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Have a Happy, Politics-Free Thanksgiving

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 11/25/2015 - 10:35
Many people naturally assume that since I work in political journalism, I must breathe, drink and eat politics 24/7/365 -- including on the Thanksgiving holiday. The thought of it gives me indigestion. 2015-11-25T00:01:00-05:00 2015-11-25T15:35:05Z Michelle Malkin

Tragedy of Errors: DOD says US misidentified target in striking charity's Afghan hospital

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 11/25/2015 - 08:57
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan acknowledged Wednesday that “human error” was to blame for a U.S. warplane’s fatal strike on a charity hospital in Afghanistan last month, as the official military investigation determined the crew confused the hospital for another building several hundred yards away.

Obama: Global climate summit in Paris a 'rebuke' to terrorists

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 11/25/2015 - 08:24
President Obama concluded his formal remarks at a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday by saying that next week’s Global Climate Conference in Paris will be a “powerful rebuke” to terrorists such as the Islamic State.

New rules for overtime could cost home-care workers

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 11/25/2015 - 08:19
New U.S. Department of Labor regulations mean almost 2 million home-care aides, who often work long and unpredictable hours, will be paid time-and-a-half for clocking more than 40 hours a week.

New Jersey's Christie: Obama 'naive' on ISIS threat

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 11/25/2015 - 08:08
Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie says President Barack Obama continues to underestimate the threat posed by Islamic State militants despite the Paris attacks.

How to Rescue Free Speech in American Academia

Cato Recent Op Eds - Wed, 11/25/2015 - 07:22

Nat Hentoff

In last week’s column, I described how the national anti-free speech movement poses an imminent threat to freedom of expression in American academia.

Those advocating for the anti-free speech movement attempt to interpret the “language of free speech” to their advantage so that it applies only to them, but not to others. Their analysis often cites Title IX’s antidiscrimination provisions and accuses free speech advocates of using “weaponized words” to silence anti-racism protestors, but invariably ignores the long history of court decisions that have repeatedly applied First Amendment protections to offensive speech at public universities.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has had tremendous success with its Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, which its website describes as “a national effort to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes through targeted First Amendment lawsuits.”

The Los Angeles Times described FIRE’s work as “the first-ever coordinated legal attack on free speech restrictions in higher education.”

While the Supreme Court’s decisions interpreting the First Amendment apply only to public universities, it is vital that we also protect the core values of freedom of expression at private colleges. How can this be accomplished?

One solution whose time may have come is for Congress to pass legislation that withholds federal funding and tax exemptions from private universities that fail to adopt freedom of expression standards consistent with the U.S. Constitution.

Another option would be to rely on what Supreme Court Justice William Brennan called “the independent protective force of state law.” The high court has held that states may provide greater protections for free speech in their own constitutions, statutes and common law than those found in the U.S. Constitution.

Indeed, a number of state supreme courts have ruled that free speech provisions in their own constitutions have more expansive protections than the U.S. Constitution. In some cases, the state supreme courts have applied those free speech provisions to expressive activity that occurs on private property.

In 1992, California adopted Leonard Law — the only one of its kind in the country — which applied the same free speech protections to high schools and private colleges as those that apply to the community as a whole under the U.S. Constitution. Free speech advocacy groups should consider launching a coordinated national public policy campaign to pass a Leonard Law in each state.

Some state supreme courts, such as Connecticut’s, have allowed students and faculty at private universities, like Yale, to use breach of contract lawsuits to enforce promises found in promotional materials, official policies, handbooks and regulations.

For example, Yale’s website informs current and prospective students “that when you agree to matriculate, you join a community where ‘the provocative, the disturbing, and the unorthodox’ must be tolerated.”

According to the school’s undergraduate regulations, which students are required to comply with as a condition of enrollment, “every member of the University has an obligation to permit free expression,” and that “no member has a right to prevent such expression.”

The undergraduate regulations also acknowledge that “every official of the university … has a special obligation to foster free expression and to ensure that it is not obstructed,” further warning that “this obligation can and should be enforced by appropriate formal sanctions.”

To its credit, Yale reaffirmed its freedom of expression policy earlier this month when it refused student demands to remove professors Erika and Nicholas Christakis from their administrative positions after Erika sent an email defending free speech rights and informing students that they should be able to tolerate offensive Halloween costumes.

But in 2009, Yale College Dean Mary Miller banned the sale of a T-shirt inspired by the school’s football rivalry with Harvard after receiving complaints that its design included a homophobic slur attributed to an F. Scott Fitzgerald quotation: “I think of all Harvard men as sissies.”

Apparently, Miller felt that the offense brought on by the word “sissy” — an archaic gender-neutral noun synonymous with weakness — superseded the offending students’ rights to freedom of expression. Either Miller hadn’t read Yale’s freedom of expression policy, didn’t understand the policy or simply ignored it.

