The New York Times is also known as The Gray Lady.  She was once the “paper of record,” the authoritative source of news.

The right of The New York Times to publish is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

One would think, therefore, that a newspaper would support the First Amendment.  To undermine it would undermine the very right that makes the newspaper possible.

But it’s 2018 and Donald Trump is President, so the First Amendment is now a liability and must be done away with.

How Conservatives Weaponized the First Amendment 

The court’s five conservative members, citing the First Amendment, had just dealt public unions a devastating blow. The day before, the same majority had used the First Amendment to reject a California law requiring religiously oriented “crisis pregnancy centers” to provide women with information about abortion.

Conservatives, said Justice Kagan, who is part of the court’s four-member liberal wing, were “weaponizing the First Amendment.”

Kagan’s opinion is offensive horseshit.  The Janus case is easy to understand. SCOTUS decided that forcing people to contribute money to a union that made arguments they disagreed with was a First Amendment violation.

To explain how that works, let’s use the Trump example for this.  Just about everyone gets that it would be a First Amendment violation to prohibit Liberals from saying “Trump sucks.”  SCOTUS also decided that it would be a First Amendment violation for the law to mandate that once a month Liberals have to say “Trump rules.”

Free speech is just that, free.  People can’t be compelled to say something anymore than they can be prohibited from saying something.

This is “weaponizing the First Amendment.”

The two decisions were the latest in a stunning run of victories for a conservative agenda that has increasingly been built on the foundation of free speech. Conservative groups, borrowing and building on arguments developed by liberals, have used the First Amendment to justify unlimited campaign spending, discrimination against gay couples and attacks on the regulation of tobacco, pharmaceuticals and guns.

This actually means “Conservatives are demanding that free speech be free for everyone, not just the people and groups that Liberals agree with.”

“The right, which had for years been hostile to and very nervous about a strong First Amendment, has rediscovered it,” said Burt Neuborne, a law professor at New York University.

Damn those craft conservatives!

The Citizens United campaign finance case, for instance, was decided on free-speech grounds, with the five-justice conservative majority ruling that the First Amendment protects unlimited campaign spending by corporations. The government, the majority said, has no business regulating political speech.

The Left HATES Citizens United.  It used to be just Unions that could donate mega-bucks to Democrats.  Now anybody can form a PAC and donate how they want.  The Democrats no longer have a monopoly on big money group donations.

The dissenters responded that the First Amendment did not require allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace and corrupt democracy.

*In whiny little kid voice* “It’s not fair that the conservative PAC donates to Republicans as much as the AFL-CIO donates to us.”

“The libertarian position has become dominant on the right on First Amendment issues,” said Ilya Shapiro, a lawyer with the Cato Institute. “It simply means that we should be skeptical of government attempts to regulate speech. That used to be an uncontroversial and nonideological point. What’s now being called the libertarian position on speech was in the 1960s the liberal position on speech.”

So back when the Left was “stickin’ it to the man” free speech was good.  Now that those same hippies are “the man,” free speech is dangerous.

And an increasingly conservative judiciary has been more than a little receptive to this argument. A new analysis prepared for The New York Times found that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has been far more likely to embrace free-speech arguments concerning conservative speech than liberal speech. That is a sharp break from earlier eras.

God damned Supreme Court agreeing that free speech means free speech for everyone.  What good is SCOTUS if they are going to let just anybody have free speech instead of applying free speech in a partisan way.

As a result, liberals who once championed expansive First Amendment rights are now uneasy about them.

“The left was once not just on board but leading in supporting the broadest First Amendment protections,” said Floyd Abrams, a prominent First Amendment lawyer and a supporter of broad free-speech rights. “Now the progressive community is at least skeptical and sometimes distraught at the level of First Amendment protection which is being afforded in cases brought by litigants on the right.”

It’s no fun when people who disagree with you are allowed to speak freely when you are in power.

Many on the left have traded an absolutist commitment to free speech for one sensitive to the harms it can inflict.

And there, ladies and gentlemen, is the thesis statement of The New York Times’ opinion.

We all grew up with “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  The Left has now embraced the idea that words hurt and that some people must be protected from those hurtful words, which means you can’t say them.

“Sensitive” is just censorship with a veneer of compassion.

