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SCOTUS HEARING: Anti War Protesters Say Secret Service Violated Their First Amendment Rights
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SCOTUS HEARING: Anti War Protesters Say Secret Service Violated Their First Amendment Rights – Video

B. Scott arrives to the 25th Annual GLAAD in Los Angeles in April 2014.

FORTUNE — In August 2013, transgender television personality B. Scott filed a suit against Black Entertainment Television and its parent company Viacom Inc., claiming that the network had discriminated against him based on his gender identity and sexual orientation.

The lawsuit stemmed from Scott’s appearance as a style correspondent at the 2013 BET awards preshow. After his first segment of the night, in which he appeared with heavy makeup and heels, the network told him to tone down his look and change into masculine clothing that was “different from the androgynous style he’s used to … and comfortable with,” according to the complaint.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge decided the case Wednesday, and it came down to theFirst Amendment; not Scott’s freedom to speech and expression, but Viacom’s (VIA).The court found that BET’s decision as to how Scott would appear on camera was part of the network’s creative process of developing and broadcasting the show, which is protected by the First Amendment.

MORE:Americans have fallen in love with real estate once again

The case is by no means the first in which a media company has used the First Amendment as a defenseagainst lawsuits alleging discrimination. The order on Thursday cites several other instances.

There was the racial discrimination case against ABC for its failure to feature non-white contestants on The Bachelorand The Bachelorette. A federal district court in Tennessee dismissed the matter after finding that “casting decisions are a necessary component of any entertainment show’s creative content.” The court said that “the plaintiffs seek to drive an artificial wedge between casting decisions and the end product, which itself is indisputably protected as speech by the First Amendment.”

And there was the lawsuit filed against Warner Bros. by a former writers’ assistant for the television show Friendswho asserted that the use of sexually coarse and vulgar language and conduct by the show’s writers constituted sexual harassment. The Supreme Court of California in that case held that “the First Amendment protects creativity.”

The case thatheld greatestprecedent is a matter in which a group of gay, lesbian, and bisexual Irish Americans sought to participate in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. The U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately heard the case, ruled that it would be a violation of the First Amendment for Massachusetts to require private citizens “who organize a parade to include among the marchers a group imparting a message the organizers do not wish to convey.”

The defendants in these cases arguedthat they didn’t care what their employees or participants are in reality — gay, straight, male, female — but rather how they appear. “They say, ‘We are entitled to create a program that looks the way we want it to look,’” says Eugene Volokh, a professor at UCLA School of Law. And the courts have agreed with them.

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To kill bias suits, companies lean on the First Amendment

For the first two years of their lives, tortoises are kept in protective pens to avoid predators. Photo: Jeffrey Marlow

Youre sailing from the Spice Islands across the open ocean to the South American port of Guayaquil, your financial motives rooted somewhere along a broad spectrum of morality and lawfulness. Several months have passed, and food stores and morale are low. Fortunately, you know a spot that will save the day, a cluster of rocky islands jutting out of the east Pacific near the equator.

For centuries, the Galapagos Islands have been a convenience store for ocean-going journeys, the resident Giant Tortoises serving as the perfect solution to the constant challenge of acquiring fresh meat at sea. These enormous beasts could handle the rigors of shipboard life and could be harvested at any time. Ships throughout the 18th-20th centuries would stop at the Galapagos, herd dozens of tortoises onto the decks, and sail off, assured of a reliable protein source for the remainder of their journey. At one point, an American whaling vessel lost track of a captive tortoise, which ambled out of the hold two and a half years later in Nantucket. Befuddled onlookers promptly killed it and made a stew.

And so, slowly but surely, the Giant Tortoise population was decimated. By the mid-1900s, conservationists began to recognize the problem, just as the increasing rate of international tourism and commerce was introducing another mortal threat to the species.

This one came in the form of fire ants, a voracious invasive species with a taste for baby tortoise. Within 20 minutes of hatching, says naturalist Ernesto Vaca, they swarm and make the baby tortoise disappear. Other human-transported pests, like rats, dogs, and cats, have developed similar dietary proclivities. With the species now facing a genuine threat to its survival, the Centro de Crianza was founded on Isabela Island, and conservationists went into crisis mode, airlifting tortoises with helicopters and initiating a breeding program.

