Leftist Lawyers Try To Protect Killing The Unborn By Calling It A Religion

Leftist Lawyers Try To Protect Killing The Unborn By Calling It A Religion

The Supreme Court’s decision last summer in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that “the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion” did not stop the attacks on legal protection for the unborn. Going forward, most challenges will make familiar arguments but shift the venue from federal to state courts. Abortion lawyers are also launching less conventional attacks, including that pro-life laws violate the right, under state constitutions or statutes, to freely exercise religion.

Last year, for example, a Jewish congregation in Florida and clergy from other religious bodies challenged Florida’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Jewish congregations in Ohio challenged that state’s ban on abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. And several Jewish women challenged Kentucky’s near-total ban on abortion. In each of these cases, the argument is that the law prohibits abortions that the plaintiffs’ religion allows.

A similar suit in Indiana, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of such clients as Hoosier Jews for Choice, asserts that the Jewish faith actually requires an abortion under certain circumstances. The plaintiffs claim that Indiana’s ban on almost all abortions violates its Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which prohibits the government from “substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion” unless it is the “least restrictive means” of furthering a “compelling governmental interest.” Indiana’s law is modeled on the federal RFRA, enacted in 1993 — and its legal standard, known as “strict scrutiny,” is the toughest in any area of law.

Congress overwhelmingly passed RFRA, and President Bill Clinton signed it into law in reaction to the 1990 decision Employment Division v. Smith. That decision embraced a weak legal standard that allows the government to frequently interfere with religious practice. States such as Indiana started enacting their own RFRAs after the Supreme Court decided in 1997 that the federal RFRA could not be applied to the states.

In the Indiana case, the plaintiffs claim that, within Judaism, “a fetus attains the status of a living person only at birth” and that “Jewish law stresses the necessity of protecting the life and physical and mental health of the mother prior to birth as the fetus is not yet deemed to be a person.” By banning almost all abortions, the Indiana law prohibits those that the plaintiffs claim Jewish teaching would permit, if not require. This, the lawsuit claims, is a “substantial burden” on the exercise of religion that cannot be justified under the strict scrutiny standard.

Legal Hurdles

Lawsuits like this one face several significant hurdles. First, the fact that one’s religious beliefs allow doing something does not automatically convert doing it into an exercise of religion. Second, even if it did, the fact that a law prevents a religious believer from doing something they would like to do does not automatically turn it into a “substantial burden” on religious exercise. And third, even though strict scrutiny is a difficult standard to overcome, courts have identified government interests sufficiently compelling to overcome religious exercise claims.

The Supreme Court, for example, has rejected free exercise challenges to state minimum-age working requirements and to a state law allowing hospitals to perform blood transfusions over religious objections. It is hard to think of a more compelling government interest than protecting the lives of human beings, or any other way of substantially furthering that interest than prohibiting killing them.

ACLU Backtracks

The RFRA argument in these cases is not only unusual on its face, but especially so coming from the ACLU. The ACLU was part of the Coalition for the Free Exercise of Religion, the broad grassroots campaign to enact RFRA in the early 1990s. The ACLU, however, opposes RFRA today because, it claims, it is being used “to argue that … faith justifies myriad harms.”

When Indiana’s RFRA was enacted in 2015, for example, the ACLU was apoplectic, saying the law “would allow anyone to use their religious beliefs to claim that they have a right to refuse to follow anti-discrimination protections and other laws.” A growing number of the many left-wing groups that once supported RFRA are backing away for the same reason. Yet in its religious challenges to pro-life laws, the ACLU is once again embracing RFRA, claiming, somewhat bizarrely, that it justifies the harm of killing human beings in the womb. Quite a cynical feat of legerdemain.

Whether religious claims for abortion, and the novel version of RFRA they require, will succeed is highly doubtful. Even liberal scholars such as the late Cornell Law professor Sherry Colb have noted that “religious abortion” arguments are likely to fail. Shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision in DobbsColb wrote: “Religions frequently govern different kinds of behavior from what the government regulates. That fact does not add up to a conflict.”

One thing, however, is certain: Abortion advocates and their lawyers will continue inventing new arguments for attacking legal protection for the unborn.