Take pornography and street protests. Liberals were once largely united in fighting to protect sexually explicit materials from government censorship. Now many on the left see pornography as an assault on women’s rights.

Third Wave Feminism has to root out and destroy fun wherever it rears its ugly head.

In 1977, many liberals supported the right of the American Nazi Party to march among Holocaust survivors in Skokie, Ill. Far fewer supported the free-speech rights of the white nationalists who marched last year in Charlottesville, Va.

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” – Attributed to Voltaire in a biography by Evelyn Beatrice Hall.

That was a fundamental principle of American law.  The Left is trying to kill it.

There was a certain naïveté in how liberals used to approach free speech, said Frederick Schauer, a law professor at the University of Virginia.

“Because so many free-speech claims of the 1950s and 1960s involved anti-obscenity claims, or civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protests, it was easy for the left to sympathize with the speakers or believe that speech in general was harmless,” he said. “But the claim that speech was harmless or causally inert was never true, even if it has taken recent events to convince the left of that. The question, then, is why the left ever believed otherwise.”

The Left never believed that speech was harmless.  They were the ones doing harm with it.  The Left was all for free speech when is was their anti-goverment speech being shut down.  Now that they are the ones in power the rules must be different.

Some liberals now say that free speech disproportionately protects the powerful and the status quo.

Bullshit.  This is just the Leftist idea of “privilege” being used to kill free speech.

He already has power so he shouldn’t be allowed to speak.  We should only allow those without power to speak.  Also, we’re the ones that get to decide who has power.”

“When I was younger, I had more of the standard liberal view of civil liberties,” said Louis Michael Seidman, a law professor at Georgetown. “And I’ve gradually changed my mind about it. What I have come to see is that it’s a mistake to think of free speech as an effective means to accomplish a more just society.”

By “more just society” be means the forceful imposition of his ideology on others.

To the contrary, free speech reinforces and amplifies injustice, Catharine A. MacKinnon, a law professor at the University of Michigan, wrote in “The Free Speech Century,” a collection of essays to be published this year.

“Once a defense of the powerless, the First Amendment over the last hundred years has mainly become a weapon of the powerful,” she wrote. “Legally, what was, toward the beginning of the 20th century, a shield for radicals, artists and activists, socialists and pacifists, the excluded and the dispossessed, has become a sword for authoritarians, racists and misogynists, Nazis and Klansmen, pornographers and corporations buying elections.”

I don’t agree with intersectionality.  That makes me a Nazi Klansman to the Left.  As a white, male, Nazi Klansman, I must be denied free speech so that some oppressed minority can speak freely to spread Xir’s beliefs unchallenged.

Rather than allowing the marketplace of ideas, the Left wants to silence disagreement with them.  It’s obvious.

In the great First Amendment cases in the middle of the 20th century, few conservatives spoke up for the protection of political dissenters, including communists and civil rights leaders, comedians using vulgar language on the airwaves or artists exploring sexuality in novels and on film.

In 1971, Robert H. Bork, then a prominent conservative law professor and later a federal judge and Supreme Court nominee, wrote that the First Amendment should be interpreted narrowly in a law-review article that remains one of the most-cited of all time.

It wasn’t right then either.  But the Right was in charge so wrestling free speech from them was noble.

“Constitutional protection should be accorded only to speech that is explicitly political,” he wrote. “There is no basis for judicial intervention to protect any other form of expression, be it scientific, literary or that variety of expression we call obscene or pornographic.”

That’s hilarious now considering the Leftist idea that “everything is political.”  They destroyed the Bork opinion the second they said that porn was political.

But a transformative ruling by the Supreme Court five years later began to change that thinking. The case, a challenge to a state law that banned advertising the prices of prescription drugs, was filed by Public Citizen, a consumer rights group founded by Ralph Nader. The group argued that the law hurt consumers, and helped persuade the court, in Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, to protect advertising and other commercial speech.

The only dissent in the decision came from Justice William H. Rehnquist, the court’s most conservative member.

Kathleen M. Sullivan, a former dean of Stanford Law School, wrote that it did not take long for corporations to see the opportunities presented by the decision.