It took a while to develop effective breeding techniques, but today, the Centro boasts a near-perfect success rate from egg to teenage tortoise. The rescue program continues in full force, as the habitat surrounding Isabela Islands many dome-shaped volcanoes have been deemed unsafe for tortoises because of the fire ant threat. Employees and volunteers venture into the dense forest to retrieve tortoise eggs, which are then placed into computer-controlled incubators back at the Centro. The sex of the fledglings is determined by egg incubation temperature above 37.5 C leads to females, below produces males allowing the Centro to generate its ideal ratio of 60% females and 40% males. Just before hatching, the eggs are buried in sand to simulate natural conditions and ensure that baby tortoises can dig upward and outward, a capability that bodes well for future robustness. Until the young tortoises are two years old, theyre placed in cages to offer protection against rats. By five, theyre in open-air enclosures, having received microchips that will track their movements once released into the wild.

And that, after all, is the ultimate goal, to repopulate the Galapagos with one of its most iconic species. Already, several hundred adults have been reintroduced to Espanola, an island particularly hard-hit by wave of threats over the decades. But the long-term prognosis is murky, especially as the invasive species that predate upon tortoises continue to grow in numbers. One option is to bolster the invasive species eradication efforts; another is that the animals will merely live the first few years of their lives in controlled conditions. But for now, the stabilization of the Giant Tortoise population is a victory in itself, a promising example of how conservation efforts can bring an organism back from the brink. As human impact on the unique Galapagos ecosystems increases, the model of tortoise rehab may prove useful in protecting other species from extinction, allowing the islands to maintain their unique treasure trove of biodiversity.

Homepage image: Antje Schultner/Flickr

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Inside the Galapagos Islands Giant Tortoise Rehab Effort

The First Amendment is the most important amendment to protect, but it's not being championed like the Second Amendment has been. Without the First Amendment…

By: Terry Anderson

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Floyd Abrams: “On the Front Lines with the First Amendment”
Floyd Abrams, described as “the most significant First Amendment lawyer of our age,” interviewed by Ron Collins at the 2014 Virginia Festival of the Book. Ho…

By: Thomas Jefferson Center

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Floyd Abrams: "On the Front Lines with the First Amendment" – Video

Apr 172014

First Amendment Selfie News
How well do you know the First Amendment and what it really means?

By: Kaitlin Chappell

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First Amendment Selfie News – Video

At 10 a.m. next Tuesday, the Supreme Court continues its current fascination with free speech and the First Amendment, exploring at a one-hour hearing when an advocacy group can challengea restriction on election campaign rhetoric. Arguing for two advocacy groups in Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus will be Michael A. Carvin of the Washington, D.C., office of Jones Day, withtwenty minutes of time. If the Court, as expected, permits the federal government to join in the argument, its views will be represented by Eric J. Feigin, an Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General, with ten minutes. Ohios lawyer at the lectern, with thirty minutes, will be Ohio Solicitor Eric E. Murphy of Columbus.


The attack ad, often used to shamea candidate in an effort to persuade voters, is as common in todays political campaigns as buttons, town hall meetings, andendorsements. But it is not routine for the government to try to police those ads. The state of Ohio and some fifteen others try to do so, however, and that has helped produce the latest First Amendment case for a Supreme Court that currently has a keen interest inthat amendment, especially in campaign settings.

In all of the history of the First Amendment, theCourt has never ruled that false statements are totally without protection under the Constitution. It made the point again (although in a somewhat uncertain ruling that lackeda clear majority) in the decision two years ago in United States v. Alvarez, which took most of the punch out of a federal law making it a federal crime to falsely claim that one had received a military medal. That, too, involved political speech.

But if a group or an individual wants to challenge a law that outlaws speech, how and when is it allowed togo to courtto claim the protection ofthe First Amendment?That is the issue the Court faces next week, in the first case to reach it in which opposition to the new federal health care law became a campaign issue.

When the House of Representatives in 2010 gave its final approval to the Affordable Care Act (now known widely in politics as Obamacare), one of theDemocrats voting for it was Rep. Steven Driehaus, representing an Ohio district that included Cincinnati and its suburbs. Later that year, he campaigned for reelection, but was defeated.

An advocacy group that is opposed to abortions, the Susan B. Anthony List, made an arrangement to put up a billboard in Driehauss district that would proclaim: Shame on Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion. It also aired radio broadcasts with the same message. The billboard never went up, because the company owning the space backed down when a lawyer for the congressman threatened to sue, claiming the message misrepresented his vote.

Driehaus soon pursued a complaint with the Ohio ElectionsCommission, which has the power to recommend prosecution for violations of a state truth-in-politics law. That law has two key provisions:it prohibits anyone from trying to influence voters by intentionally making a false statement about a candidates voting record, and it prohibits the distribution of any false statement about a candidate if the source knew it was false or didnt care whether it was true or false.

