- 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.
- Florida “health coach” charges for nutrition advice, isn’t a licensed dietitian. Does she have a First Amendment defense? [Scott Shackford]
- Results of Russian social-media manipulation episode could include foot in door for regulation of Internet speech [John Samples, Cato]
- Some in Australia having trouble distinguishing “impersonation” of government from anti-government satire [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
- Before deep-pocket publications can report on sexual misconduct by persons in high places, gauntlet of legal review needs to be run with special attention to on-the-record sources [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
- Ohio lawmaker introduces anti-SLAPP bill that pioneers novel protections for anonymous speakers [John Samples, Cato]
- “Nadine Strossen’s Next Book — ‘Hate: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship'” [Ronald K.L. Collins] “Sanford Ungar Heads New Free Speech Project at Georgetown University” [same]
- Many elements of First Amendment doctrine are applicable not at all to private universities and only in substantially modified form to public campuses. True enough, but few go as far in arguing this as does Yale’s Robert Post [Vox, Erwin Chemerinsky response, Will Creeley (FIRE) response, Post response to Creeley]
- Rundown of shout-downs: state representative kept from speaking at Texas Southern’s Thurgood Marshall Law School [Caron/TaxProf, Greenfield] University of Oregon president’s annual state-of-university speech [Oregonian] Pro-Trump hecklers shout down California Attorney General, assembly majority leader at Whittier College [Adam Steinbaugh, FIRE] College Republicans disrupted at UC Santa Cruz, not for inviting someone controversial, just for being them [Celine Ryan/Campus Reform, John Sexton/HotAir]
- Threats of violence against journal editors are one way to get a retraction [Sara Hebel/Chronicle of Higher Education, Jerry Coyne, Oliver Traldi, Quillette (Bruce Gilley, “Case for Colonialism” paper)]
- “New policy authorizes University of Wisconsin to expel students for repeatedly disrupting speakers” [ABA Journal] Will the new rules themselves improperly restrict speech? [Howard Wasserman, Joe Cohn/FIRE first and second posts]
- Debate over proposal by Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) to prohibit “hate speech” on campus [Andrew King vs. Chris Seaton, Simple Justice]
- Federal court agrees that Title IX does not oblige university to ban (now-defunct) student gossip anonymous messaging app Yik Yak [Adam Steinbaugh, FIRE]