“While the case was litigated by consumer protection advocates,” she wrote in the Harvard Law Review, “corporate speakers soon became the principal beneficiaries of subsequent rulings that, for example, struck down restrictions on including alcohol content on beer can labels, limitations on outdoor tobacco advertising near schools and rules governing how compounded drugs may be advertised.”

“We didn’t mean for first amendment protections to help business.  How dare ‘freedom of speech’ mean that companies could advertise their products or openly compete on price and make more money.  We fought for free speech so that we could protest business, not so that the business could profit.”

These people get massively offended by the idea that the people they hate get to enjoy free speech rights.  It’s transparent.

That trend has continued, with businesses mounting First Amendment challenges to gun control laws, securities regulations, country-of-origin labels, graphic cigarette warnings and limits on off-label drug marketing.

Oh God no, not guns and cigarettes!!!

“I was a bit queasy about it because I had the sense that we were unleashing something, but nowhere near what happened,” Mr. Nader said. “It was one of the biggest boomerangs in judicial cases ever.”

“I couldn’t be Merlin,” he added. “We never thought the judiciary would be as conservative or corporate. This was an expansion that was not preordained by doctrine. It was preordained by the political philosophies of judges.”

That is an amazing revelation.  The idea of people on the other side of the aisle having free speech rights makes Ralph Nader “queasy.”

More than that, the idea of SCOTUS applying the First Amendment universally – i.e. a broad interpriation of free speech that applies without prejudice to the speech – upsets him.  He could not be more obvious that he hates the idea of conservatives or corporations having free speech to counter the message he presents using the same freedom.

Not all of the liberal scholars and lawyers who helped create modern First Amendment law are disappointed. Martin Redish, a law professor at Northwestern University, who wrote a seminal 1971 article proposing First Amendment protection for commercial speech, said he was pleased with the Roberts court’s decisions.

“Its most important contributions are in the commercial speech and corporate speech areas,” he said. “It’s a workmanlike, common sense approach.”

That’s called “being principled.”  I’m glad The New York Times found one principled Liberal to quote.

Liberals also played a key role in creating modern campaign finance law in Buckley v. Valeo, the 1976 decision that struck down limits on political spending by individuals and was the basis for Citizens United, the 2010 decision that did away with similar limits for corporations and unions.

One plaintiff was Senator Eugene J. McCarthy, Democrat of Minnesota, who had challenged President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1968 presidential primaries — from the left. Another was the American Civil Liberties Union’s New York affiliate.

Professor Neuborne, a former A.C.L.U. lawyer, said he now regrets the role he played in winning the case. “I signed the brief in Buckley,” he said. “I’m going to spend long amounts of time in purgatory.”

“As a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, I regret expanding the right to free speech to Conservative Americans.”

To Professor Seidman, cases like these were part of what he describes as a right-wing takeover of the First Amendment since the liberal victories in the years Chief Justice Earl Warren led the Supreme Court.

Not  Right Wing takeover of free speech.  What does that mean?  Only Nazis have free speech?  No, it means everyone get’s free speech.

“With the receding of Warren court liberalism, free-speech law took a sharp right turn,” Professor Seidman wrote in a new article to be published in the Columbia Law Review. “Instead of providing a shield for the powerless, the First Amendment became a sword used by people at the apex of the American hierarchy of power. Among its victims: proponents of campaign finance reform, opponents of cigarette addiction, the L.B.G.T.Q. community, labor unions, animal rights advocates, environmentalists, targets of hate speech and abortion providers.”

Everything the Left does focuses on power and who has it.  For them, certain groups don’t have power and free speech should give them power.  For groups they decide are in power, they can’t have free speech.  Except who decides who is in power.

The Left would say the LGBT Americans lack power because they are a minority.  Except there is huge LGBT representation on TV, disproportionate to the actual population.  Christians on the other hand are portrayed negatively on TV.  So the power sees to be wielded by Progressives in driving the popular culture, but they will never admit to that because it means they are no longer entitled to free speech.

This is the reason that our Founding Fathers created the very idea of free speech, so that ANYBODY and EVERYBODY had the right to speak their mind.  The government didn’t have to sort out who was in power vs. who was oppressed vs. any other factor.  Everybody gets to yell into the ether, and if people like what you have to say, they will listen to you.