The state commission, in a preliminary vote, sided with Driehaus, but before any prosecution by state officials went forward, Driehaus was defeated for reelection, and his complaint was dismissed by the commission at his request.

Susan B. Anthony List then sued in federal court,seeking to strike down the law under the First Amendment. It sued Driehaus and the state commission, along with its members. Thatcase was joined with one filed by an anti-tax group, the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes, which had wanted to send out emails and other materials also attacking Driehaus for allegedly voting for tax-supported abortion. That group said it had held off sending out its messages because it knew of the commission action on Driehauss complaint, and was deterred from speaking out.

Read more from the original source:
Argument preview: Attack ads and the First Amendment

Liberty Quartet (Ride On) 04-13-14
Liberty Quartet's performance of this song was at the First Assembly of God Church in Albany, Oregon, on April 13, 2014. Group members are Royce Mitchell (ba…

By: psalmofpraise

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Liberty Quartet (Ride On) 04-13-14 – Video

In The Illuminati Garden – Episode 1
the story starts to unfold as we find out that the pontipines stole the dank and iggle piggle is on a mission my first montage parody so pls no haterino ( …

By: Swagadon420

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In The Illuminati Garden – Episode 1 – Video

Freedom Wars Announcement Trailer
Japan Studio's action-RPG is coming to the West. Get your first glimpse here.


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Freedom Wars Announcement Trailer – Video

Originally Published: April 15, 2014 10:32 AMModified: April 15, 2014 11:05 AM

Executives at Novi-based Lotus Bancorp Inc. will not be able to claim a First Amendment right to use racist remarks about customers and their banks board members in a lawsuit in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Judge Denise Langford Morris has denied a motion by the defendants’ attorneys to add the claim of a First Amendment privilege in their defense of a lawsuit brought by two bank customers who alleged that racist behavior by the executives violated the law and led, at least in part, to troubles they had in a dispute over a commercial loan.

Wednesday, the judge will hear two motions in the case, one by defense attorneys to dismiss the suit, and the other by the plaintiffs’ attorneys to grant a partial summary judgment.

An attorney for Lotus, Michelle Wezner of the Royal Oak-based law firm of Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC, had argued last Wednesday that two executives at the bank should be allowed to claim a First Amendment right to send emails describing Asian Indians as chimps and saying they are better dead than alive.

Wezner said the emails werent proof that bank President Neal Searle and Executive Vice President Richard Bauer were unfair in their treatment of customers but were, in part, emotional rantings over frustrations with their Indian board of directors that werent meant to be seen by the general public.

I can be the biggest jerk in the world and say awful, horrible things, but I cant act on it, said Wezner. The emails, she said, indicates they may be jerks, but they didnt act on it. The plaintiffs were treated really well on their loan. All we have is some really awful emails.

Morris denied the motion, saying in part:

The Court, having reviewed the applicable law and being fully advised in the premises, finds that the proposed amendment would be futile because the statements complained of are not entitled to protection under the First Amendment.

In addition, the Court finds that this request, made more than one year after the complaint was filed and after the close of discovery, constitutes an inexcusable delay that would be prejudicial to plaintiffs. It is hereby ordered that defendants motion for leave to file first amended affirmative and special defenses to add (a) First Amendment defense is denied.

See the article here:
Lotus bank execs' racist emails aren't protected by 1st Amendment, judge rules

Tuesday, April 15, 10:22 AM EDT

From The News Service of Florida

The bill (HB 89), which has passed the House and Senate, has drawn widespread attention because it would allow people to show guns or fire warning shots in self-defense if they feel threatened.

The bill also would allow criminal records to be expunged if people are found to have acted legally in self-defense and prosecutors do not pursue charges.

Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, wrote to Scott that the bill has grave implications for public oversight of our judicial and criminal justice systems and is contrary to the public interest.

The expunction provision not only limits public oversight, but potentially could serve as a tool for obscuring law enforcement and prosecutorial misconduct, while also hindering the development of court precedence essential to understanding how and when the proposed use of force law applies, Petersen wrote.

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First Amendment Foundation asks governor to veto 'warning shot' bill

Would that the First Amendment actually said: Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press and centuries from now we solemnly trust these sacred rights will continue to prevail with appropriate application of wisdom and common sense pertinent to their context.

Arguably, there would never even have been a need for Oliver Wendell Holmes to point out that, The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater.

Of course it wouldnt unless free speech were an absolute. It absolutely isnt.