Sarah Parshall Perry and Thomas Jipping are senior legal fellows in The Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

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WEF: United States Will Soon Make Hate Speech Illegal, Says EU Commissioner

WEF: United States Will Soon Make Hate Speech Illegal, Says EU Commissioner

The United States will soon follow Europe in implementing laws against so-called hate speech, a top Eurocrat claimed at the World Economic Forum’s meeting in Davos.

The vice president for Values and Transparency for the European Commission, Věra Jourová predicted on Tuesday that hate speech laws will be imposed upon the American public, despite longstanding case law at the Supreme Court protecting such speech under the First Amendment.

“Illegal hate speech, which you will have soon also in the U.S. I think that we have a strong reason why we have this in the criminal law,” Jourová said.

The Czech politician, who previously served as the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, made the comments during a WEF panel hosted by former CNN host Brian Stelter on “The Clear and Present Danger of Disinformation.” The choice of Stelter may perhaps be viewed by some as ironic given his own relationship with the truth.

The panel also featured New York Times chairman Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton, and Internews CEO Jeanne Bourgault.

Representative Moulton seemingly agreed with the statement from the EU Commission VP, telling her: “I think in general the US has a lot to learn in terms of data regulation, internet regulation… You’re way ahead of us in that regard.”

However, the Democrat politician later clarified that he did not believe that American politicians were ready to forsake the fundamental aspects of freedom of speech.

The comments from Jourová come amid the backdrop of the ongoing dispute between the European Union and new Twitter boss Elon Musk over his publicly stated commitment to free speech, which has ruffled feathers in Brussels.

Indeed, Jourová herself commented on the matter to Euractiv on Tuesday, saying that the platform should partner with the EU on combatting hate speech and disinformation, saying: “We need the platforms to work with the language to identify such cases.”

She said that European Union laws surrounding online speech will be enforced, saying: “They apply to Twitter regardless of who owns it. Musk should not underestimate our efforts to make big platforms responsible.”

“Regulators are already closely monitoring compliance with the applicable data protection rules, and we will be able to enforce the Digital Services Act later this year as well,” Jourová added.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) which came into force in November greatly expanded the ability of Brussels to police so-called ‘hate speech’ and ‘disinformation’ through the addition of punishment mechanisms against internet platforms that fail to abide by the bloc’s rules.

Should companies like Twitter fail to comply with the DSA by February of 2024, the EU will be able to impose fines of up to six per cent of their global revenue and even possibly ban the platform altogether.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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Yes Virginia, There IS A Deep State & It’s Worse Than You Think

Yes Virginia, There IS A Deep State & It’s Worse Than You Think


Yes, Virginia, There IS a Deep State – and It Is Worse than You Think

By: William L. Anderson

Mention the term “deep state” in polite company and most likely no one will want to speak to you the rest of the evening. The deep state is what Wikipedia calls “discredited,” something reeking of conspiracies, false accusations, and the substitution of fantasy for the truth.

After the FBI raided Donald Trump’s home in Florida, Trump alluded to “deep state” actions, which brought predictable ridicule from the mainstream media. Trump was speaking conspiratorially, and if one follows the mainstream media these days, the only conspiracies are on the right. (You know, like the one in which the unarmed, ragtag January 6 rioters nearly overthrew the US government.)

After the recent revelations about how Twitter worked to hide the story of the infamous Hunter Biden laptop, Trump attributed the secrecy to a plot by the “deep state.” However, while the facts of the story really are outrageous, I don’t believe it was as much a secret conspiracy as a case of people being able to engage in certain actions with no political consequences.

Furthermore, journalist Matt Taibbi’s regarding FBI and CIA agents’ outright interference in the 2020 election via Twitter on the pretense that Russian operatives were spreading disinformation has further exposed both the involvement of federal law enforcement agents in partisan activities and the sad fact that those agents need not worry about being held accountable—especially if they are engaged in a “progressive” cause.

The Standard Deep State Narrative

One does not have to believe in a single conspiracy (not even about the 9/11 attacks) to understand that there really is what we can call a deep state. Indeed, what we might call the real deep state has nothing to do with conspiracies, secret meetings, and the like. Instead, this deep state operates in the open and in broad daylight, and that makes the deep state narrative an even greater threat than the secret cabal narrative.

