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Brevard County School Board Floats Lead Balloon. Still Thinks The Constitution Doesn’t Apply.

We heard from some folks inside of the Brevard County School District building concerning our post on Friday where we noted the School Board is denying people their Constitutional rights.

People in the building asked others about the post and how accurate we were. Not surprisingly, supervisors and others tried to float the idea that the Board had done nothing wrong. They even were citing a Florida Statute to back their opinion.

The statute they are citing is FS 286.0114 which reads in part:

286.0114 Public meetings; reasonable opportunity to be heard; attorney fees.—

(1) For purposes of this section, “board or commission” means a board or commission of any state agency or authority or of any agency or authority of a county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision.

(2) Members of the public shall be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a proposition before a board or commission. The opportunity to be heard need not occur at the same meeting at which the board or commission takes official action on the proposition if the opportunity occurs at a meeting that is during the decisionmaking process and is within reasonable proximity in time before the meeting at which the board or commission takes the official action. This section does not prohibit a board or commission from maintaining orderly conduct or proper decorum in a public meeting. The opportunity to be heard is subject to rules or policies adopted by the board or commission, as provided in subsection (4).

They are clinging to the phrase:

The opportunity to be heard is subject to rules or policies adopted by the board or commission…….

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Randy Fine: Repeal Florida Statute 215.4725 Now And Protect The First Amendment.

In 2016, the State of Florida passed a law that forbids the State from doing business with any company that boycotts or supports a boycott of Israel.

The bill contained a provision that allowed companies whose contracts with the State with a value under $1 million dollars would be exempt.

In 2018, Brevard County Representative Randy Fine sponsored a bill removing the $1 million dollar limit thus banning the State from doing business with any company or person who boycotted Israel or supported such a boycott.

The original bill requires the State to maintain a list of companies that boycott Israel (or support the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement) and have companies certify that they are not taking part in any such boycott before the state signs contract with the company.

About the same time, the State of Arkansas was doing something similar in passing a similar law called “Act 710 that required the State not contract with companies that boycott Israel or support a boycott of Israel.
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The Indefensible.

Amyiah Cohoon was is a sixteen year old sophomore who in March of 2020 was attending Westfield Area High School in Westfield, Wisconsin.
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Free Speech On Campus – Better, But Not Great.

FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, has released it’s annual report concerning free speech on college campuses for the year.

The major findings of the report are:

1) The percentage of schools earning an overall “red light” rating in FIRE’s Spotlight database has gone down for the twelfth year in a row, this year to 24.2%. This is over a four percentage point drop from last year, and is exactly 50 percentage points lower than the percentage of red light institutions in FIRE’s 2009 report.

2) The percentage of private universities earning a red light rating, which stood at 47.1% last year, continued to decrease, coming in at 44.8% this year.
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The First Amendment And Government Property: Free Speech Rules

Part of a continuing series:

The five rules of the First Amendment and Government Property

Rule 1: A few forms of government property are treated as so-called “traditional public forums.” There, the government generally can’t exclude speech based on its content.

The classic examples are sidewalks and parks, as well as streets used for parades. Unless speech falls within one of the narrow First Amendment exceptions, the government can’t restrict it. Such places are technically government property; but that gives the government no extra authority to control such speech.
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Hands On Originals Wins……..Again.

We’ve covered the case of Lexington, Kentucky printer Hands On Originals before here and here.

The Cliff Notes version of this case is rather simple.

In 2012, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) sought quotes for tee-shirts for a Gay Pride Festival. The organizing committee called various shops asking for quotes based on a tee shirt with printing on the front and back of the shirt.

Hands on Original was the lowest bidder for the shirts. The GLSO then called Blaine Adamson, the owner of Hands On Originals in an attempt to negotiate a lower price for the tee-shirts. At this time, the caller identified the group he was representing and the fact that the message on the tee-shirts was to promote a gay pride festival and parade.

Adamson declined to print the tee-shirts as the message was against the company’s beliefs.

One of the important things to note here is that Adamson did not decline to print the tee-shirts because of the sexual orientation of the group, but the message the group wanted on the shirts.

In 2014, the GLSO filed a complaint with the the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission which found that Hands on Originals had discriminated against the GLSO.
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One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other.

If you know anything about us, it is that we are huge defenders of speech and the First Amendment. We will fight, argue and advocate for increasing the “marketplace of ideas” rather than government censorship or the government allowing others to censor people while at a government event.

We may find the ideas that people espouse to be ridiculous and vile, but we will defend their rights to be sphincter muscles.

There are two case going around and frankly, we have been disappointed in the response from conservatives on at least one of them.

First is the case of Essex County College Adjunct Professor Lisa Durdin.

Earlier this month, political commentator Lisa Durden gave a fiery interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, defending a Black Lives Matter chapter’s decision to host a Memorial Day event exclusively for black people.

“Boo-hoo-hoo,” Lisa Durden, who is also an adjunct professor at Essex County College in Newark, said in the June 6 television appearance. “You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your ‘white privilege’ card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter’s all-black Memorial Day celebration.”

In the heated exchange, Carlson responded by calling her “hostile and separatist and crazy.”

“You’re demented actually,” he said. “You’re sick and what you’re saying is disgusting and if you were a Nazi I would say the same thing to you.”

Durden’s remarks spurred both criticism and praise on social media. But what happened less than 48 hours later prompted an even stronger reaction.

On June 8, with about a week left of her summer session of teaching, Durden’s employers at Essex County College suspended her. About two weeks later, Durden was fired from the community college.

The college’s president announced the decision in a lengthy statement Friday, days after Durden met with school officials in a community forum.

It is stunning to us that a college professor would not only sanction, but advocate for segregation. Furthermore, what white person wants to sit in a class taught by a woman who thinks they have some sort of “white privilege” card. How can anyone in that class think they are being graded on the basis of their work and not the color of their skin?

There are a lot of people in this world who like to make outrageous statements to get attention and perhaps that is what Durden was doing. It doesn’t mean that Durden’s comments don’t reflect what she thinks.

Either way, Durden’s comments came back onto the college who fired her.
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Speech Wins. Again.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court published its opinion on the case of Matal v. Tam<./a> This is the case often referred to as “The Slants” case in which the Patent and Trademark Office denied the Slants the ability to copyright the name of the band.

Quoting the decision:

This case concerns a dance-rock band’s application for federal trademark registration of the band’s name, “The Slants.” “Slants” is a derogatory term for persons of Asian descent, and members of the band are Asian-Americans. But the band members believe that by taking that slur as the name of their group, they will help to “reclaim” the term and drain its denigrating force.

The Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) denied the application based on a provision of federal law prohibiting the registration of trademarks that may “disparage . . . or bring . . . into contemp[t] or disrepute” any “persons, living or dead.” 15 U. S. C. §1052(a).

The Slants sued the government on First Amendment grounds.

The arguments and positions from both the Slants and the government are pretty interesting.

The Slants argued that the regulation was being interpreted too broadly by the PTO in covering who groups of people when the statute clearly states “individuals” and persons. The Slants argued that the PTO had allowed other disparaging trademarks previously.

The government argued that the trademark was government speech and not subject to the provisions of the First Amendment. The government also argued that the speech in question was “government subsidized,” and therefore the government could control the content.

The Supreme Court voted 8-0 that the disparagement clause being used by the PTO was unConstitutional.

We loved this part of the decision: (more…)

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