Alas, the Founding Fathers were neither perfect nor perfectly prescient neither John Roberts nor Sheldon Adelson was foreseen.

We do the best we can in 2014 without channeling the enlightened but necessarily Fallible Fathers of 1789. Common sense isnt specifically noted in the Constitution, but we preclude it at our own 21st century risk.

It would be societally embarrassing to add an amendment stipulating common-sense recourse, but a 28th Amendment settling the score on money and free speech would more than suffice. From Citizens United to McCutcheon, the democracy-devolving case is already being made.

Democracy for sale is a clear and present danger and results when the political arena morphs into the purview of billionaire ideologues and vested interests. American exceptionalism shouldnt be disingenuous code for money talks.

Its past time to just flat out say that money is not speech under the First Amendment, any more than corporations are people.

Of course, they arent. But it needs codifying, along with the right to limit what individuals and corporate entities can spend on elections, to pull us back from especially the Super PAC brink.

The time for a common sense, common good, limits-on-obscene spending amendment is upon us. Actually, the Moneyball era is engulfing us.

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ONeill: Time for a campaign finance amendment

A federal securities rule that requires companies to publicly declare whether certain minerals used in products are "conflict free" violates the First Amendment, a divided federal appeals court in Washington ruled on Monday.

Continued here:
D.C. Circuit Trims SEC ?Conflict Minerals? Disclosure Rule

StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty #22 – Bot Buddy A.R.E.S
Wings of Liberty is the first part of the StarCraft 2 trilogy, and the single-player campaign sets the stage well for what follows after. Join me and Jim Ray…

By: YOGSCAST Rythian

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StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty #22 – Bot Buddy A.R.E.S – Video

Cannibal Cop: First Amendment Violated?
Know your rights when talking to a police officer: Never talk to police officer without a lawyer, even when you're not un. This is Texas DPS Highway Patrol O…

By: Muharrem Oduncu

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Cannibal Cop: First Amendment Violated? – Video

An old-fashioned standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and federal officials seems to be over now, but the event has started even more talk about the use of First Amendment zones at public protests.

Continued here:
The Nevada cattle standoff and the First Amendment

Published: Monday, April 14, 2014 at 11:39 AM.

In eliminating yet another federal limit on campaign contributions, the U.S. Supreme Court on April 2 reaffirmed the principle that money is political speech and, therefore, protected under the First Amendment.

That notion enrages those who view dollars spent on politics as a threat to democracy. Indeed, although the courts 5-4 decision in McCutcheon v. FEC struck down a relatively obscure law that limited the total amount an individual can contribute to various federal campaigns over a two-year campaign cycle, critics treated it as the death knell of the republic and a harbinger of the coming oligarchy.

All that rending of garments is over the fact that now a donor can give $5,200 to any number of candidates for federal office, instead of just nine as if 10 represented a tipping point.

At the core of the McCutcheon decision is a debate over corruption vs. influence. The courts majority narrowly defines the former, while the dissenting minority seeks to conflate the two.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, argues that the court has identified only one legitimate governmental interest for restricting campaign finances: preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption, and that the only type of corruption Congress may target is quid pro quo corruption.

In his dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer argues that the definition of corruption should be expanded to include influence over or access to elected officials. But influencing government is a fundamental American freedom, expressed in the First Amendments guarantees of free speech and the right to petition. Indeed, the court has repeatedly ruled that political speech, as opposed to other kinds (such as obscenity), is the primary object of First Amendment protection, and thus held to the highest scrutiny of government interference.

In the case of McCutcheon, Breyer and the other dissenters would uphold laws that restrict an individual citizens ability to influence politics by capping the number of campaigns he can contribute to, but which would allow media organizations unlimited opportunities to opine. Roberts hit on this possibility when he wrote, the Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.

There is a better way to reduce the role Big Money plays in politics, without encroaching on the First Amendment: Give it less to influence.

The increase in the number of lobbying and advocacy groups and the money they spend coincides with the growth of the regulatory state. The more aspects of our lives government attempts to control, the more those affected will seek to influence those decisions as is their constitutional right.

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Editorial: A government not worth influencing

A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court recently invalidated another campaign-finance restriction on First Amendment grounds in McCutcheon v. FEC.

Read more from the original source:
David Hudson: Campaign finance limits hit

StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty #21 – Raiders Roll
Wings of Liberty is the first part of the StarCraft 2 trilogy, and the single-player campaign sets the stage well for what follows after. Join me and Jim Ray…

By: YOGSCAST Rythian

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StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty #21 – Raiders Roll – Video

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Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

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