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Tags: first amendment | free speech | california

First Amendment at the Tipping Point in California

First Amendment at the Tipping Point in California
(Olivier Le Moal/Dreamstime.com)

Michael Dorstewitz By Monday, 23 April 2018 10:52 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Our most cherished and fundamental freedoms are under assault by the very people we rely upon to protect them.

Since the election of President Donald Trump, conservative speakers such as Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro, and Milo Yiannopoulos have been either shouted down or blocked entirely by the intolerant and the ill-informed.

But rather than die a natural death, the anti-free speech movement has moved from college campuses to gain a foothold in the mainstream — including among lawmakers.

The California state Assembly is set to approve a bill that trashes America’s founding principles contained within the First Amendment.

California Assembly Bill 2943 limits the constitutional guarantees of the freedoms of speech, the press and religion in one fell swoop, and arguably makes legitimate debate and inquiry a crime.

It would ban any book, speech, or commercial enterprise that assists or encourages a person to overcome same-sex attractions or confusion over his sex or gender.

“‘Sexual orientation change efforts’ means any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation,” the bill states. “This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”

The state is the sole arbiter of whether the speech, book, pamphlet, or enterprise falls under the law’s purview as a prohibited activity.

Attorney and Washington Examiner contributor Jenna Ellis observed, “California makes a legislative declaration that ‘Contemporary science recognizes that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is part of the natural spectrum of human identity’ and that so-called ‘change efforts,’ including merely speaking a different viewpoint, constitutes unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business practices under the state’s consumer protection laws.”

The state is poised to approve this legislation despite that the American Psychiatric Association considers transgenderism a mental disorder known as gender dysphoria, and as recently as ten years ago, former President Barack Obama disapproved of same-sex marriage.

Nonetheless, the debate is over and the subject is closed, according to California lawmakers. Political correctness now trumps the First Amendment.

That phrase, “the debate is over,” is often used to close all discussion of any subject the left deems sacrosanct — including manmade climate change and, in this instance, transgenderism at will. Such thinking is not only dishonest but is intellectually lazy.

The state ignores the fact that knowledge isn’t static — it continually evolves.

Physicists believed as recently as the late 20th century that Earth was expanding; that’s been replaced by the theory of plate tectonics.

Although the theory of cold fusion was disproved a quarter century ago, research in the field continues.

It wasn’t that long ago that we believed it was too dangerous to fly at or above the speed of sound. For that reason it was called the sound barrier. It took Bell Laboratories and Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager to disprove that theory.

And attempts to restrict free speech aren’t confined to the west coast.

Students at City University of New York disrupted a visiting lecturer with shouts of “F*** the law!”

The subject of his program was freedom of speech, and the law-disparaging protesters were law students — the very people we expect to be the First Amendment’s strongest and most ardent supporters.

The First Amendment provides, “Congress shall make no law ... prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

Note that the amendment’s language doesn’t grant the people those freedoms — it affirms that those freedoms inherently exist with the people. They’re natural, universal, and inalienable rights, and as such may not be repealed or restrained by government.

For that reason, courts have been loathe to limit freedom of speech, just as the IRS is quick to grant tax exempt status to any organization claiming to be a church — no matter how bizarre its beliefs.

Those are the facts.

The ultimate danger is that when one person, group, or class of people lose a fundamental right, everyone’s rights are at risk.

We’ve witnessed an assault on our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms as a result of school shootings. The recent raid on the home, office, and hotel room of the president’s longtime personal lawyer places the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as attorney-client privilege, in danger as well.

Apparently California lawmakers have no understanding of how precious and fragile our freedoms are, and New York law students don’t care. Both groups believe their feelings trump facts and the law — even Constitution law.

As Ben Shapiro, The Daily Wire’s editor in chief, recently observed, “Facts don't care about your feelings.”

The same can be said of the law. And once the law is ignored, the United States becomes little more than a totalitarian Soviet state.

Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Our most cherished and fundamental freedoms are under assault by the very people we rely upon to protect them.
first amendment, free speech, california
Monday, 23 April 2018 10:52 AM
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