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Who's 'Weaponizing The First Amendment'—The Left Or The Right?

A recent panel for the progressive American Constitution Society on "The Weaponized First Amendment" illustrated this well. Prof. Martin Redish of Northwestern University School of Law and others discussed the Friedrichs case at length without once mentioning the existence of the actual plaintiffs and their concerns. Rather, Prof. Redish discussed the case in the abstract and proclaimed that just "Because you don't like the idea [of unions] doesn't mean you can you can't be forced to associate with the activity... You may hate the idea of unions... That doesn't mean you can't be forced to do it."

In plain English, the logical extension of this belief is to conclude that people like Rebecca Friedrichs do not have their First Amendment rights violated when the government forces them to do something because they are still free to think that something is wrong. This argument works when applied to taxes, which everyone must pay regardless of whether they agree with them or not, but now it is the favored go-to argument of the left when confronted with First Amendment claims desiring to express the wrong kind of speech.
 link to fedsoc.org

Aug 17 2016
Blog Post

Who's 'Weaponizing the First Amendment'—the Left or the Right?

Topics: Free Speech & Election Law
Sponsors: Corporations, Securities & Antitrust Practice Group

On June 28th, after previously splitting 4-4 on the case, the Supreme Court declined a Petition to Rehear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which involved a First Amendment challenge to laws requiring non-union public employees to pay agency fees to unions. The case is over and for now, agency fees remain in place in 25 states. Like many other First Amendment cases raised in the past few years, this case was - and still is - derided in the media and by its legal opponents as a thinly veiled conservative attempt to "weaponize" the First Amendment as a vehicle to advance conservative policies.

Truth be told, there is a trend to look at First Amendment issues through a partisan lens - but conservatives aren't behind it.

On the contrary, it is many influential liberals in the legal community who are letting politics trump principle when it comes to the First Amendment. For instance, Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times said the claim in Friedrichs was brought by "anti-union forces" and is proof that "judicial conservatives have grown ever bolder in re-purposing existing doctrine to the service of their agenda."

However, there is something important missing from Greenhouse's analysis: the plaintiffs. Rebecca Friedrichs and her eight other co-plaintiffs are real people with real grievances against their union. But to read the mainstream accounts of their case you might not even know they exist. Why? Because Rebecca Friedrichs and her co-plaintiffs want to use the First Amendment to express the wrong opinions.

A recent panel for the progressive American Constitution Society on "The Weaponized First Amendment" illustrated this well. Prof. Martin Redish of Northwestern University School of Law and others discussed the Friedrichs case at length without once mentioning the existence of the actual plaintiffs and their concerns. Rather, Prof. Redish discussed the case in the abstract and proclaimed that just "Because you don't like the idea [of unions] doesn't mean you can you can't be forced to associate with the activity... You may hate the idea of unions... That doesn't mean you can't be forced to do it."

In plain English, the logical extension of this belief is to conclude that people like Rebecca Friedrichs do not have their First Amendment rights violated when the government forces them to do something because they are still free to think that something is wrong. This argument works when applied to taxes, which everyone must pay regardless of whether they agree with them or not, but now it is the favored go-to argument of the left when confronted with First Amendment claims desiring to express the wrong kind of speech.

Taxes, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes explained, "are what we pay for civilized society" - specifically the society that we all belong to. If everyone who disagreed with taxes stopped paying them, the nation would cease to exist. But Rebecca Friedrichs isn't challenging her union's existence. She just doesn't want to fund its political speech. She wants the decision to support a union taken away from the legislature and placed in the hands of individual teachers on the front line. But more often than not, to take the decision about supporting a union away from the legislature is also to take it away from the Democratic Party - and this is where liberals have let politics cloud their First Amendment reasoning.

William F. Buckley was perhaps more prescient than he imagined when he joked, "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views." And indeed, when confronted with the reality that a teacher like Rebecca Friedrichs does not want to support her union and its aggressive political agenda, liberals act as though such dissenters do not even exist. The resulting coercion is supposedly reconciled with liberal principles by pointing out that, while being coerced into action, dissenters like Ms. Friedrichs are still free to think the act is wrong.

In fairness, there are times when the First Amendment allows restrictions on speech, but that is not - and should not be - the default. Liberals today reflexively argue that speech can be limited to thought when the speech at issue is inconvenient for liberal politics. Dissenting students and professors on campus are free to think what they please, but strict speech codes limit the expression of those thoughts. The Little Sisters of the Poor were told they are free to think whatever their religion teaches about contraceptives, but that their expression of belief will be constrained and controlled. Conservative think tanks are free to think climate change is not man-made, but criminalized for expressing those thoughts. When freedom to speak is inconvenient it is reduced to freedom to think. When the exercise of religion is inconvenient it is reduced to freedom of worship.