When I was a young adult, I read a novel by two anticommunist journalists called The Spike, in which a young, liberal, and crusading journalist uncovers a nest of Soviet agents embedded in the US government. The journalist’s story on the affair, however, is spiked by his employer (a Washington Post–like paper), but the protagonist manages to get the story out elsewhere. The result is that a compromised president is brought down and the federal government is able to ferret out the Soviet agents.

Thus, in a dramatic moment, a motivated journalist and political allies expose the equivalent of the “deep state” and the US government makes a rightward turn. The deep state goes away.

The Hard Truth

Unfortunately, no novelist can write out our present deep state because that would be a bridge too far. The reason is that our present deep state simply is the executive branch of government, which has been written into our laws and our courts, and this branch has taken over much of the role originally assigned to the judicial wing of government, that of interpreting the laws.

The real power of the modern state is in its civil service, which is composed of employees of all the federal departments and agencies—employees who hardly are neutral ideologically and politically, employees who are protected by civil service laws and by unions. When progressive regimes such as the Biden and Obama administrations occupy the West Wing and Congress, the federal courts become almost irrelevant. The president and his political appointees govern by executive orders, which, not surprisingly, the allegedly neutral government employees enthusiastically support.

Much of modern lawmaking is by executive order, with many orders not even having to square with the statutes underlying them, something that has gone on for a long time. For example, when President Franklin Roosevelt seized private gold holdings in 1933, he based his executive order upon the 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act. When President Biden announced student loan forgiveness, he based his order on the 9/11 Heroes Act, stretching that law and its obvious intent to the point that it was unrecognizable.

While not all executive orders have the effect of Executive Order 6102, they nonetheless involve the executive branch of the US government assuming powers that well may violate the Constitution yet are carried out without a worry that any outside agency—including the US Supreme Court—will intervene. (Yes, the courts so far have slapped down Biden’s student loan forgiveness scheme, but the litigation process is not complete, and the courts can be unpredictable.)

All-Powerful Bureaucracy Has Progressive Support

One would think that educated Americans would blanch at the prospect of federal agencies making policies independent of congressional or court oversight, but the opposite is true, especially when federal agents pursue progressive policies. For example, when the Supreme Court placed some legal fences around the Environmental Protection Agency’s powers to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, the progressive establishment exploded in anger.

For example, the New York Times, which carries the progressive standard, declared that the court had placed American lives in danger:

Regulatory agencies staffed by experts are the best available mechanism for a representative democracy to make decisions in areas of technical complexity. The E.P.A. is the entity that Congress relies upon to figure out how clean the air should be, and how to get there. Asserting that it lacks the power to perform its basic responsibilities is simply sabotage.

Governance by “experts” has been the progressive mantra for more than a century, the idea being that so-called experts embedded deep in government should be free to make whatever decisions they believe best to govern the rest of us. The assumption of the editors of the NYT is that the “experts” always (or at least usually) know what is best for everyone else and how to achieve those important social and economic ends.

Likewise, the revelations that the FBI and CIA were coercing social media companies to censor anything that contradicted certain progressive narratives coming from Washington, DC, should have been banner headlines everywhere and the lead story on the evening news. Instead, mainstream progressive journalists attacked Matt Taibbi, or like David French, they downplayed the seriousness of what happened and made excuses for federal agents.

(French argued that the only real question was whether federal agents had “violated the First Amendment” and that anything else was not fit for discussion. And, yes, he concluded that those agents probably had not violated the Constitution, missing the more important point that federal agents were trying to influence the outcome of an election.)

Conclusion

We are not speaking of secret conspiracies in which nefarious actions are carried out in the darkness. These things are carried out in daylight, complete with the names of the characters involved, yet people who raise serious questions about the legality of these actions, let alone the question of right and wrong, are praised and encouraged by our institutional gatekeepers.

That is why I say that this version of the deep state is much worse than whatever the authors of The Spike might have believed to exist. The people involved do what they darn well please, all the while claiming they are the soul of democracy, and many Americans seem to either believe them or no longer care.

