First Amendment

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 »

Tulsi Sues Google

Featured image Yesterday, presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign sued Google, alleging that the company wrongly suspended the campaign’s Google Ads account during the critical hours following the first Democratic debate. The Complaint is venued in federal court in central California. Its allegations are explosive. Gabbard accuses Google of trying to sabotage her presidential campaign because she, like Elizabeth Warren, has argued in favor of reining in the tech monopolies, including Google. Here »

The right to Trump tweets

Featured image The Second Circuit has affirmed a district court decision holding that President Trump cannot block his critics on Twitter. Plaintiffs wanted to get Trump’s tweets directly and contended that their inability to view, retweet, and reply to Trump’s tweets limited their ability to participate with other members of the public in the comment threads that appear below the President’s tweets. The court agreed in a 29-page opinion that I have »

Nuns still on the run

Featured image James Freeman’s June 4 WSJ Best of the Web column is “Democrats vs. Nuns.” In the column he alerts us to this news: “More than two years after Barack Obama left the White House, there’s still no cease-fire in a legal war on women of faith. The non-profit law firm Becket said [on Tuesday] that a group of nuns will once again have to defend their beliefs in a San »

The Assange indictment

Featured image The man from Wikileaks — i.e., Julian Assange — is the subject of a superseding indictment charging him with 17 counts under the Espionage Act along with the original count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. I have embedded a copy of the indictment below. Charlie Savage expresses the institutional interest of the New York Times in the case in his story on the indictment: Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks leader, »

At the Noor trial (5)

Featured image Before the opening statements of the parties this morning Judge Quaintance announced her decision on the First Amendment issue raised by the motion of the Media Coalition challenging her pretrial order from the bench on March 29. I have discussed this order at length in previous installments of this series in which I described it as lawless. Judge Quaintance announced that on further review she was reversing her order. She »