As a matter of legal history, the progressive interpretation of the First Amendment is simply wrong. The First Amendment does not purport to protect thoughts, which are already beyond the reach of any statute. It does, however, protect the expression of thoughts. The Supreme Court has held time and again that unless someone is attempting to incite imminent lawless action, the expression of ideas is protected by the First Amendment - no matter how unpopular those ideas are and no matter how provocative the means of expression. For instance, in Texas v. Johnson the Supreme Court protected the right of an anti-war protestor to burn an American flag outside the Republican National Convention. Justice and liberal icon William Brennan explained why the First Amendment protects the ability to express thoughts and words in the majority opinion:

The First Amendment literally forbids the abridgment only of 'speech,' but we have long recognized that its protection does not end at the spoken or written word.

The takeaway was clear: The First Amendment protects even the loudest and most obnoxious expressions of even the most controversial ideas.

On other occasions, the Supreme Court has upheld the right of students to express opposition to the Vietnam War by wearing black armbands to class. It further protected the right of African Americans to express their protest of segregation by staging sit-ins. And it protected the right of the Amish to express their religion through the homeschooling of their children.

If the First Amendment isn't limited to mere words, it can't be even further limited to mere thought. Limiting one of our founding values in such a partisan way would be wrong in terms of legal history and wrong in terms of principle. The First Amendment protects everyone's rights - and that includes the right to express a different view - whether liberal, conservative, or something else entirely.

For more on this issue, check out some opposing views from Emily Bazelon  link to www.slate.com


See Also —

Stop Whining And Start Organizing
author: Dave Lindorff
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2018/07/436335.shtml

homepage: homepage: http://fedsoc.org/commentary/blog-posts/who-s-weaponizing-the-first-amendment-the-left-or-the-right


Last sentence of ^ above article, again [URLs+text truncated by IMC] — 02.Jul.2018 12:49

_

For more on this issue, check out some opposing views from

Emily Bazelon
 link to www.slate.com

and

Elias Isquith.
 link to www.salon.com

You People are way behind the curve ... 02.Jul.2018 13:53

Tracy Mapes

The Tyranny you are experiencing is not Right or Left, it is Criminal Socialism wrapped in the glitz an glamour of Television and the American Flag.

News, Print and Broadcast mediums have been usurped by Felons, Prostitutes, Law-Enforcement and Politicians since WWII. This is how they control the message and you and me.

Attaching Weaponization only makes sense in one regard, Broadcast Television, the U.S. Military, Private Security Contractors and Law-Enforcement are the only ones with the access to high powered EMF Microwave producing products, and the information networking to disable American dissidents or perceived public enemies. They are dis-enfranchising Human Lives, destroying careers, and literally Ray-Gunning People to Death.

So, the next time You have a bitch, Go to the TV Station and Demand Answers, not the State House.

Agreed, Tracy this (in a broader sense) isn't "News" — 02.Jul.2018 14:24

_

we have of course been dealing with 'Weaponization' of the U.S. Constitution on behalf of the American National Security State,

non-stop since the 1947 enactment of the National Security Act ( DoD, CIA, corporate mass media etc.)

in 2018 see also, ACLU — 02.Jul.2018 17:21

Tim Pool

After Charlottesville, Ideological Transformation Of ACLU Away From Free Speech Advocacy
author: Tim Pool

The ACLU Has Backed Away From Defending Free Speech
(12:58)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX8Pd4aJPOY

The American Civil Liberties Union will weigh its interest in protecting the First Amendment against its other commitments to social justice, racial equality, and women's rights, given the possibility that offensive speech might undermine ACLU goals.

"Our defense of speech may have a greater or lesser harmful impact on the equality and justice work to which we are also committed," wrote ACLU staffers in a confidential memo obtained by former board member Wendy Kaminer.

The memo also makes clear that the ACLU has zero interest in defending First Amendment rights in conjunction with Second Amendment rights. If controversial speakers intend to carry weapons, the ACLU "will generally not represent them."

Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, the ACLU has also has more than quadrupled (from a typical $4 million annually) the amount of money raised for their organization, which has concomitantly affected their policy and strategic focus to be more beholden to its specifically ideologically-driven donors.