The title of the article asked, “Can Free Speech Be Progressive?”

“The answer,” the article said, “is no.”

That is more a condemnation of Progressivism than free speech.

When your ideology cannot accept other people having civil liberties your ideology is tyrannical dogshit.

The right turn has been even more pronounced under Chief Justice Roberts.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a larger share of First Amendment cases concerning conservative speech than earlier courts had, according to the study prepared for The Times. And it has ruled in favor of conservative speech at a higher rate than liberal speech as compared to earlier courts.

“The Roberts court — more than any modern court — has trained its sights on speech promoting conservative values,” the study found. “Only the current court has resolved a higher fraction of disputes challenging the suppression of conservative rather than liberal expression.”

The court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren from 1953 to 1969 was almost exclusively concerned with cases concerning liberal speech. Of its 60 free-expression cases, only five, or about 8 percent, challenged the suppression of conservative speech.

So who is being allowed to suppress Liberal speech?  It seems that the problem recently has been Liberals suppressing Conservatives, so the Conservatives are fighting back.

What is key to understand is that the article equates the expansion of free speech to being Conservative.  This attitude is win/lose.  When Conservatives get free speech, the Left loses.  That’s not true, the Court is not picking who gets to be suppressed.  The Court is saying nobody gets to be suppressed.

Take the California abortion case.  California had a law on the books, the “Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency Act (FACT Act)” that said religious crisis pregnancy centers had to advertise abortion clinics and goverment funded abortion in their centers.

Abortion clinics didn’t have to advertise that there were centers that would help women through pregnancy and help them find parents to adopt their children.

SCOTUS decided that forcing religious people to shill for abortion was a free speech violation.

This was the “Conservative ruling.”  It’s Conservative in that it stops Liberals from forcing religious people to prosthelytize against their will for Progressive sacrament of abortion on demand and without apologies.

The proportion of challenges to restrictions on conservative speech has steadily increased. It rose to 22 percent in the court led by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger from 1969 to 1986; to 42 percent in the court led by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist from 1986 to 2005; and to 65 percent in the Roberts court.

The Roberts court does more than hear a larger proportion of cases concerning conservative expression. It is also far more likely than earlier courts to rule for conservative speech than for liberal speech. The result, the study found, has been “a fundamental transformation of the court’s free-expression agenda.”

Seems like the Left has become more tyrannical as they gained power.

In past decades, broad coalitions of justices have often been receptive to First Amendment arguments. The court has protected videos of animal cruelty, hateful protests at military funerals, violent video games and lies about military awards, often by lopsided margins.

Yeah, because Conservatives love it when assholes protest military funerals and lie about being war heroes.

But last week’s two First Amendment blockbusters were decided by 5-to-4 votes, with the conservatives in the majority ruling in favor of conservative plaintiffs.

On Tuesday, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority that requiring health clinics opposed to abortion to tell women how to obtain the procedure violated the clinics’ free-speech rights. In dissent, Justice Stephen G. Breyer said that was a misuse of First Amendment principles.

California might as well have passed a law that required Priests to wish people a Happy Ramadan through June.  You can’t force someone to say something they don’t want to say.

“Using the First Amendment to strike down economic and social laws that legislatures long would have thought themselves free to enact will, for the American public, obscure, not clarify, the true value of protecting freedom of speech,” Justice Breyer wrote.

That’s why Breyer is in the minority.

On Wednesday, in announcing the decision on public unions, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said the court was applying settled and neutral First Amendment principles to protect workers from being forced to say things at odds with their beliefs. He suggested that the decision on public unions should have been unanimous.

I agree.

“Compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable violates that cardinal constitutional command, and in most contexts, any such effort would be universally condemned,” he wrote. “Suppose, for example, that the State of Illinois required all residents to sign a document expressing support for a particular set of positions on controversial public issues — say, the platform of one of the major political parties. No one, we trust, would seriously argue that the First Amendment permits this.”

I agree, except that is exactly what Progressives want.  If they can force you to say something, they can eventually force you to believe it too.

In response, Justice Kagan said the court’s conservatives had found a dangerous tool, “turning the First Amendment into a sword.” The United States, she said, should brace itself.

