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  • August 01, 2008
    By Harvey Silverglate

    Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino treads a shameful, unwise, constitutionally dubious, and ultimately ineffective path when he orders his goons to keep the untidy street performers from the plaza surrounding City Hall and Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Relegating the clowns, artists and other performers to a small sliver of territory, outside of the main arena of activity, not only forecloses more than one performance at a time, but relegates the performers to an inconsequential status.

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  • May 12, 2008
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By,
    Wendy Kaminer

    Last month, I criticized the Texas ACLU for its timidity in defense of liberty when Texas authorities raided the polygamous “Search for Zion,” compound, forcibly removed some 460 children from their parents, on the basis of one anonymous phone call (since determined to be a hoax,) and then ordered mandatory DNA testing for everyone.


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  • May 06, 2008
    By Harvey Silverglate

    Today's newspapers carry the obituary for the somewhat accidental civil rights pioneer Mildred Loving, who died last Friday at 68. Loving and her late husband Richard were the plaintiffs in one of the most important civil rights cases ever to reach the Supreme Court. Their exquisitely- and aptly-named case, Loving v.

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  • May 02, 2008
    By Harvey Silverglate

    The ACLU has found itself a strong test case for determining whether a student’s right to privacy is violated when he or she is “outed” to the community by their school. A principal in Memphis, Tennessee, apparently in order to cut down on public displays of affection in school, asked her staff to put together a list of school couples, both straight and gay, and then posted that list publicly, thereby outing an untold number of student romances, including that of a 17-year old gay student, who is now suing for damages.

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  • April 24, 2008
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Finally. Robert and Barbara Curley have dropped their 8 year old
    wrongful death action against 18 alleged members of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA.) The crime that provoked this lawsuit was horrendous: the murder of the Curley's 10 year old son, Jeffrey. But there was never the slightest bit of evidence, or even a reason to suspect, that the defendants in this case had anything to do with it.

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  • March 17, 2008
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Late last year, when Fox News refused to run an ad by the Center for Constitutional Rights, criticizing president Bush for destroying the Constitution, liberals rightly protested, accusing the network of censorship. They should keep this case in mind when considering recent charges by a Wisconsin pro-life group that three university newspapers declined to run its ad cautioning students about the alleged dangers of emergency contraception.

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  • December 14, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    By James F. Tierney

    You may have heard about the Pennsylvania woman who was charged with disorderly conduct for "loudly cursing at her overflowing toilet," which a neighbor -- an off-duty police officer, no less -- heard. The Boston Globe reports that the judge threw out the charges against her because her speech was "protected speech pursuant to the First Amendment."

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  • November 14, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Alberto Gonzales left office patting himself on the back for his work combating online child porn, a Bush Administration priority. Congress has enthusiastically targeted child porn too, even when it’s only imaginary, but ran into resistance from the Supreme Court. This term, however, in U.S. v Williams, the Court is once again considering the right to discuss, or pretend to discuss, child pornography.

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  • October 25, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    New York’s aggravated harassment law is unquestionably unconstitutional, in part, as a federal court ruled in 2002. The law includes a prohibition on communicating with someone “with intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm … in a manner that is likely to cause annoyance or alarm.” In other words, the state legislature tried to criminalize intentionally annoying speech – the sort of speech in which many New Yorkers indulge every day, the sort of speech they are accustomed to hearing, especially from their elected officials.

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  • October 24, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    Any publication that devotes itself to promoting liberty, like this blog, must stop for a moment to take note of the passing of one of the giants in the never-ending battle for freedom. Connecticut attorney Catherine Roraback died last week at the age of 87. While she left no survivors other than a sister who announced her death, she did leave an enormous legacy for which we all should be grateful.

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  • July 25, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    There was a show-tune ditty that was popular back when I was a kid, which younger readers might also identify as the theme song to Married With Children. “Love and marriage,” went the lyric, “go together like a horse and carriage. This, I tell you, brother: You can’t have one without the other.” In quite the same way, in the context of electoral politics, you can’t have speech without money.

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  • May 18, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    In 2005, when the Bush Administration pressured the Public Broadcasting System into dropping an episode of a children’s show with a sympathetic view of a gay family, liberals rightly yelled censorship, decrying the Administration’s bullying and PBS’s failure to resist it. This month, when the Congressional Hispanic Caucus pressured Ken Burns into “amending” his upcoming PBS documentary on World War 11 to include interviews with Latino veterans, many liberals barely seemed to notice.

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  • May 15, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    The mourning period that followed Ronald Reagan’s death three years ago, in which even his fiercest critics agreed to temporarily bite their tongues, clearly won’t apply to the recently deceased Rev. Jerry Falwell. His corpse had barely turned cold before the media erupted into a debate over the demagogue’s true legacy.

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  • April 27, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate
    The Supreme Court heard yet another round of oral arguments April 25th on the ever-perplexing subject of so-called “campaign financing reform” – the efforts by Congress and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to establish rules to limit, in the pet phrase of supporters of these laws, “the corrupting influence of big money” on our electoral system.

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  • March 24, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer

    The ACLU is no stranger to hypocrisy (to facilitate fundraising, it has voluntarily pledged to comply with federal blacklisting law that it otherwise opposes;) but it is not guilty of the inconsistencies that James Huffman imagines in his National Law Journal column. The ACLU’s criticism of Charles Stimson’s attacks on lawyers defending Guantanamo detainees was not at all inconsistent with its previous expressions of concern about the record of then Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.

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