Category Archives: First Amendment

The University of Chicago professes free expression as a “core value”, and a call by one of our faculty to “end the rot”

“The point of education is not to make you comfortable; it’s to make you think.” —Hanna Gray (former President, University of Chicago, speaking in video below) I greatly fear that one of my roles over the next few years, should this website continue, will be to chronicle the downfall of the University of Chicago as […]

Should we narrow the First Amendment to forbid speech urging violence?

The limitations on “free speech”, as construed by the courts’ parsing of the First Amendment, are well known. No personal threats, no harassment in the workplace, no child pornography, defamation, or false advertising. And, of course, no calling for violence that will predictably lead to imminent violence.   The Encyclopedia Brittanica describes the law.  . . . […]

Supreme Court hands victory to Right and religion, compelling taxpayer to fund religious schools in Montana. Roberts votes with majority.

I haven’t read the decision, so I’ll just leave this in passing. But save your approbation for Chief Justice Roberts, for he joined the court’s 5-4 majority, and wrote the opinion that tax money could be used to support religious schools. The Montana Supreme Court had previously struck down a voucher scheme for school funding […]

A conservative argues for mandatory school prayer to stem the increase in nonbelief

Where else would you find a mushbrain argument like this except in The American Conservative? For it not only sees the decline in religiosity in America as a bad thing, but, importantly, blames it on the lack of mandatory prayer in schools, which, they say, makes religion seem “taboo” to kids and weans them from […]

University of Wisconsin mandates punishments for violating free speech

I have mixed feelings about this report from The Cap Times of Madison, Wisconsin, because while the University of Wisconsin’s (UW) regents seems have taken the issue of students disrupting free speech seriously, I worry about the regents (the University’s governing board) mandating punishments for a single student misbehavior when it doesn’t do that for […]

Pandemic relief causes U.S. government to violate First Amendment by paying churches

You can either read the transcript of this 3-minute National Public Radio report or listen to it—both by clicking on the link below. It turns out that, as part of the $350 billion dollars that the U.S. government has earmarked for loans to help cash-strapped small-businesses during the pandemic, churches and “faith-based organizations” have also […]

FIRE’s yearly Hall of Shame: the 10 worst colleges for free speech

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has issued their booby prize for the ten worst colleges for free speech of the year. (The prize is for 2020 but reflects what happened in previous year.) Click on the screenshot below to go the article. What bothered me, but didn’t really surprise me, is that […]

Supreme court set to further erode the First-Amendment wall between church and state

In the past few years, federal courts have continued a slow erosion of the church-state wall specified by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, often ruling that religious symbols or monuments can remain on public land, or be flaunted by government agencies, because they’re not really religious but simply part of our “tradition.” Now […]

Federal appeals court ruling endangers First Amendment

A new article in The Atlantic by Garrett Epps, writer and legal scholar (he teaches law at the University of Baltimore), describes what both he and I see as a very legal serious challenge to the First Amendment’s free speech provision. Click on the screenshot to read about it. I can state the facts in […]

Truman State rejects student clubs for no good reason, violating First Amendment

I once visited Truman State University (it’s in Kirksville, Missouri—Truman’s state) as a guest of Taner Edis, physicist, atheist, and anti-creationist. It was a pleasant visit, and Taner surely couldn’t have played a role in the latest shenanigans at This school, recounted in the article from FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) that […]