Posts Tagged ‘hate speech’

“This can’t possibly be consistent with the First Amendment”

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.

Campus climate roundup

  • 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]

Cato survey: “The State of Free Speech and Tolerance in America”

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.

Free speech roundup

  • 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]

Campus free speech roundup

Free speech roundup

  • “I believe in the First Amendment” and FCC has no authority to revoke licenses over newscast content, says commission chairman Ajit Pai [Jacob Sullum/Reason, earlier]
  • She stoops to censor: British Crown and her Wiltshire police are not amused by your tweets [Andrew Stuttaford, BBC via Helen Pluckrose on Twitter; earlier here, here, here, here, here, here, etc.] Hate speech laws will in practice be used by the politically powerful against dissenters and radicals, part 761 [Guardian on case of woman questioned by detectives over banner denouncing conservative ruling party in Northern Ireland]
  • “Congress members threaten Twitter with regulation if it doesn’t suppress ‘racially divisive communications’ and ‘anti-American sentiments” [Eugene Volokh on bill introduced by Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.)]
  • On the old “shouting fire in a crowded theater” trope, read this whole thread and then you won’t have to catch up later [Popehat on Twitter] Neither “extremist” speech nor “fake news” can be defined and identified closely enough for regulation to work [Cato Daily Podcast with Flemming Rose and Caleb Brown]
  • Encyclopedia of Libertarianism article on freedom of speech is by Alan Charles Kors;
  • “Screen Actors Guild Tells Court There’s Nothing Unconstitutional About Curbing IMDB’s Publication Of Facts” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt; earlier here and here]

Free speech roundup

  • Howard Dean, in hole re: grasping legal status of “hate speech,” keeps digging [Eugene Volokh (“No, Gov. Dean, There Is No ‘Hate Speech’ Exception to the First Amendment”), more (Chaplinsky and “fighting words”), Ronald K.L. Collins (will Dean publicly debate Volokh?]
  • White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus gets asked on a talk show about Trump’s much-criticized hopes for libel law. Did he say much that was new? [Volokh]
  • “Don’t Compel Doctors to Promote State-Favored Programs” [Ilya Shapiro and Thomas Berry on Cato amicus brief supporting Supreme Court certiorari in National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra]
  • “Newspapers and magazines tend to bury stories about libel settlements. Don’t want to give readers ideas.” [@jackshafer on Twitter]
  • Until courts definitively smack down New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s war on wrongful climate advocacy, this interim freedom-of-information win is nice [CEI] Related: Leo Doran, Inside Sources.
  • First “alternative facts,” now this: “Students Have an ‘Alternate Understanding’ of the First Amendment.” [Stephanie Castellano, Newseum]

Free speech loses a round Down Under, 18C unchanged for now

In a defeat for free expression in Australia, the country’s Senate has rejected the Turnbull government’s proposal to soften elements of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which bans so-called hate speech based on race [The Guardian, ABC] Opposition to the change was led by the opposition Labor Party, whose spokesman for multicultural affairs, Tony Burke, said “Any change that results in more permission being given for racial hate speech is bad for Australia.” In 2011, an Australian federal court found commentator Andrew Bolt guilty under the law over remarks in which he is said to have implied that some fair-skinned persons of part-aboriginal descent elect to classify themselves as aboriginal for career advancement.

By coincidence — although not really so, if you see what I mean — a planned lecture tour of Australia by AEI’s Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a vocal critic of female genital mutilation, sharia law, and jihadism, has been called off following calls to venues and insurers threatening “trouble.” Ali, who was born Muslim but came to disagree with the religious tenets of Islam, already travels with armed guards because of the credible threat of assassination [Kay Hymowitz, City Journal]