A sword of freedom not oppression.  My First Amendment right gives me the right to tell you to fuck off.

If the Court did not vote in favor of Janus, Trump would be within his right to mandate everybody donate to the Trump 2020 campaign and wear a MAGA hat once a month.  He’s not suppressing speech, just mandating that you say what he wants.

“Speech is everywhere — a part of every human activity (employment, health care, securities trading, you name it),” she wrote. “For that reason, almost all economic and regulatory policy affects or touches speech. So the majority’s road runs long. And at every stop are black-robed rulers overriding citizens’ choices.”

Half the citizens can’t vote to limit the speech of the other half.  That’s what the Bill of Rights exists.  Kagan is a Progressive, so as long at it is the gays and blacks and women voting to suppress the speech of straight white men, she’s okay with it.  Saying “no, everybody gets to say what they want and doesn’t have to say what that don’t want” is to her, a violation.

This whole article is nothing more than the zenith of Progressiveness.

The recurring theme here is “rights for me but not for thee.”

As long as the Left gets to speak freely the First Amendment is great.  As soon an anybody else does, it’s time for the First Amendment to go.

This is advocacy for tyranny.  They aren’t even trying to cover it up anymore.

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By J. Kb

10 thoughts on “The New York Times comes out against the First Amendment”
  1. I find it ironic that the leftists who are afraid that Trump and the five Supremes have weaponized free speech to suppress dissent, have no problem with Woodrow Wilson’s outright prosecution of anyone who disagreed with him during WWI.

    1. You could hear the left’s collective “spladoosh” when Turkey’s Erdogan said democracy was like a train — once you arrived at the station you wanted, you got off of it.

  2. “A new analysis prepared for The New York Times found that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has been far more likely to embrace free-speech arguments concerning conservative speech than liberal speech.”

    Want to bet that the “analysis” comes out that way because the bulk of the cases brought to the court were conservatives arguing against restrictions placed on them by leftists?

    I remember when free speech was so uncontroversial that “WKRP In Cincinnati” had a Very Special Episode where Mean Religious Right Wing Conservatives tried to get the station to censor the music they played, and the Brave American Idealist station manager stood up to them. Nowadays it would be Brave Liberals standing against the station playing Horribly Offensive Racist material, with the station eventually caving and Everyone Learning a Lesson.

    (And pay no attention to what gets broadcast on “urban radio”, or you’re racist.)

    1. If I remember the episode correctly, Andy egged the Religious types on to get publicity for the fact that WKRP was playing that evil rock music now- because most people thought they were still playing easy listening.

      1. Could be. I just remember the actor who made a career standing in for Falwell being “confronted” with the lyrics to “Imagine”. Oh, how brave!

  3. Two thoughts come to mind after reading this.

    First, I’m reminded of the phrase “When it comes time to hang the capitalists, they will vie with each other for the rope contract,” attributed to Lenin. The Times, and Progressives, should be careful what they wish for; Senate rules, for a recent example.

    Second, it strikes me that SCOTUS’s rulings in these and other matters highlight a significant difference between the US and much of Europe, where to express certain ideas – about sexuality, immigration, religious groups, etc. – is now a criminal offense. Again, the Progressives would love for us to “go there.” The First Amendment, like the Second, is a beacon of hope in a world that seems intent on beating down the individual.

  4. Of course, they can do like the ACA did with health insurance, and simply require everyone to join a union, and make them pay a “tax” if they do not.

  5. There is a basic difference in how the basis of human rights are perceived. The modern progressive belief is that rights are what the State grants according to what benefits the State. In this case, certain rights must be suppressed and regulated to protect the power of the State.

    The classical Liberal belief is that rights are inherent to the Individual, and that the State is given power by those Individuals acting in concert. In this case, certain rights cannot be regulated to protect the Individual against the State.

  6. Like most bullies, the left is surprised when the object of their abuse actually fights back. Nothing causes a bully to cry foul like getting a bloody nose.

  7. The New York Times is an eloquent tabloid. Any newspaper who’s motto is “All the news that’s fit to print” is no source of news, whatsoever. The only redeeming quality it has are the crossword puzzles, which are quite difficult. Perhaps they could focus less on lying to us and more on word games, they are at least very good at the latter.

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