In a recent Wall Street Journal column, L. Gordon Crovitz cited the University of Chicago’s adoption of a similar policy on freedom of expression, which was drafted by a committee formed “in light of recent events nationwide that have tested institutional commitments to free and open discourse.”

Crovitz explained, “Purdue and the Princeton faculty have voted to adopt the Chicago principles,” noting that FIRE “is encouraging other universities to sign up.”

In any event, one thing is clear: University administrators, students and free speech advocates must be prepared to aggressively and consistently enforce all available legal and administrative remedies to protect free speech on campus before it’s too late, and there is no longer any free speech left to protect.

Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. He is a member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Cato Institute, where he is a senior fellow.

Media escalate attacks over Trump stumbles, but he remains impervious

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 11/25/2015 - 05:00
It hasn’t been a great few days for Donald Trump. And it doesn’t seem to matter.

GOP says feds using 'junk science' to attack auto dealers

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 11/25/2015 - 02:45
House Republicans released a report Tuesday accusing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of using "junk science" to show that auto dealers are discriminating against blacks in their lending practices.

Did Clinton State Dept. properly probe ambassador who solicited prostitutes?

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 11/25/2015 - 02:45
Sen. Chuck Grassley pressed the State Department Monday on why an internal investigation into whether an ambassador solicited prostitutes in Belgium was seemingly shut down by Hillary Clinton's top staff in 2011.

FOX News Poll: Trump's deportation plan -- smart, silly or wrong?

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 11/25/2015 - 00:15
Just over half of American voters support Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s suggestion to deport the millions of immigrants who are in the country illegally.

Black Students Matter, White Students Don’t?

TownHall Latest columns - Tue, 11/24/2015 - 23:35
White students formed the Illini White Students Union at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and were called racist. 2015-11-24T13:31:00-05:00 2015-11-25T04:35:05Z Crystal Wright

Obamacare Troubles a Gift to 2016 Candidates

TownHall Latest columns - Tue, 11/24/2015 - 23:35
There have been many articles in the last year with some variation of the headline "GOP Surrenders on Obamacare." The stories mostly concern a tendency among some Republican policy elites to adopt the Washington conventional wisdom that Obamacare cannot be repealed because it has already become deeply entrenched in American life. 2015-11-24T10:40:00-05:00 2015-11-25T04:35:05Z Byron York

Tis The Season for Black Friday Union Organized Protests

TownHall Latest columns - Tue, 11/24/2015 - 23:35
No surprise here. The Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) is planning their annual Black Friday strike at Walmart centers around the country with a twist. 2015-11-24T09:53:00-05:00 2015-11-25T04:35:05Z Ashley Pratte

Who Created These Campus Whiners?

TownHall Latest columns - Tue, 11/24/2015 - 23:35
Remember the campus unrest in the 1960s? Whether or not you agreed with the students, they were protesting about things of great consequence -- civil rights, the military draft, the Vietnam War. 2015-11-24T00:01:00-05:00 2015-11-25T04:35:05Z Stephen Moore

Tolerating the Intolerant

TownHall Latest columns - Tue, 11/24/2015 - 23:35
If, as Franklin Roosevelt said, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, we might have to redefine fear. 2015-11-24T00:01:00-05:00 2015-11-25T04:35:05Z Robert Knight

On Liberty and Thanksgiving

TownHall Latest columns - Tue, 11/24/2015 - 23:35
The first Christmas tree on our block popped up the day after Halloween. Soon enough, garlands of white lights began to adorn neighborhood trees and doorways. It's Christmas -- except that it's not. From what I can see, Thanksgiving has yet to be acknowledged, much less observed. 2015-11-24T00:01:00-05:00 2015-11-25T04:35:05Z Bill Murchison

American Universities Begin to Implode

TownHall Latest columns - Tue, 11/24/2015 - 23:35
For over half a century, American universities, with few exceptions, have ceased teaching and begun indoctrinating. 2015-11-24T00:01:00-05:00 2015-11-25T04:35:05Z Dennis Prager

The America-Basher in Chief Rolls On

TownHall Latest columns - Tue, 11/24/2015 - 23:35
How could America have twice elected a president who not only can't stand America but also won't perform his constitutional duty of defending it? 2015-11-24T00:01:00-05:00 2015-11-25T04:35:05Z David Limbaugh

Lots to Be Thankful For

TownHall Latest columns - Tue, 11/24/2015 - 23:35
Do you realize we've been giving thanks for almost 400 years? 2015-11-24T00:01:00-05:00 2015-11-25T04:35:05Z Tom Purcell

Governors Say "Not in My State!"

TownHall Latest columns - Tue, 11/24/2015 - 23:35
Defying the wishes of the American people, President Obama remains determined to import tens of thousands of poorly screened Muslims as refugees from the civil war in Syria, and scatter them in communities across America. 2015-11-24T00:01:00-05:00 2015-11-25T04:35:05Z Phyllis Schlafly


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