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Transcript of Free Speech
On September 25, 1789 the Bill of Rights was ratified including the First Amendment securing the right of Free Speech
Through the years Free Speech has become one of the most controversial issues in American history
We focused on 5 issues that have arisen through out our history to test the bounds of what Free Speech actually means
These 5 issues include... Alien & Sedition Acts, Westboro Baptist Church, Donald Sterling, Pornography, and the growing Social Media
What Porn does not qualify as Free Speech
Cole Hellyer, Jessica Herzog, Jasmine Chenault
Josh Fox, & Jake Grey
free speech removes government restraints
from the arena of public discussion in the
hope that it will produce a more capable and
What Rights Are At Stake
Expression & opinion
To seek, receive, & impart information & ideas
conflicts & public scrutiny
"Freedom of Expression."
Human Rights Education Association
Brouwer, D. & Hess, A. (2007) "Making Sense of 'God Hates Fags' & 'Thank God for 9/11': A Thematic Analysis of Milbloggers' Responses to Reverend Fred Phelps & the Westboro Baptist Church."
Western Journal of Communication 71(1)
SCHOEN, JOHN C., and EDWARD J. SCHOEN. "Snyder V. Phelps: A Cautiously Outrageous Protest." Southern Law Journal 23.1 (2013): 167-180.
Hudson, David L., Jr. "First Amendment Center." First Amendment Center. First Amendment Center, July 2009. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.
Weiss, Marie. "The Program." Regulating Freedom of Speech on Social Media: Comparing the EU and the U.S. Approach. Stanford Law School, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.
Brown, Pamela. "Supreme Court to Hear Online Free Speech Case." CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Dec. 2014. Web. 01 Dec. 2014
Epps, Garrett. "When Does the First Amendment Protect Threats?" The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 29 Nov. 2014. Web. 02 Dec. 2014
Hudson, David L., Jr. "Pornography & Obscenity." First Amendment Center. First Amendment Center, July 2009. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.
"Primary Documents in American History." Alien and Sedition Acts: Primary Documents of American History (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress). Library of Congress, 2000. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.
"The Alien & Sedition Acts." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.
Westboro Baptist Church
Extremist Christian church based in Kansas
Freedom to speak of & express religious views
Protests at funerals of homosexuals & military personnel killed in Iraq
God's punishment of the whole nation
Defend & attack with their extremist interpretation of Christianity
Public called for free but appropriate speech?
Free expression...means free response,
such as counterprotesting
The Harm Principle & Mill:
intentions & motives
circumstances surrounding the speech
Are Phelps & WBC within means of expressing their views or are they causing harm?
Snyder v. Phelps - Supreme Court 8-1 ruling
Writings, Pictures, Etc. that is intended to arouse sexual desire
Pornography is generally protected as a form of expression under the first amendment.
In 2014 there was over 1.73 billion people on social media websites and apps
Social Media has become a part of our culture and future generations
When should are speech be protected under the First Amendment and when should it be considered illegal?
Several cases about posts on social media but most defense strategies are "It was simply a joke."
The biggest issue with free speech and social media is that speech is not black and white. Many opinions differ in what speech should be considered bad and what speech should be considered good
1. Excessively encourages sexual activity?
2. Clearly defined as offensive?
Elonis v United States
Anthony Elonis posted several raps about his estranged wife, Elonis states he never meant to scare anyone
"There's one way to love you but a thousand ways to kill you. I'm not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts."
“Pull my knife, flick my wrist, and slit her throat Leave her bleedin’ from her jugular in the arms of her partner.”
Donald Sterling had accepted additional laws and regulations under the NBA Constitution
Backlash from players meant that there was increasing pressure on new commissioner Mike Silver
Lebron James - "No room for Donald Sterling in our League"
Magic Johnson - "I will never go to a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner"
Chris Paul - "(Boycotting Clippers games) are something both me and Doc (Clippers head coach) are talking about"
In a constantly more player centric league Silver took on the persona "Player's Commissioner" and banned Sterling from the League and vowed to remove him from ownership which was accomplished this summer with the help of his wife
The NBA Constitution
Article 24 (l) - The Commissioner shall, wherever there is a rule for which no penalty is specifically fixed for violation thereof, have the authority to fix such penalty as in the Commissioner's judgment shall be in the best interests of the Association.
Where a situation arises which is not covered in the Constitution and By-Laws, the Commissioner shall have the authority to make such decision, including the imposition of a penalty, as in his judgment shall be in the best interests of the Association.
The penalty that may be assessed under the preceding two sentences may include, without limitation, a fine, suspension, and/or the forfeiture or assignment of draft choices. No monetary penalty fixed under this provision shall exceed $2,500,000.
Article 35 (a) -
The Commissioner shall have the power to suspend for a definite or indefinite period
, or to impose a fine not exceeding $1,000,000, or inflict both such suspension and fine upon any person who, in his opinion, shall have been guilty of conduct prejudicial or detrimental to the Association.
Article 13 - The Membership of a Member or the interest of any Owner may be terminated by a vote of three fourths (3/4) of the Board of Governors if the Member or Owner shall do or suffer any of the following:
(a) Willfully violate any of the provisions of the Constitution and By-Laws, resolutions, or agreements of the Association.
Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003
No protesting the government? No immigrants allowed in? No freedom of the press. Lawmakers jailed? Is this the story of the Soviet Union during the Cold War?
Alien & Sedition Acts
If a speaker (1) intends to promote lawlessness, (2) expressly incites the same, and (3) the lawlessness provoked presents a (grave and) "clear and present danger" to government interests, the speech act is not protected and may be prosecuted.
Timeline of Alien and Sedition Acts
1789: Louis XVI gets ousted by French Revolutionaries, many Americans, including Thomas Jefferson, rejoice.
1790: news of the brutality in France went global. Extremists pledged to spread their dogma worldwide. A major influx of French dissidents began pouring in, paranoia was born.
Netherlands, Switzerland, and Venice fall, sparking fear that America could be next.
1798: A rally of forty men wearing hats bearing pro-France cockades gathered outside of Adams’s house on Market St. Fight ensued.
Adams passes four laws: Naturalization Act, Alien Act, Alien Enemies Act, and Sedition Act.
1800: Democratic-Republic Party of Jefferson wins, Federalist legacy of Washington dies. Alien & Sedition Acts stain their legacy.