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As States Ban Parents From Resisting Their Kids Going Transgender, Will Congress Step Up?

As States Ban Parents From Resisting Their Kids Going Transgender, Will Congress Step Up?

Attacks on parents are getting closer to home. From a woke education establishment to increasingly activist child protection agencies, parents are losing the right to decide how to raise their children. My new legislation, the Parental Right to Protect Act, will ensure parents aren’t expelled from their child’s life because they disagree with the left’s radical ideas on sex.

More medical facilities are offering life-altering, non-reversible medical interventions for adolescents who believe they were born the wrong sex. Many parents are against these experimental surgeries and hormonal interventions because they know these treatments will cause irreparable physical and emotional harm to their children.

Take Chloe Cole, for example, who at age 13 began taking puberty blockers. At age 15, she had a double mastectomy. And at age 16, she made the decision to stop these interventions and instead affirm her sex. Earlier this year, Chloe launched an organization alongside others who regret having received so-called “gender-affirming care.” This organization now works to warn others about the harms caused by such medical interventions.

It’s no wonder countries such as the United Kingdom and Sweden have recently suspended their use of this experimental approach on children, recognizing its inherent risks. Too bad the Biden administration isn’t following suit.

In fact, the Biden administration and congressional Democrats are hell-bent on pushing a radical agenda in schools and in the home that is often squarely opposed to parents. Just this week, NBC news reported that the “Education Department has opened what appears to be the first-of-its-kind investigation into Granbury Independent School District after it pulled library books dealing with sexuality and gender.”

Parents Shut Out

Schools across the country are pushing children’s books and curricula in the classroom to normalize transgender ideology. When parents ask for access to school curricula many are stonewalled. One Rhode Island mom was billed $74,000 after filing a Freedom of Information Act request to gain access to her daughter’s school curriculum.

School boards nationwide have used various tactics for silencing parents, such as barring or restricting parents from participating in public meetings. One school board in Pennsylvania is now being sued for a pattern of trampling the First Amendment rights of parents, which includes cutting parents off in the middle of a sentence, yelling over them during their allocated time to speak, and deleting the remarks of parents it disagrees with from the official record and video recording.

Parents who do not support transgender medical interventions are sometimes kept in the dark by the education bureaucracy. An Ohio school district told teachers they did not have to inform parents if a student began transitioning at school, and one Florida school district kept “gender transition” counseling of a 12-year-old girl secret from her parents until she attempted suicide — twice.

CPS Going After Parents

If dealing with these issues at school wasn’t bad enough, now child protective services (CPS) are going after parents. In Indiana, a court recently upheld the removal of a child from parental custody after a CPS investigation alleged the parents were “verbally and emotionally abusing” the child when they would not use the child’s preferred pronouns or otherwise affirm the child’s desire to begin transgender medical interventions.

In California, Abigail Martinez lost custody of her daughter and a court permitted only one hour of visitation each week because Martinez did not want her daughter to begin transgender medical interventions. Tragically, her daughter took her own life after changing her name and taking cross-sex hormones. These parents are being separated from their minor children for simply protecting them from procedures known to be harmful.

CA Law Jeopardizes Parental Rights Nationwide

Things will likely get worse for parents. In September, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 107 into law, jeopardizing the rights of parents in and out of California. SB 107 allows minors anywhere in the United States to run away from their parents to get transgender surgery in California — and their parents can be barred from intervening.

There is no doubt SB 107 will be used as a weapon against parents. This law robs parents of their rights and gives the state of California unprecedented power over a child’s health.

The utter disrespect for parental rights is becoming a tragic cultural norm in America. And it is harming children.

Legislation to Protect Parental Rights

That’s why I introduced the Parental Right to Protect Act. This bill defends parental rights by ensuring CPS does not penalize parents for protecting their children from transgender surgery and hormones.

Parents should be able to make medical decisions for their children without fear of the government taking their children away. Allowing California to become the nation’s arbiter of parental rights would be a fatal mistake. We must stand up to the radical left and allow parents to protect their children — whether that be at school or at home.


Rep. Virginia Foxx serves North Carolina’s 5th congressional district.

