partially a free speech blog, so we’d be remiss in failing to note the passing
of George Carlin. He failed to convince the Supreme Court of the absurdity of
the Federal Communications Commission’s “broadcast indecency” rules that
scrubbed the airwaves during the day and evening (when, presumably, the kiddies
are awake) of those naughty words that we all hear and (if the truth be told)
many of us use quite regularly.
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the owners of the Chicago Cubs are considering enacting a de facto "civility code" at Wrigley field, in response to some Cubs fans who have taken to booing the underperforming left fielder Alfonso Soriano. As Sports Law Blog notes, Wrigley and the Cubbies are privately-owned, so fans don't have First Amendment rights to express their disappointment at their team's defensive performance.
I have two articles in the March 13, 2008 issue of the Boston Phoenix. In the first, Jan Wolfe and I criticize the ill-advised arrest of performance artist Milan Kohout and follow up on his case, which was dismissed in Massachusetts court. In the second article, I report on newspapers' annoying tendency to censor swear words even when those words are at the core of the story being reported.
If you doubt that Alice in Wonderland is the best primer available for understanding the legal system, you might read Tony Mauro's latest piece in the Legal Times. The Supreme Court just denied certiorari in the case challenging the government's warrantless wiretapping program, meaning that though it didn't make a decision as to the merits of the case, it couldn't muster four judges who wanted to consider the legal questions.
By Harvey Silverglate
I was reminded of the convoluted mish-mash that First Amendment law has become (thanks, in large measure, to courts not taking seriously the First Amendment's admonition that the legislature "shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press") after I read Geoff Edgers' article in yesterday's Boston Globe
By Harvey Silverglate
The act of censorship is usually seen as a direct affront to the First Amendment, buts it’s not always that clear and simple. The reason, of course, is that the amendment has several clauses, and at times some of them are in tension with one another, if not in seeming conflict.
Consider today’s curious report in The Boston Globe that the pastor of St.