Liberals, Don't Lose Faith in the First Amendment

This piece originally appeared at The New York Times

Have conservatives hijacked the First Amendment?

Critics are increasingly making this claim, maintaining that under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the First Amendment, once an important safeguard for progressive speech, has become a boon to corporations, conservatives and the powerful.

But in most instances, the First Amendment doesn’t favor speech of the right or the left; it simply takes the government out of the business of controlling speakers by virtue of what they say. It often empowers the powerless. And most important, it helps check official abuse.

To be sure, conservatives and corporations are invoking the First Amendment, and sometimes winning. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Roberts court deployed the First Amendment to guarantee that corporations can engage in unlimited campaign spending. A recent study found that the Roberts court has more often protected conservative than liberal speakers.

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Dr. Timothy Leary

"Freedom of speech is important as long as I am doing the speaking": Adolf Hitler circa 1938.

Dirk Jensen

Well that is a right pretty speech considering the internal ACLU memo stating that defense of speech should consider viewpoint and the advancement of conspicuously leftist ideals qualified as 'equality'. The most visible of which was your absences in Charlottesville this year precisely because of the left leaning condemnation you earned from your role in defense of the Charlottesville protest last year. Apparently your donations took a beating along with Antifa. Now you're duplicitously calling for the left not to leave the first amendment behind when to the left and the ACLU that ship has long since sailed and now the left is coming for alternative media like Alex Jones and where are you? Back home awashin your tights?

Dr. Timothy Leary

Try to remember Mr. Jensen that if it was not for the A.C.L.U. we would not have Martin Luther King Day. It would still be National Mayonnaise Day. Mayonnaise? Yuck!

John Thayer

How about our Second Amendment rights?

Louis Hooffstetter

John Thayer, you are absolutely right. We all know the ACLU is a liberal organization in general, but to their credit, they have been steadfast in their defense of the First Amendment. Now it's time for them to stand up for ALL of the rights of Americans guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, including the one they don't particularly care for, the Second Amendment. And here's why:

The founding fathers knew first hand about abusive government. They wrote the Bill of Rights to protect the citizens of this country from the government (our own government). They realized that the rights enshrined in our First Amendment: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble in groups, and the freedom to petition the government to redress grievances were just talk, unless they were somehow protected against an over-reaching government. They also knew that any government can become over-reaching, even a Republic and a Democracy. And that is exactly why the guarantee for the citizens to keep and bear arms is the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment was written specifically to protect our first Amendment rights from those who would seize control of the government.

Louis Hooffstetter

John Thayer, you are absolutely right. We all know the ACLU is a liberal organization in general, but to their credit, they have been steadfast in their defense of the First Amendment. Now it's time for them to stand up for ALL of the rights of Americans guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, including the one they don't particularly care for, the Second Amendment. And here's why:

The founding fathers knew first hand about abusive government. They wrote the Bill of Rights to protect the citizens of this country from the government (our own government). They realized that the rights enshrined in our First Amendment: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble in groups, and the freedom to petition the government to redress grievances were just talk, unless they were somehow protected against an over-reaching government. They also knew that any government can become over-reaching, even a Republic and a Democracy. And that is exactly why the guarantee for the citizens to keep and bear arms is the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment was written specifically to protect our first Amendment rights from those who would seize control of the government.

Anonymous

Is it because. Some justices, don't believe in We the People, but in taking bribes from the greedest filthy rich of this country.
Then giving them what they want. To be above the laws. The upper class.

Anonymous

Come on now, you can't prove that the liberals on the court are on the take, but yes, it sure seems like they are, well either that, or they dislike the constitution and people having rights.

Anonymous

Is it because. Some justices, don't believe in We the People, but in taking bribes from the greedest filthy rich of this country.
Then giving them what they want. To be above the laws. The upper class.

Anonymous

lol, I love that the comments section of this article has a censor officer

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