First Amendment

Judge blocks New York’s limitation on outdoor religious services [UPDATED]

Featured image A federal district court judge today issued a preliminary injunction against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to stop them from limiting participation in outdoor religious gatherings as a response to the pandemic. The judge, Gary Sharpe (a Bush 43 appointee), emphasized that, notwithstanding the Wuhan coronavirus, Cuomo and de Blasio permitted, and indeed seemed to bless, outdoor protests following the killing of George Floyd. Judge Sharpe explained »

Media access in one state: Notes (5)

Featured image The Minnesota Department of Health originally included me in its daily press briefings upon my request from April 11 to April 27. They sent me notices with the conference call call-in information, they took my questions by email, and they provided written responses. My questions focused on the nursing home crisis implicit in the data. I wondered why Governor Walz had instituted a statewide shutdown when the crisis involved a »

Media access in one state: Notes (3)

Featured image I set forth the direct and circumstantial evidence supporting my motion for a preliminary injunction in the sworn statement posted in previous installments of this series. I am seeking to be reinstated to the daily press briefings conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health. The motion is to be heard by Judge Donovan Frank later this morning. The only contrary evidence before the court is the sworn statement submitted by »

Media access in one state: Notes on my lawsuit

Featured image I have brought a section 1983 lawsuit in federal court alleging that I have been unlawfully excluded from participation in the daily Minnesota Department of Health press briefings. I have of course reported on these press briefings in my Coronavirus in one state series. I embedded a copy of my complaint in my post on the lawsuit here. We have since amended the complaint to drop the Minnesota Department of »

You Must Comply!

Featured image The Left now tells us that silence = violence. Obviously a false statement, but what else is new? Liberals are trying to bully the rest of us into agreeing with their false narrative that white police departments are persecuting innocent blacks. Anyone familiar with the data–starting with the fact that urban police departments are anything but white–knows this is nonsense. But most people don’t know much about statistics, and anyway, »

Trump Says: Open the Churches. Now. [Updated]

Featured image A little while ago, President Trump spoke briefly to the White House press corps, announcing that the Centers for Disease Control is about to designate churches, synagogues and mosques as essential facilities. Trump says that he is directing governors to lift their shutdown orders and allow churches to operate, now. If they fail to do so, “I will override the governors.” See the first couple of minutes of this video: »

The Pushback Continues [Updated]

Featured image Around the country, citizens are fighting back against extreme and likely illegal shutdown orders. An inspiring example comes from Minnesota, where today all of the state’s Catholic bishops signed a letter to their congregants saying that they will not obey Governor Walz’s current order. Walz modified his shutdown order again today, but it still prohibits churches from gathering in groups of more than ten. A local newscaster commented: Churches can »

Trump/Barr DOJ warns California against disfavoring churches

Featured image The Department of Justice, under the leadership of Attorney General Barr, has moved aggressively to make sure that state and local measures to contain the Wuhan coronavirus do not violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom. We discussed some of the DOJ’s actions here, here, and here. Now, the New York Times reports that Justice Department has “warned California’s governor that his COVID-19 restrictions discriminate[] against places of worship »

Trump/Barr DOJ strikes another blow for religious freedom [UPDATED]

Featured image In response to the Wuhan coronavirus, Breea Clark, the Democrat mayor of Norman Oklahoma, locked the city down. When she decided gradually to reopen Norman, the ban on churches and other houses of worship from holding religious services — as well as a general ban on “large gatherings” — remained in place. Restaurants, retail stores, and salons were allowed to reopen if they adhered to social distancing policies, but regular »

Lawsuit Challenges Minnesota Shutdown Order

Featured image Scott has chronicled life under Minnesota’s oppressive, discriminatory and ineffective shutdown regime in his Coronavirus in one state series. It has been evident for some weeks that Governor Tim Walz has achieved little beyond unemploying a half million or more Minnesotans and destroying many thousands of his state’s businesses, while allowing the devastation of Minnesota’s nursing homes. As of this afternoon, the forces of common sense are striking back. Today »

Former Virginia black-facers still don’t get civil rights

Featured image Mark Herring, a Democrat, is the Attorney General of Virginia. Like Gov. Ralph Northam, also a Democrat, Herring found it amusing to wear black face. He did so at a party in 1980. Herring still doesn’t have much appreciation for civil rights. He’s defending Virginia social distancing policies that led to the pastor of a Virginia church being cited for holding a church service. There were sixteen people in the »

Trump/Barr DOJ continues to defend First Amendment rights

Featured image I wrote here about the Department of Justice’s involvement in a Greenville, Mississippi case. As I explained, Greenville’s mayor had discriminated against a religious right guaranteed by the First Amendment — the right to hold a church service. This violation resulted in litigation. The DOJ filed a statement of interest on behalf of the church in question. Greenville backed down. Now, the Justice Department has filed a statement of interest »

Arbitrary and Capricious

Featured image By its nature, government action is a blunt instrument. The federal and state governments’ responses to the coronavirus inevitably select winners and losers. Most will suffer from mandated shutdowns, while a few will be overcompensated. And the states’ shutdown orders have been a maze of paradoxes and inconsistencies. Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer has become notorious nationally for her extreme shutdown order, although, to be fair, I am not sure it »

An Important Free Speech Victory Against the SPLC

Featured image The Southern Poverty Law Center, as Power Line readers know, is one of America’s pre-eminent hate groups. It smears those with whom it disagrees, and the media, politicians, and, in some cases, law enforcement are happy to take its hate campaign seriously. So fighting back against the lavishly funded, but utterly corrupt, SPLC is important. Happily, one organization smeared by the SPLC, the American Freedom Law Center, has taken the »

Trump Moves to Protect Religious Freedom In Schools

Featured image Today President Trump signed a “guidance” issued by the Department of Education on “Constitutionally Protected Prayer and Religious Expression in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools.” It updates the last such guidance, which was issued in 2003. The president promoted the event, coinciding with National Religious Freedom Day, as a step toward freedom of religion. President @realDonaldTrump announced historic steps to protect the Constitutional right to pray in public schools! pic.twitter.com/YsORcxUpWa »

New York City Bans Wrongthink

Featured image New York City is trying to ban the phrase “illegal alien” in various contexts, including employment and housing. It has issued a guidance to that effect under the New York City Human Rights Law. Under the City’s interpretation, calling an illegal alien an “illegal alien” could cost you $250,000. At Liberty Unyielding, Hans Bader points out that the guidance is obviously unconstitutional: New York City is seeking to use an »

Prager U vs. YouTube [Updated]

Featured image Prager University produces a wide variety of educational videos that have become very popular, especially with young people. They are some of the highest quality materials available on the internet. As with most other video producers, Prager U’s most important outlet is YouTube, which is owned by Google and is the platform on which 90 percent or more of videos are watched, worldwide. For several years, YouTube has suppressed Prager »