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Lee Goodman just completed his first year on the Federal Election Commission where he is also three-quarters through a yearlong term as Chairman. While he wasnt on the Commission when the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Citizens United, he did spearhead the rulemaking that formalized how newly freed corporate speech will be regulated. This involved finding a way to break a five year deadlock. The rules, recently approved by a 4-2 vote, make clear that corporations will not be subject to any new onerous disclosure requirements. Instead, as the Supreme Court intended, political speech is freer, which is a very good thing.

Last week, I interviewed Chairman Goodman by telephone. He spoke passionately about the benefits to democracy from more and freer political speech. He believes strongly that Americans are quite capable of listening to a wide variety of viewpoints and then making an informed choice when they vote. He made his argument on this point as follows:

My view is Citizens United righted the ship of speech in America. Americans, even when organized in associations, should have the right to speak as much as they want about government, the issues of the day, and those seeking to be elected to public office. For about 35 years in American history we banned certain speakers and, therefore, certain political views from the debate.

Clearly, Chairman Goodman is in favor of free speech. He understands that the First Amendment was meant to protect political speech of all sorts, without limits on sources or number. He went on to make clear why limiting free speech is a bad idea:

Some people would rather remove certain podiums from the debate than meet the merits of those views in a debate. Government assumed an improper role in controlling debate. Citizens United corrected this, recognizing that all speakers, including those who choose to incorporate their association, should be allowed into the debate. The American people are better off when they hear more viewpoints, not fewer. They have a right to choose whether to listen to a viewpoint, or not to listen.

This is a hopeful view of the American people. Chairman Goodman believes in the inherent abilities of citizens to make wise choices collectively, and also in their inherent right to make poor choices at times and live with the resultant outcomes. Importantly, in stark contrast to the hyperbolic voices on the side of restricting free political speech, Chairman Goodman recognizes that the volume of speech alone does not determine elections:

Evidence from the 2012 election cycle, analyzed by the Sunlight Foundation, showed that in many cases the win/loss rate for big political groups was quite low (sometimes less than 10 percent). This is proof that more speech does not determine the outcome of elections.

Disagreeing further with those in favor of restrictions on political speech, Chairman Goodman also argued against the oft-advanced proposition that speech must be limited in order to avoid corruption:

I dont believe speech corrupts politicians. I dont believe that President Obama has taken positions or changed positions on issues due to the hundreds of millions of dollars in political contributions and speech in the 2012 election. Rather, speech chases political positions more than the other way around. Further, for those who advance the position that speech corrupts politicians, let them name politicians that are examples of such corruption.

Finally, Chairman Goodman spoke in favor of the prospect that Citizens United, helped by the more recent McCutcheon decision, will make elections more competitive. In other words, more money and more viewpoints will make the political landscape more even, not less:

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FEC Chairman Has A Passion For Free Speech


November 9, 2014 @ 6:00 pm




Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater 555 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest Washington, DC 20001 USA


Free to Newseum Sustaining members and Friends of the First Amendment Society members.


The Newseum welcomes Jon Stewart for a screening of his new film, Rosewater, which chronicles the true story of Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari and marks The Daily Show hosts directorial debut.

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Daily Show host Jon Stewart Discusses His New Film, Rosewater

Google, Facebook and Twitter are warning that giving companies the power to unmask anonymous Yelp reviewers would strike a blow to Internet free speech.

The right to speak anonymously would be greatly diminished if those who objected to anonymous speech could readily employ civil discovery to unmask a speaker, the companies said in a court brief backing Yelps effort to shield the anonymity of its users, even ones who post critical reviews that may be fraudulent.

The closely watched dispute before Virginias highest court centers on a complaint brought by the owner of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning Inc. in Springfield, Va., Joe Hadeed, who claims his suburban business was besieged by a rash of harsh Yelp reviews in 2012. That summer, as WSJs Angus Loten earlier recounted, Mr. Hadeed sued the seven reviewers for defamation and demanded that Yelp disclose their true identities.

He claims at least seven of the bad reviews about his business were fraudulent possibly posted by competitors including one review that came from Haddonfield, N.J., where the company doesnt do business. He says his sales plummeted after the comments were posted.

A state trial court and the Virginia Court of Appeals sided with Mr. Hadeed, holding Yelp in contempt for not turning over the names. Yelp then took its case to the state Supreme Court, arguing that the reviews are protected under the First Amendment.

The ruling fails to give adequate respect to the First Amendment right to anonymous speech, Google, Facebook, Twitter and three other web companies wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief filed Monday. The brief said Yelp has transformed and elevated this countrys long tradition of town halls, private assemblies, robust debate, and anonymous complaints by bringing it online and making it more accessible to people everywhere.

