Yet another law professor, this time Harvard’s Noah Feldman, suggests suspending First Amendment protection to placate offense [Newsday, Volokh, Greenfield] As background, in Britain, “Channel 4 has cited concerns over security as the reason for cancelling a planned screening at its headquarters this week of a documentary film questioning the origins of Islam.” [Guardian via Volokh; Michael Totten, "The Terrorists' Veto, City Journal] Notes Ken at Popehat: “The context is one in which the decision to take offense is a political act.”
Ken has also stayed on top of this issue in other posts, noting, for example, that the Holocaust-denial laws already accepted in many Western countries pave the way for further restrictions on speech; that Greece has lately moved against mild religious satire; and that Great Britain is electing to unleash criminal-law enforcement against a broader range of Internet comment trollery.
Earlier on Eric Posner here and here; on Jeremy Waldron here, here, and here; on Peter Spiro here; Volokh on Spiro and Harold Koh here.
The French town of Angers might be 500 or so years too late, though. It asks a bit hopefully for the British crown jewels as compensation. [Lowering the Bar]
In Britain, which has hate-speech laws, police investigate a racially derogatory Tweet. [Telegraph]
- How’d we get shortages of hospital and community sterile injectables? Check out the role of FDA Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regs, warning letters, and resulting plant closures [Tabarrok, with comments controversy; earlier here, here, here, etc.]
- California orthopedist sues, wins damages against medical society that took action against him based on his testimony for plaintiff in liability case [American Medical News; earlier here, etc.]
- Can’t have that: medical apology should be opposed because it “can create an emotional connection with an injured patient that makes the patient less likely to ask for compensation.” [Gabriel Teninbaum (Suffolk Law), Boston Globe]
- Feds’ war on painkillers is bad news for legit patients and docs [Reuters, Mike Riggs/Reason]
- New federal pilot project in Buffalo will provide concierge-style home care to emergency-department frequent fliers. Spot the unintended consequence [White Coat]
- Dastardly drug companies? Deconstructing Glaxo SmithKline’s $3 billion settlement [Greg Conko, MPT] More: Beck, Drug and Device Law, on suits over “what are mostly medically valid and beneficial off-label uses”. Paging Ted Frank: “HIPAA’s Vioxx toll” thesis may depend on whether one accepts that the premised Vioxx toll has been established [Stewart Baker, Ted's recent post]
- U.K.: “Lawyers seizing lion’s share of payouts in NHS negligence cases” [Telegraph]
- Silver linings in SCOTUS ObamaCare ruling? [Jonathan Adler and Nathaniel Stewart] “DNC Scientists Disprove Existence of Roberts’ Taxon” [Iowahawk humor] Did Ginsburg hint at the court’s direction on the HHS contraception mandate? [Ed Morrissey, Hot Air]
[cross-posted at Cato at Liberty]
There are a great many reasons to be grateful that the United States declared its independence on this date in 1776, but one reason is that we, unlike Great Britain, managed soon thereafter to secure a First Amendment in our Constitution to protect the freedom of speech. That means we, unlike Lincolnshire pensioner John Richards, are unlikely to be threatened with arrest should we choose to put up a small sign in our window promoting atheism, on the grounds that it might cause distress to passersby [Boston Standard via Popehat] Relatedly, we need not worry that NYU law prof Jeremy Waldron, advocate of “hate speech” bans, will see his views enacted into U.S. policy anytime soon [Erica Goldberg, ConcurOp], despite repeated signals from places like Harvard Law School and the New York Times that he is a Very Serious Person whose views we need to engage.
And while not all the differences between British libel law and ours can be traced to our First Amendment, we are also fortunate that it is a fair bit harder for public figures and organizations here to use defamation charges to ruin critics and authors [Guardian; novelist Amanda Craig, Telegraph] We have likewise been spared the activities of any exact equivalent of Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority, recently reported as banning a “fathers’ rights” ad [BoingBoing]. And so forth.
Enjoy the Fourth, and our freedoms.
“…your heart will lift up, unless you are the noise nuisance officer of North Somerset….For the time being, the chimes of Wrington have been silenced,” owing to a noise complaint lodged by a weekending Londoner. [A.N. Wilson, The Independent]
Life without a First Amendment: a student in Swansea, Wales, is jailed for posting racially offensive comments on Twitter while drunk [Nick Cohen, Spectator]
Sad, inevitable, or both? “I can’t fight Hollywood,” says the mistress of the pub and music venue in the south of England, which has operated for 20 years and has now drawn a legal threat from a California firm that owns many Tolkien rights. [BBC]
“A retired semi-professional footballer who claims his faith ruined his chances of playing for Manchester United is suing the Baptist Church for £10 million.” Arquimedes Nganga “quit the sport aged 25 when he converted to the Baptist faith. He said: ‘I could definitely have had a long career in the Premiership’” had he not given it up. [Evening Standard]
Creative application #95,724 of international human rights law: maybe it turns out to ban U.S.-style factory farming. Activists are urging the Derbyshire county council in England to deny planning permission to a large hog facility on the grounds that it violates local residents’ protected right to private and family life [Guardian]
Anti-antipodean harassment? “An Australian community warden whose colleagues greeted him with ‘G’day Sport’ is taking his racial abuse case to the European Court of Human Rights.” [Telegraph; Dymchurch, Kent, U.K.]