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Courts Won’t Stop The Feds From Deputizing Big Tech—The People Must

Courts Won’t Stop The Feds From Deputizing Big Tech—The People Must

The release of internal communications in the ongoing series of “Twitter Files” reveals a government bent on propaganda and censorship—and a Big Tech industry willing to play along. With each new thread detailing the internal workings and cozy relationship between the Twitter team and our government, the political right screams louder of First Amendment violations.

The First Amendment cannot be the whole answer to the problem, however, and, in fact, may not have even been transgressed. Americans are right to be outraged, but the solution doesn’t rest in constitutional claims. The deepest solution is in a resurgence in the values of free speech and a free press.

“Twitter, The FBI Subsidiary” was the spot-on title independent journalist Matt Taibbi crafted for the thread he published two weeks ago detailing the hand-in-glove relationship between the FBI and Twitter. But as Taibbi’s Christmas Eve sequel, “Twitter And ‘Other Government Agencies,’” revealed, it wasn’t just the FBI using Twitter as a corporate underling, nor is it just Twitter the government appropriates for this purpose.

Rather, as Taibbi reported, the “Twitter Files” “show the FBI acting as doorman to a vast program of social media surveillance and censorship, encompassing agencies across the federal government – from the State Department to the Pentagon to the CIA.” Beyond Twitter, “Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, Reddit, even Pinterest, and many others,” as well as “industry players also held regular meetings” with the government, Taibbi revealed.

The internal documents released by Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, also exposed the U.S. government’s use of Twitter, and by extension other social media giants, “to carry out a covert online propaganda and influence campaign” with the goal of shaping “public opinion in countries including Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Kuwait.”

Earlier “Twitter Files” also confirmed the “covert online propaganda and influence campaign” reached closer to home. They showed the FBI falsely framing the Hunter Biden laptop story as Russian disinformation to prompt Twitter and Facebook to censor the damning evidence of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden’s pay-to-play scandal, thereby influencing the 2020 presidential campaign. The “Twitter Files” connected to Covid likewise revealed our government’s willingness to use propaganda on her own citizens when bureaucrats believe it’s warranted.

Courts May Not Find This a 1A Violation

These details—and more—revealed over the last month paint a disturbing picture of a cozy relationship between the federal government and private platforms. But they do not necessarily establish the government violated the First Amendment according to current jurisprudence. In fact, reading the internal communications against the backdrop of First Amendment jurisprudence indicates the federal government used care to avoid crossing the judicial line.

Here, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s recent exposition on the First Amendment in the context of Twitter and other private entities provides a necessary constitutional backdrop.

“Although a ‘private entity is not ordinarily constrained by the First Amendment,’” Thomas explained, “it is if the government coerces or induces it to take action the government itself would not be permitted to do, such as censor expression of a lawful viewpoint.” “Consider government threats,” the originalist justice continued, quoting from Bantam Books, Inc., v. Sullivan, the controlling Supreme Court precedent on the issue: “People do not lightly disregard public officers’ thinly veiled threats to institute criminal proceedings against them if they do not come around.”

“The government cannot accomplish through threats of adverse government action what the Constitution prohibits it from doing directly,” Thomas continued. “Under this doctrine, plaintiffs might have colorable claims against a digital platform if it took adverse action against them in response to government threats.” But there were no threats alleged in the case on which Justice Thomas opined, leaving the issue for another day. Thomas added, though, that “what threats would cause a private choice by a digital platform to ‘be deemed . . . that of the State’ remains unclear.”

FBI Crafted Emails to Withstand 1A Challenges

Reading the emails published in the “Twitter Files “against the backdrop of Justice Thomas’ synopsis of the First Amendment’s reach to social media platforms suggests the government may not have acted unconstitutionally in flagging supposed election misinformation. Not only did the government not threaten Twitter, but the emails reveal the FBI employed boilerplate language to avoid sparking a First Amendment case based on government threats.

“Twitter folks,” the typical email began, followed by, “Please see below list of Twitter accounts which we believe are violating your terms of service by disseminating false information about the time, place, or manner of the upcoming elections.” In general, the FBI then ended the emails by indicating the FBI had provided the information “for any action or inaction deem[ed] appropriate within Twitter policy.”

