Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Trump's Anti-Speech Agenda Gets a Boost From Lefty Lawyers and Academics

By J.D. Tuccille

It may not yet be "the end of free speech," but that particular fundamental right is probably a bad candidate for a new life-insurance policy.

We have an environment in which the president of the United States is dismissive of the free speech rights of his opponents, prominent constitutional scholars sniff at free speech unless it's used by the "right" people for their favored goals, and the country's leading civil liberties organization is suffering an internal revolt by staffers who oppose "rigid" support for free speech protections.

Last October, President Trump said "It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write." That came just hours after he tweeted, "With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!" And even before Trump took the oath of office, he'd huffed that protesters who burn American flags should face loss of citizenship or jail.

So if you're an academic with expertise in constitutional law, and you have months to watch a populist politician who commands the power of the presidency fulminate about punishing those who criticize him, what do you do? If you're Georgetown Law's Louis Michael Seidman, you suggest that the president might be on to something.

In a forthcoming paper, Seidman's main complaint is that free speech doesn't inherently favor progressivism—it allows too much voice to people who disagree. "At its core, free speech law entrenches a social view at war with key progressive objectives," writes Seidman.

Read the rest here. -Robert Wenzel 


  1. I got excited when I started to read Seidman's linked piece about dumping the Constitution, as it would be great to see a Progressive argue we should get rid of the federal government but, alas, he was only advocating dumping the parts with which he doesn't agree. Sigh.

    1. Meh, I’d still be OK with it. It’s not like the supposed “protections” are worth much anyway.