Mississippi: Public Classroom Ten Commandments Bill Introduced

Ten Commandments Monument Oklahoma

Legislation introduced in the Mississippi state House this week would require educators across the state to recite the Ten Commandments each day during the first hour of class. Introduced by Mississippi Rep. Credell Calhoun (D), House Bill 1100 would “require the teachers in that school district to have the Ten Commandments recited aloud at the beginning of the first hour of class […]

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Trump’s Religious Freedom Day Proclamation is Problematic

Trump Religious Freedom Day proclamation

In his Religious Freedom Day proclamation, Donald Trump made a consequential and problematic statement placing religious liberty above rule of law. Were this a ceremonial gesture meant as a statement of goodwill and not one in a line of related actions and statements, it wouldn’t be cause for concern. Given this administration’s statements, actions and directives, however, today’s proclamation offers yet […]

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Shutting Down a Book: Trump’s War on the First Amendment

Trump raises First Amendment issues by threatening legal action against the publisher of Fire and Fury

After claiming long-time associate and former chief strategist Stephen Bannon had “lost his mind” upon learning how he was quoted in Michael Wolff’s upcoming book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Donald Trump turned his gaze to the book’s publisher in an attempt to use his position of authority to stop the publication of the book. ABC News […]

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Compelling Honesty: The Supreme Court Crisis Pregnancy Centers Case

crisis pregnancy centers

It’s interesting how many people indignantly wrap themselves in the Free Speech provisions of the First Amendment in order to justify behaviors that–properly understood–aren’t really speech at all. In all fairness, it can be difficult to distinguish between actions that are intended to communicate a message (protected) from actions that are committed through speech (not protected). If you describe that […]

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Oregon Bakery Sweet Cakes Loses $135,000 Fine Appeal

Sweet Cakes Appeal

After closing their business last year, the owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa appealed a decision requiring them to pay a $135,000 fine for releasing the personal information of a lesbian couple who filed a discrimination complaint against them with the state of Oregon. Owners Melissa and Aaron Klein just lost their latest appeal before the Oregon Court of Appeals. Background […]

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Idiocy In Indiana: Milo Smith’s Bill Targeting the Colts

As they take a knee, the Colts are engaging in constitutionally protected free expression

Sorry for cluttering up your inboxes, but blame the headline and story in the Indianapolis Star.  Clearly, It isn’t only Washington that is suffering from a surfeit of buffoons. I ‘m old enough to remember when Harrison Ullmann, then editor of Indianapolis’ alternative newspaper Nuvo, routinely called the Indiana General Assembly “the World’s Worst Legislature.” And that was before Milo Smith was elected to embarrass Bartholomew County. […]

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Confirmation: It Isn’t About Religion

Persecution and Privilege

The Indianapolis Star, in one of its increasingly rare forays into what used to be called “news,”reported on a very interesting study investigating popular opinion about the pending Supreme Court case brought by a baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple. As most of you are aware, the baker–routinely described as very pious–has argued that forcing him […]

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Voucher Programs and the Constitutional Ethic

school voucher

[Co-written with Cullen Merritt] ABSTRACT America’s public schools have not been exempt from the enthusiasm for “privatization” and contracting-out that has characterized government innovations over at least the past quarter century. A number of the issues raised by school voucher programs and to a lesser extent charter schools mirror the management and efficacy questions raised by privatization generally; however, because public […]

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Weaponizing Speech

Weaponizing Free Speech - social media has become a censorship weapon

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a provocative article by Tim Wu, a media historian who teaches at Columbia University, titled “Did Twitter Kill the First Amendment?” He began with the question: You need not be a media historian to notice that we live in a golden age of press harassment, domestic propaganda and coercive efforts to control political debate. […]

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