NYT account of First Amendment differences at the Supreme Court is well done [Roger Pilon]
- Is Internet freedom failing? [Knight Institute symposium with Jack Goldsmith et al.] How does moderation actually work at leading social media firms? [Kate Klonick, Harvard Law Review]
- The ABA’s Model Rule 8.4(g), in the name of combating harassment and discrimination, encourages states to regulate many expressions of speech and association by lawyers that have incidental professional implications. The Supreme Court in its recent NIFLA v. Becerra decision cast a shadow on that [Josh Blackman, Scott Greenfield]
- Senators have big plans for government regulation of social media but U.S. Constitution keeps getting in way [John Samples, Cato; David McCabe, Axios, earlier] “Censorship breeds censorship envy, and that’s true of private suppression by massively influential platforms such as Facebook as well as of governmental censorship.” [John Samples, Eugene Volokh]
- Is it lawful for a state lawmaker to block someone on Twitter who’s publicly discussed ways of murdering him? [Dorit Reiss, PrawfsBlawg, earlier]
- European Parliament delays adopting online copyright directive that critics said would result in Internet content filtering and royalties for linking [Thomas McMullan/Alphr, BBC earlier]
- Is the ACLU OK with French catcalling law? [Robby Soave] With using government to keep the wrong sorts of people from owning radio outlets? [Scott Shackford, related]
- Federalist Society telecast on Ninth Circuit decision on Idaho “ag-gag” law with UCLA lawprof Eugene Volokh and Andrew Varcoe of Boyden Gray & Associates;
- “Arrests for offensive Facebook and Twitter posts soar in London” [Sadie Levy Gale, Independent] Downhill in Denmark: “How the Right Abandoned Free Speech in Europe” [Cato podcast and Reason interview with Jacob Mchangama]
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) proposes to regulate social media bots, or to put it differently, to regulate a form of speech carried on through automated mechanisms [John Samples, Cato]
- “The State of New Jersey Wants to Subsidize News. Uh-oh.” [Jack Shafer, Politico] Canada, farther down this road, moves toward outright government subsidies to newspapers [Mylene Crete and Jordan Press, Canadian Press]
- “Court tosses disbarred lawyer’s suit over newspaper article on his ethics case with a ‘crime’ header” [ABA Journal]
- Compelled speech in NIFLA v. Becerra: “A First Amendment Win in a Case That Was NOT about Abortion” [Ilya Shapiro and Meggan DeWitt, Eugene Volokh, Erica Goldberg] More: DeWitt Cato podcast;
- New Nadine Strossen book on hate speech challenges some conventionally accepted ideas about its effects [John Samples, earlier] Man in Pennsylvania charged with felony ethnic intimidation after calling officers who were arresting him Nazis, skinheads, and Gestapo [Joshua Vaughn, The Appeal]
- Will lawyers face punishment for using wrong-gender pronouns in social or bar-association activities? Lambda Legal suggests the answer is yes [Eugene Volokh]
- Video now online of Nadine Strossen at Cato speaking on her new book Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship. And John Samples kicks off series of blog posts about book [first, second]
- Press vs. President: “the more tightly regulated media landscape of the early 1970s” played directly into Nixon’s hands [Matt Welch]
- Romance writer’s bid to stop authors from using word ‘cocky’ fails in court [Alison Flood/Guardian, earlier]
- “New law forces Google to suspend political ads in Washington state” [Timothy Lee, ArsTechnica]
- “The Minnesota criminal harassment statute is equally dubious, applying when a person sends two or more tweets ‘with the intent to abuse, disturb, or cause distress.’ Really…?” [Venkat Balasubramani, Technology and Marketing Law Blog] “Crime in D.C. to Negligently Cause ‘Significant Mental Suffering’ by Saying Two Non-Political Things About Someone” [Eugene Volokh] “NY State Legislators Unanimously Pass A Cyberbullying Bill That Can’t Be Bothered To Define Cyberbullying” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt; Eric Turkowitz]
- Blame failings of copyright law, not scholarly neglect, for long inattention to Zora Neale Hurston manuscript [Ted Genoways, Washington Post/Valley News]
Today (Monday) at Cato, NYLS constitutional law professor and ACLU past president Nadine Strossen will speak on her new book “Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship” with Prof. Louis Seidman of Georgetown Law and John Samples commenting and Roger Pilon moderating. You can watch here.
California is prosecuting a man under state electronic-harassment law for posting five insults on an Islamic Center’s Facebook page [Eugene Volokh] A court filing by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra denies that the insults are protected speech or that the law is unconstitutional as applied. UCLA First Amendment expert Eugene Volokh writes, of California’s logic defending the prosecution: “This can’t possibly be consistent with the First Amendment.”
Related: New Jersey Supreme Court adopts narrow reading of criminal harassment statute so as to avoid covering repeated offensive speech which, though intended to annoy, does not invade privacy or put target in reasonable fear as to safety or security.
Pressure from EU to keep extreme speech off social media risks “creeping censorship” affecting users in the U.S. How can and should companies push back? [Danielle Citron, Cato Policy Analysis]
- Pauli Murray, civil rights activist after whom Yale recently named a residential college, stood up for her worst foes’ right to speak [Peter Salovey, New York Times] Viewing everything through lens of identity and power disables the intellect [Jonathan Haidt]
- Penn Jillette and free speech scholars ask Brandeis president to reconsider decision to ditch play about comedian Lenny Bruce [FIRE]
- Isolated outrages, or straws in the wind? Lindsay Shepherd and Wilfred Laurier University [Tristin Hopper, National Post] Student’s remark about religion at University of Texas, San Antonio [Robby Soave, Reason] Roll your eyes at a faculty meeting and you could be in so much Title IX trouble [Nicholas Wolfinger, Quillette]
- “Bias Response Teams Thwarted in Their Goal of a Sensitive Campus by the First Amendment” [Liz Wolfe, Reason, earlier]
- 49% of college students say supporting someone else’s right to say racist things “as bad as holding racist views yourself” [Emily Ekins on Cato free speech survey] Related: John Samples; Eugene Volokh;
- Testimony by Prof. Nadine Strossen at Senate hearing on free speech, hate speech, and college campuses [Collins/Concurring Opinions]
I’m a bit late getting to this major survey from my colleague Emily Ekins and associates. Some highlights good and bad:
* By 71% to 28%, Americans lean toward the view that political correctness silences discussions society ought to have, rather than the view that it is a constructive way to reduce the giving of offense;
* Liberals are much more likely than conservatives to say that they feel comfortable saying things they believe without fear that others will take offense.
* By a 4-to-1 margin Americans consider hate speech morally unacceptable, while by (only) a 3-to-2 margin they do not want the government to ban it.
* “47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques,” notwithstanding the First Amendment’s protection of free exercise of religion.
* “51% of Democrats support a law that requires Americans use transgender people’s preferred gender pronouns,” also notwithstanding the First Amendment.
* Upwards of 80% of liberals deem it “hateful or offensive” to state that illegal immigrants should be deported or that women should not serve in military combat, with 36% and 47% of conservatives agreeing respectively. “39% of conservatives believe it’s hate speech to say the police are racist, only 17% of liberals agree.”
And much more: on college speaker invitations, microaggressions, whether executives should be fired over controversial views, media bias, forced cake-baking, and the ease of being friends across partisan lines, among many other topics.