Such language indicates the FBI wanted to be seen as seeking cooperation, not coercion. Thus, under controlling precedent, the government alerting Twitter to what the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, or others believed constituted “misinformation” did not turn Twitter into a state actor.

The Courts Could Shift, But Haven’t

That is not to say, as First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh posited, that there isn’t “room for courts to shift to a model where the government’s mere encouragement of private speech restrictions is enough to constitute a First Amendment violation on the government’s part.”

But the law is not there yet and may never be. Meanwhile, the federal government and its private partners have exponentially increased information-sharing and -gathering efforts, as well as censorship requests. The First Amendment, as currently interpreted, lacks the strength to stop the censorship and other Stasi-esque goals of the deep state.

Moreover, even in cases where federal actors crossed the constitutional line by threatening or otherwise coercing censorship, there is no effective legal recourse. Twitter and other social media outlets may remain silent, either fearing retribution or sharing the government’s objective. If the public even learns of the government’s misconduct later, the harm will be done, as with the FBI’s push for censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story.

Further, in the context of social media censorship, it would be an unusual case in which an individual could establish an injury caused by the government’s First Amendment infringement. Also, even if someone could establish standing to sue, the statute of limitations, or the time period to sue, would likely have long since expired.

In short, current First Amendment jurisprudence cannot solve this serious problem. So the cure rests instead in a revival of the respect due the values underlying the First Amendment—the values of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

If Americans Still Cherished Free Speech

Social media companies that value free speech will ignore requests by the government or private actors to censor speech. Those running the platforms will not do so on their own either. And an American public that honors the principle of free speech and recognizes the intrinsic value of “the marketplace of ideas” will not only not demand speech restrictions but will condemn social media outlets that seek to silence opposing viewpoints.

Journalists and media outlets would scoff at government attempts to silence stories and instead expose the state actors attempting to interfere in the freedom of the press. If freedom of the press were instilled in the soul of journalists, they would see themselves as a check on the government and not accept, at face value, non-answers or claims of “misinformation” from bureaucratic mouthpieces.

Such journalists would not tolerate bosses or media outlets that silenced them for the sake of a favored politician. They also would not tolerate social media giants censoring Americans’ speech.

Few Americans, however, value free speech, having cut their teeth on the belief that speech is violence. And too many journalists act as propagandists on par with the reporters serving the state-run media outlets of totalitarian regimes.

So-Called Journalists Are The Worst Offenders

Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter exposed these truisms. His mere promise of free speech prompted immediate declarations that Twitter had descended into a platform of hate and would soon be dead.

Then, when Musk suspended reporters, pundits, and propagandists such as CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan, former Vox journalist Aaron Rupar, New York Times reporter Ryan Mac, Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell, and Keith Olbermann for sharing links that provided location information for Musk, the media went ape: How dare he censor journalists!

Of course, these same folks have still yet to condemn Twitter 1.0 for suspending an entire newspaper for its accurate political reporting, and for blacklisting and shadow-banning conservatives. Beyond the hypocrisy, if supposedly educated adults really cannot understand that a private business censoring Musk’s location data to protect his two-year-old child isn’t a threat to a free press, they clearly have no understanding of the role of the media in a civil society.

That is not to say that reasonable people cannot disagree on the line drawing. Musk is indeed to blame for some of the backlash because he declared himself a “free speech absolutist” when he isn’t. Musk made that clear last month when he amended Twitter’s Terms of Service to make clear that “denying a violent event, such as Sandy Hook, the Holocaust, and the September 11th attacks” violated Twitter policy. You didn’t see the left-leaning media testing Musk on that molehill, though.

Folks, these are not serious people. They have no semblance of respect for free speech or freedom of the press.

Free Speech Means Debates About Limits

Yes, even with free speech norms there will be disagreements and debates: Should a media outlet, including Twitter, temporarily delay the publication of a story on U.S. troop movements? Should Twitter ban the sharing of a story, say, that George W. Bush skirted his National Guard duties, when government officials tell Twitter they are 100 percent sure it is false information based on fake documents? Should the government even tell Twitter that?