The document was filed Monday, a day before lawyers representing the two sides argued their case before Virginias high court.

Mr. Hadeeds attorney, Raighne C. Delaney, said the free-speech concerns were overblown, according to an Associated Press report on Tuesdays hearing. These businesses are not looking to go out and sue people for no reason, he said.

He told the judges, according to AP, that his client had first made a good faith effort to determine whether the reviewers were Hadeed customers before demanding that Yelp disclose their identities.

Paul Alan Levy, an attorney for Yelp, argued in court that the mere suspicion that the critical comments werent coming from real customers doesnt justify unmasking the reviewers, according to AP.

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Unmasking Yelp Users Would Hurt Free Speech, Warn Google and Facebook

Manufacturing Ignorance UFOs, the First Amendment and National Security LIVE youtube original

By: Moriah7

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Manufacturing Ignorance UFOs, the First Amendment and National Security LIVE youtube original – Video

Cau 6 : What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?
What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment? Speech.

By: Andy Vu Tran

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Cau 6 : What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment? – Video

A Photographer's Guide to the First Amendment (and what to do if you get arrested)
Great informational video.

By: EMSNews Arizona

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A Photographer’s Guide to the First Amendment (and what to do if you get arrested) – Video

Lawful Larry and the First Amendment

By: Ande Lloyd

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Lawful Larry and the First Amendment – Video

Keynote Address: Public Health in the Shadow of the First Amendment
Keynote Address: Public Health in the Shadow of the First Amendment.

By: BY65464

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Keynote Address: Public Health in the Shadow of the First Amendment – Video

Oct 272014

IX Tab – Dance Dance Dance
a short promo for the second IX Tab album, ROC, featuring a first amendment of the track St James and The 28 Pieces that I had lying around.

By: saxonroach

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IX Tab – Dance Dance Dance – Video

Yale Conference on Public Health in the Shadow of the First Amendment
Yale Conference on Public Health in the Shadow of the First Amendment.

By: Ny78121dsfd

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Yale Conference on Public Health in the Shadow of the First Amendment – Video

Oct 272014

Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2014 10:57 pm

Letter: The Second Amendment Philip Jones, junior in computer science

More people need education about the Second Amendment and why the Second Amendment was created in the first place. The Founding Fathers created the Second Amendment as a means to protect the peoples rights throughout future generations. They also created the Second Amendment to be prepared for the next revolution. However, gun control laws are taking these rights away. The more gun control laws on the books, the weaker our country gets. Gun-free zones right here at North Carolina State and other colleges is not only an infringement of our law-abiding rights, but it also makes the campus more unsafe. Campus police is a great resource to have. However, they can only respond so quickly. Concealed carry should be supported on campus, not feared. There have been no incidents since the gun rights in-car campus gun laws were passed. About 99 percent of concealed carry permit holders are law-abiding citizens because criminals will not go through the process to get a concealed carry. Having concealed carry on campus would make our campus and other colleges safer. Off campus, the worst thing to hear is people saying, The Founding Fathers only had muskets. Well, that is also saying the First Amendment should only apply to print media and not television or the Internet. The same applies to the Second Amendment, such as AR-15s and AK-47s. I would hate to see the day when the next revolution comes to our home country and we are unprepared because of tyranny from our lawmakers. Too many people died for the freedom of the Second Amendment, and my generation and future generations are the only people who can be more educated about our Constitution, and stop tyranny from the government.

Posted in Opinion, Letters to editor on Sunday, October 26, 2014 10:57 pm.

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Letter: The Second Amendment

Tavares Florida/First Amendment Audit
PINAC Reporter Detained for Photographing Courthouse, Accused of Being Possible Terrorist By Andrew Meyer


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Tavares Florida/First Amendment Audit – Video

David Kendall '66 gives the inaugural Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse initiative First Amendment Keynote Address, The First Amendment and the Internet…

By: WabashCollege

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Ensuring Appropriate Use of Health Data Without Violating the First Amendment
Ensuring Appropriate Use of Health Data Without Violating the First Amendment.

By: Rhj1n21

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Ensuring Appropriate Use of Health Data Without Violating the First Amendment – Video

The First Amendment (Historically Speaking) – Episode #6
Frederick Douglass Dixon hosts this weekly segment on UPTV.


