We previously wrote about how the Pennsylvania School Boards Association is speaking out against Attorney General Merrick Garland kowtowing to the unfounded accusations and demands by the National School Boards Association. A resulting Department of Justice (DOJ) memorandum raised the specter of parents exercising their First Amendment rights at school board meetings being treated as domestic terrorists. Now, other stated-based school boards have joined Pennsylvania.
At least 11 state school board organizations are distancing themselves from a National School Boards Association letter asking President Joe Biden to take action against parents protesting progressive school policies. . . .
The letters from the state groups recognize the importance of local boards’ role in educating children, with the Virginia group urging educators and school boards to work together and to listen to parents for the “safety and achievement of all students.”Read more
The Supreme Court reaffirmed strong First Amendment protection against voyeuristic government compulsory disclosure rules last week in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta. While we wrote about this last week, this is an important decision that deserves a second look. The Court ruled that California cannot require non-profit religious, charitable and civic organizations to disclose their donors to the state as a condition of soliciting contributions from Californians. The California requirement was started by then-Attorney General Kamala Harris. The Court’s opinion is a rebuke to the now Vice President.Read more
Democrat commissioners on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) are showing us just how dangerous it would be if Democrat-backed election bills become law. As Kimberley Strassel explained in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Democrat Commissioner Ellen Weintraub is a case study for selective enforcement of FEC regulations.Read more
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Brandi Levy who sued her high school district after being punished for posting a profanity-filled rant on Snapchat upon not making the varsity cheerleading team. The New York Times reported:
The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that a Pennsylvania school district had violated the First Amendment by punishing a student for a vulgar social media message sent while she was not on school grounds.Read more
House Campus Free Speech Caucus Created as Biden DOJ Appears to Abandon Protections for Religious Institutions
College campuses are often seen as a battleground for the First Amendment. On Monday, Reps. Jim Jordan and Kat Cammack announced the creation of a campus free speech caucus with the intention of raising awareness among their colleagues about the challenges that many students, professors, and administrators alike face when exercising their First Amendment rights on campus. Jordan and Cammack will partner with Young America's Foundation on the initiative:
“The First Amendment is under attack on campuses across the country,” said Congressman Jim Jordan. “Every day, students and faculty are forced to self-censor out of fear that they will be ‘canceled’ by the mob. The Campus Free Speech Caucus, led by Rep. Kat Cammack and inspired by YAF, will work with Congress to push back on ‘woke’ cancel culture and defend freedom for Americans everywhere.”Read more
A report by the New York Times has confirmed what we already knew, the ACLU values the promotion of progressive ideology more than its core missions such as protecting freedom of speech. The article explains:
Its national and state staff members debate, often hotly, whether defense of speech conflicts with advocacy for a growing number of progressive causes, including voting rights, reparations, transgender rights and defunding the police.Read more
Former FEC Chair Brad Smith published an op-ed today in the National Review today entitled: “The First Amendment Is Lucky to Have Mitch McConnell.” That is both a great headline and an accurate salute to the Republican Senate Leader at a time when Democrats have declared war on the First Amendment through the Corrupt Politicians Act (H.R.1/S.1). That said, a key part of Senator McConnell’s leadership on the First Amendment is not partisan:
Surprisingly few elected officials are willing to come to the defense of campaigns and other organized efforts to effect change. Americans celebrate their freedoms to speak and organize into groups, but once an organization achieves success, support for its rights tends to give way to concerns about “influence.” It’s rare to find politicians who support equally the freedom to speak of the NRA and the Brady Campaign, the League of Conservation Voters and the Chamber of Commerce, or pro-life groups and Planned Parenthood.
For over a quarter century, Mitch McConnell has stood as the Senate’s most consistent, articulate, and dogged defender of the First Amendment rights these organizations rely on. Way back in 1994, he engineered the defeat of a bill to fund campaigns with Americans’ tax dollars, a policy that remains at the top of the progressive agenda today and that reappears in S. 1. He has frustrated bad ideas from the right, too, such as in 2006, when he was one of only three Senate Republicans to oppose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution permitting the criminalization of flag-burning. That amendment fell just one vote short.Read more
On Wednesday, Senate Democrats announced their version of the "For the People Act" (a.k.a. the "Corrupt Politicians Act"). The Corrupt Politicians Act represents a permanent, partisan power grab by Democrats who will do what they can to keep Democrats in power at any cost. his Friday, RNLA will host a webinar featuring Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and the Chairman of the Institute for Free Speech, Bradley Smith, to discuss the kind of litigation we might expect if parts of the Corrupt Politicians Act are passed or if President Biden forces measures through executive action.
One of the most prominent concerns with the Act is how it will restrict the freedom of speech of Americans. As Professor Smith wrote with IFS President David Keating:
Proponents of H.R. 1 say they want to make democracy work for the people, a popular but meaningless cliché. In reality, H.R. 1 creates new burdens on your rights, as Americans, to speak, assemble, and petition the government.
The threats to free speech in the so-called “For the People Act” span hundreds of pages and are too numerous to cover in their entirety here. But the short version is this: The bill makes speaking easier for politicians and harder for American citizens. It subsidizes politicians’ campaigns while allowing elected officials and their allies to compile enemies lists of private supporters of causes they don’t like. It imposes crushing regulatory burdens on groups that speak about elections, government or legislation.
The groups citizens rely on to monitor Washington and voice their concerns — such as the ACLU, the NRA, the Sierra Club and countless others — will be newly shackled. As just one example, the bill would regulate any “public communication” that “promotes, supports, attacks or opposes” any candidate. Groups will be scratching their heads trying to figure out what qualifies.Read more
If there is one thing that unites those concerned with free speech; open fair and honest elections; libertarians and conservatives; and the GOP and ACLU; it is opposition to HR1. Today we’ll highlight three groups opposition.
First, we want to highlight the opinions of those who know elections best, the Secretaries of State who wrote a letter opposing HR 1:
We are writing you today to urge you to reject the “For the People Act” otherwise known as H.R. 1 or S. 1, which is a dangerous overreach by the federal government into the administration of elections.
Each state legislature should have the freedom and flexibility to determine practices that best meet the needs of their respective states. A one-size-fits-all approach mandated by Congress is not the solution to any of our problems.
These bills intrude upon our constitutional rights, and further sacrifice the security and integrity of the elections process. We firmly believe the authority to legislate and regulate these changes should be left with the states.Read more