Should Twitter voluntarily give the government, without a warrant, information on sex traffickers? What about tax cheats or insider traders? Should Twitter meet with the government regularly to learn about Russian bot farms in other countries designed to cause internal strife? What about banning foreign actors seeking to influence our elections with false information?

What if the information is true, but China seeks to promote the stories to ensure its preferred candidate wins the presidential election? Or what about the United States doing the same to influence the elections in other countries?

What about allegations that Iran is using social media to groom troubled children into school shooters? Should the government share that intel with Twitter and other social media companies and, if so, what should the platforms do? And how proactive should Twitter and others be to censor communications that fit the pattern of “grooming” youth to attack schools even before they reach the stage of violence?

The hypotheticals are unlimited. But in 99 percent of the cases, where free speech and a free press are valued by both the users and the private decision-makers, the answers fall within the clear “I know it when I see it” category of either permissible speech or advocating or threatening violence. Since Americans no longer cherish those values, we are seeing what the “Twitter Files” expose—censorship of everything from profoundly important political speech to silly satire.

First Amendment jurisprudence won’t save the day. Only a resurgence of respect for the values underlying that constitutional amendment will.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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MUST WATCH: “I Am Urging House Republicans to Immediately Send Preservation Letters” – President Trump Makes HUGE Announcement Vowing to Reclaim Our First Amendment Rights

Gateway Pundit | By Jordan Conradson Published December 15, 2022 at 3:15pm

President Trump made a major announcement today about his plan to liberate the American people and restore the First Amendment rights that were stolen by “a sinister group of deep state bureaucrats, Silicon Valley tyrants, left-wing activists, and depraved corporate news media.”

President Trump announced yesterday that he was coming out with a major announcement today.

As The Gateway Pundit reported earlier, President Trump announced that his team has created digital trading cards for sale.

TRENDING: The Albert Sensor Systems: How Government and a 501(c)3 Tracks Real-Time Election Data in 98% of the US – Put Into Effect by DHS After Trump Won in 2016

This was not the announcement we were expecting.

However, President Trump made another absolutely huge announcement promising, “When I am president, this whole rotten system of censorship and information control will be ripped out of the system at large.”

One Twitter user said, “Trump Card was the noise, then comes the signal.”

“The censorship cartel must be dismantled and destroyed, and it must happen immediately,” declared the President.

President Trump also announced penalties for violations of “federal civil rights law, campaign finance laws, federal election law, securities law, and antitrust laws, the Hatch Act, and a host of other potential criminal, civil, regulatory, and constitutional offenses.”

The Trump Administration will crack down on nonprofits, universities, tech tyrants, deep state bureaucrats, and deep state elected officials who engage in this unconstitutional censorship and election interference.

To assist in these efforts, I am urging House Republicans to immediately send preservation letters, and we have to do this right now, to the Biden administration, the Biden campaign, and every Silicon Valley Tech giant, ordering them not to destroy evidence of censorship,” said President Trump.

President Trump also called on Congress to pass a digital Bill of Rights and require government officials to have a court order before taking down online content. This will bar them from their current ability to send requests to government agencies and social media websites to remove content.

The Gateway Pundit recently reported that Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, admitted that Twitter has been interfering in our elections by censoring information and accounts and boosting content they agree with. This is also happening at the request of government officials.

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Donald Trump Unveils Free Speech Policy Plan to ‘Shatter Left-Wing Censorship Regime’

Former President Donald J. Trump unveiled a free-speech policy platform on Thursday to “shatter the left-wing censorship regime and reclaim the right to free speech for all Americans.”

The 45th president shared a video to his Truth Social account where he details a number of policy steps he would enact, if elected president, to prohibit censorship by government agencies and big tech companies.

These plans include revising Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, establishing a cooling-off period requiring former employees of the FBI, CIA, and other government agencies to wait seven years before joining tech companies that have “vast quantities of U.S. user data,” and establishing a “digital bill of rights,” among several other actions.

