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Glenn Greenwald Confronts American “Liberals” Trying to Destroy Free Speech

Original newz story - Click here

This regressive movement was most readily apparent on college campuses, where hordes of sheltered and emotionally stunted students demanded restrictions on free speech in order to prevent themselves from being offended by an ever expanding list of unhappy thoughts and words. However, what is far more troubling, albeit much less public, are attempts by two fascist academic authoritarians, to convince the American citizenry to relinquish their First Amendment rights in the name of fighting ISIS. One of these men is a close advisor to President Obama.

Glenn Greenwald does a great job of calling both of them out over at the Intercept. Here are a few excerpts from his article:

The NYT article notes that “in response to the Islamic State’s success in grooming jihadists over the Internet, some legal scholars are asking whether it is time to reconsider” the long-standing “constitutional line” that “freedom of speech may not be curbed unless it poses a ‘clear and present danger’ — an actual, imminent threat, not the mere advocacy of harmful acts or ideas.”

The NYT cites two recent articles, one in Bloomberg by long-time Obama adviser Cass Sunstein and the other in Slate by Law Professor Eric Posner, that suggested limitations on the First Amendment in order to fight ISIS. It describes growing calls to ban the YouTube lectures and sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American cleric whom the U.S. assassinated by drone in 2011 (and then, two weeks later, killed his 16-year-old American son). It also notes that the desire to restrict the internet as a means of fighting ISIS has seeped into the leadership of both parties: Donald Trump said the “internet should be closed up” to ISIS, while “Hillary Clinton said the government should work with host companies to shut jihadist websites and chat rooms,” a plan that would be unconstitutional “if the government exerted pressure on private firms to cooperate in censorship.”



All of these proposals take direct aim at a core constitutional principle that for decades has defined the First Amendment’s free speech protections. That speech cannot be banned even if it constitutes advocacy of violence has a long history in the U.S., but was firmly entrenched in the Supreme Court’s unanimous 1969 decision in Brandenburg v. Ohio, about which I’ve written many times. The Brandenburg ruling “overturned the criminal conviction of a Ku Klux Klan leader who had threatened violence against political officials in a speech.  Even more important was the law which the Brandenburg court invalided as unconstitutional:

The KKK leader in Brandenburg was convicted under an Ohio statute that made it a crime to “advocate . . . the duty, necessity, or propriety of crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform” and/or to “voluntarily assemble with any society, group, or assemblage of persons formed to teach or advocate the doctrines of criminal syndicalism.”  The Court struck down the statute on the ground that it “purports to punish mere advocacy” and thus “sweeps within its condemnation speech which our Constitution has immunized from governmental control.”  The Court ruled that “except where such advocacy…