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The First Amendment (Historically Speaking) – Episode #6 – Video

First Amendment Video Project
Group Members: Noah, Dylan, Josh, and Riley – Animas High School, Seniors – Feel free to view the rest of the seniors' videos at http://ahshumanities12.weebl…

By: ahshumanities12

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First Amendment Video Project – Video

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Newswise WASHINGTON, DC (October 23, 2014)One billion Facebook users generate 2.7 billion likes per day (or 1,875,000 every minute). Increasingly, social media has become a form of social and political engagement, and 47 percent of Facebook users have liked political cause-related comments. Protected free speech is a luxury the Western world has long enjoyed. Does clicking the universally understood thumbs-up like constitute actual speech? It conveys a message understood by most, but should it command constitutional protection? A recent article in the National Communication Associations First Amendment Studies journal explores legal precedents surrounding this form of communication and surveys Facebook users attitudes.

In the case of Bland v. Roberts, an employee was fired for liking a campaign lobbying against his boss. The employee claimed the right to free speech, but the judge ruled that in the absence of sufficient speech, the case could not proceed to trial. The employee was not reinstated. An ensuing debate revealed that large numbers of individuals felt this judgment would lead to fear and inhibition, and deter free expression of ideas and opinions onlinethe chilling effect. Ironically, the First Amendment protects symbolic language, even rude gestures such as the finger. If it can stretch this far, then surely it is not unreasonable to expect coverage for the Facebook thumbs up. In the context of todays morphing methods of communication, is the law failing to keep up?

The authors developed a study of Facebook users and devised a First Amendment Scale to examine the value of computer source code communication and its relation to free speech. Four hundred forty-four participants took part. More than half had liked political content in the past. Four hypotheses were tested and all proved true:

1. Like users most certain of who would see their like expected recipients to understand their meaning. 2. Those who felt they had sent a message with a like were sure that recipients understood. 3. Participants believed when using like on political content that their posts were constitutionally protected. 4. Those using like to convey a message believed that this should be protected by the First Amendment.

The most common interpretations for like amongst participants were agree, support, and generally endorse a person, place, or idea. Overall, participants believed that a like was akin to speech as described in the First Amendment.

The twist in the tale is that on appeal, the Bland v. Roberts judgment was reversed, finding that the thumbs up indeed qualified for protection. In both offline and online domains, each community of social practice negotiates its own language conventions and creates its own democracy of meaning. The parsing of the First Amendment will continue to be influenced by these communities, note the studys authors, Susan H. Sarapin of Troy University and Pamela Morris of the University of WisconsinLa Crosse. They finish by urging further research on the chilling effect and its potential negative impact on freedom of speech online.



Excerpt from:
Should a Facebook "Like" Be Protected Free Speech?

Pro-life protestors had planned to put a JumboTron outside the Alamo with abortion images on it, but the City of San Antonio shut down the protest Wednesday morning. Demonstrators said it’s a violation of their First Amendment rights.

Protestors have put up a JumboTron with abortion images in other cities already and Love of Truth ministries said they cleared a permit with the City of San Antonio to do so a month ago. It wasn’t until Tuesday night that the City said the demonstration violates a sign ordinance.

“Part of the permit, which would have enabled them to put a JumboTron on the plaza, was revoked this morning,” said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.

“If we were going to preform abortion today the city would allow that, cause that’s legal, but showing it, somehow they’re finding a way to find that against the law,” said Mark Harrington, national director of Created Equal that was co-hosting the protest.

Harrington said now his organization has two causes to fight for; the end of abortion and first amendment rights.

“Unpopular speech is the reason the First Amendment was written to begin with. It protects disturbing, unpopular, offensive speech,” said Harrington.

Several people visiting the Alamo Wednesday said they had differing opinions on whether the JumboTron should be allowed.

“When people don’t have the choice whether to see those images or not, I don’t think that’s right,” said Shannon Thomas who was at the Alamo Wednesday.

“I think they should be allowed to do what they were permitted for, and I think it’s just the government trying to squelch anything that has to do with religion, or anything faith based,” said Ava Tanner who was also visiting the Alamo.

“I don’t necessarily agree with their tactics, but I do believe that to a certain extent it’s protected by the First Amendment,” said Lyndon Lee, another Alamo visitor.

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San Antonio tells pro-life protestors they can't use JumboTron at Alamo

First Amendment restrictions at the Baltimore County Animal Shelter
TAKE ACTION: No cute animal pics? Sarah Hardy took pictures of dogs and cats at the Baltimore County Animal Shelter to help them find h…

By: ACLU Maryland

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First Amendment restrictions at the Baltimore County Animal Shelter – Video

The Future of the First Amendment
This is Tyler and Reuben's Senior First Amendment Project for Animas High School. You are welcome to view the rest of the projects at the Humanities teacher'…

By: ahshumanities12

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The Future of the First Amendment – Video

FireFox! Start Your Own Web Hosting Company
Web Hosting Advertise Here $10 a Month Affordable web-hosting
Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

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