Trump laid out five steps he plans to take to secure free speech:

First, within hours of my inauguration, I will sign an executive order banning any federal department or agency from colluding with any organization, business, or person to censor, limit, categorize, or impede the lawful speech of American citizens. I will then ban federal money from being used to label domestic speech as “mis-” or “disinformation.” And I will begin the process of identifying and firing every federal bureaucrat who has engaged in domestic censorship, directly or indirectly, whether they are the Department of Homeland security, the Department of Health and Human Services, the FBI, the DOJ — no matter who they are. 

Second, I will order the Department of Justice to investigate all parties involved in the new online censorship regime, which is absolutely destructive and terrible, and to aggressively prosecute any and all crimes identified. These include possible violations of federal civil rights law, campaign finance laws, federal election law, securities law and anti-trust laws, the Hatch Act and a host of other potential criminal, civil, regulatory, and constitutional offenses. To assist in these efforts, I am urging House Republicans to immediately send preservation letters, and we have to do this right now, to the Biden Administration, the Biden campaign, and every Silicon Valley tech giant, ordering them not to destroy evidence of censorship. 

Third, upon my inauguration as president I will ask Congress to send a bill to my desk revising Section 230, to get big online platforms out of censorship business. From now on, digital platforms should only qualify for immunity protection under Section 230 if they meet high standards of neutrality, transparency, fairness, and nondiscrimination. We should require these platforms to increase their efforts to take down unlawful content such as child exploitation and promoting terrorism, while dramatically curtailing their power to arbitrarily restrict lawful speech. 

Fourth, we need to break up the entire toxic censorship industry that has arisen under the false guise of tackling so called “mis-” and “disinformation.” The federal government should immediately stop funding all nonprofits and academic programs that support this authoritarian project. If any U.S. university is discovered to have engaged in censorship activities or election interference in the past, such as flagging social media content for removal or blacklisting, those universities should lose federal research dollars and federal student loan support for a period of five years and maybe more. 

We should also enact new laws laying out clear criminal penalties for federal bureaucrats who partner with private entities to do an end-run around the constitution and deprive Americans of their First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights — in other words, deprive them of them of their vote. And once you lose those elections, and once you lose your borders like we have, you no longer have a country. Furthermore, to confront the problems of major platforms being infiltrated by legions of former deep staters and intelligence officials, there should be a seven-year cooling off period before any employee of the FBI, CIA, NSA, DNI, DHS, or DOD is allowed to take a job at a company possessing vast quantities of U.S. user data.

Fifth, the time has finally come for Congress to pass a digital bill of rights. This should include a right to digital due process. In other words, government officials should need a court order to take down online content, not send information requests such as the FBI was sending to Twitter. Furthermore, when users of big online platforms have their content or accounts removed, throttled, shadowbanned, or otherwise restricted no matter what name they use, they should have the right to be informed that it’s happening, the right to a specific explanation of the reason why, and the right to a timely appeal. In addition, all users over the age of 18 should have the right to opt out of content moderation and curation entirely and receive an unmanipulated stream of information if they so choose. 

He concluded by calling the “fight for free speech” a “matter of victory or death for America and the survival of Western Civilization itself.” 

“When I’m president, this whole rotten system of censorship and information control will be ripped out of the system at large,” he added. “There won’t be anything left.”

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President Trump Announces Plan to Protect Free Speech and Digital Bill of Rights

This afternoon President Donald Trump released a video outlining a campaign platform position around free speech. {Direct Rumble Link}

Referencing the latest revelations about various political groups, campaigns and government agencies instructing social media platforms on the removal of content, President Trump notes his position would be to dismantle the government systems that facilitate the censorship.   President Trump notes he would sign an executive order banning any federal agency from censoring of limiting the free speech of American citizens.

Additionally, President Trump noted he would ban federal money from being used to label domestic speech as misinformation or disinformation, along with firing any bureaucrat who has previously engaged in the domestic censorship, directly or indirectly, including within all agencies of the DHS, FBI or DOJ who have targeted the free speech rights of Americans.  WATCH:

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Among other initiatives, President Trump called for the federal government to break ties with any nonprofits and academic programs that are aimed at tacking mis- and disinformation.

“If any U.S. university is discovered to have engaged in censorship activities or election interferences in the past, such as flagging social media content for removal of blacklisting, those universities should lose federal research dollars and federal student loan support for a period of five years, and maybe more,” he said.

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