A bit late getting this up today, forgive me. I was waylaid by hearings to determine how radicalized I am. Word on the street is 85%, but no one can tell me where that number came from. Here, in no particular order, are some of the First-Amendment-related cases you may have missed this week:
- In case you somehow missed it, Representative Peter King’s hearings on the “Radicalization of American Muslims” have been described by some as an opportunity for non-experts to spout unattributed racist and xenophobic superstitions about Muslims, by some as not doing enough to confront threats to America, and by one particular pundit as “just like” Robert Kennedy’s 1962 mafia hearings. You can follow those links, or play a fun game where you guess which news outlet is taking which angle.
- Tennessee, meanwhile, is considering a law that would make the practice of Sharia Law a felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.
- A school bus driver in Oregon was fired for decorating his pickup truck with a Confederate flag, emblazoned prominently with the word “Redneck,” and refusing to remove the flag at the bus yard. The driver and his attorneys argue that he has a First Amendment right to fly the flag.
- A school district outside Providence, Rhode Island, has refused a request by the Rhode Island ACLU to remove a prayer mural, which is pretty specifically Christian, that has been on display at their high school for about 50 years. The Rhode Island ACLU has announced that they will sue.
- Bigfoot is suing the state of New Hampshire. Performer Jonathan Doyle, who enjoys making amateur videos of himself dressed as Sasquatch (or is it “a sasquatch?”) on Mount Monadnock, is suing after park rangers informed him that his particular form of mountain recreation would require applying for a $100 permit two weeks in advance and securing a $2 million insurance bond. Ah, New Hampshire: the Live Free or Die (or give us $100 and prove that you have insurance to dress as Bigfoot on our Mountain) State. The New Hampshire ACLU supports Doyle’s lawsuit.
- Here at home, the ACLU of Pennsylvania is suing the Panther Valley School District over their practice of random drug tests for students, a practice the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional way back in 2003. To be fair, when I went to high school our American history textbooks stopped before even the Vietnam War.
- A Maryland lawmaker has proposed a bill, supported by the ACLU, that would protect employees from having to disclose their usernames or passwords for social networking sites like Facebook, and from threats of discipline should they refuse to do so.
I’ll close by reminding you that this was also the (very depressing) week President Obama officially fully reversed his campaign position on Gitmo, reopening military tribunals and announcing that the United States may “need” to keep some individuals imprisoned indefinitely without trial. At this point habeas corpus has been lost so long he probably has Stockholm Syndrome. Poor guy almost made it to 800.