Lawyer’s letter evicting Adam and Eve from Paradise: “If you have not vacated the property by the specified date, Messrs Michael and Gabriel (Bailiffs) Ltd. will be instructed to take possession.” [Jot 101, from 1964 magazine Arrows: 87]
A Jamaican official says British Prime Minister David Cameron must “apologize personally” because “his lineage has been traced and his forefathers were slave-owners” Well, no. [Brendan O’Neill, The Spectator; Daniel Hannan; NY Times “Room for Debate”; earlier here and here, etc.] More on reparations here and here; I wrote about them at chapter length in Schools for Misrule.
In Britain authorities have filed legal charges under “malicious communications” (roughly hate speech) law against a series of persons accused of abrasive and insensitive Tweets and social media posts, often politically charged. The latest target is diversity officer Bahar Mustafa of the University of London, who defends the obnoxious tweet in question (hashtag #killallwhitemen) by reference to the notion that “she could not be guilty of sexism or racism against white men “because racism and sexism describe structures of privilege based on race and gender and therefore women of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist, since we do not stand to benefit from such a system.” [The Independent] Uh-huh.
Ken White: “In a sensible legal system [the tweet] shouldn’t generate anything more than an eye-roll. But in a feels-based legal system, it’s actionable.” As for “you censorious Guardians of Feels on the Left: if you thought that the norms you created wouldn’t be used against your ‘own side,’ …[that] is almost indescribably moronic. Go sit in the corner and think about what you have done.” [Popehat] “Purveyors of speech-scandals of every sort: you think it can’t happen to you?” On the use of the law by powerful people, compare also this George Galloway episode.
“Calais, France to sue Britain for being a magnet for migrants that are destroying Calais before they cross channel.” [Associated Press]
- March of “cyberbullying” law continues: “New Zealand passes law making it punishable by fine or jail time for “causing emotional distress” on the Internet [The Register]
- Wisconsin John Doe prosecutors tapped email and text communications of conservative activists, also got bank records [M.D. Kittle, Wisconsin Watchdog]
- Rare instance where pro-speech, anti-harass groups agree: ICANN shouldn’t zap site-owner privacy [Online Abuse Prevention Initiative via @sarahjeong] More: Cathy Gellis, Popehat;
- “Researcher Headed To Australian Supreme Court In Attempt To Hold Google Responsible For Posts At Ripoff Reports” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt]
- When you vigorously deny an accusation, do you defame the accuser as a liar? [Popehat on Bill Cosby litigation]
- “They do this because they can.” [Mark Steyn on Preet Bharara’s “prosecutocracy” and the Reason subpoena, earlier here, here, etc.]
- Remember, badspeak can be evidence of wrongthink: “[London Mayor] Boris Johnson ‘could be breaching sex discrimination laws’ for defending Sir Tim Hunt over sexism row” [Independent]
King and government do not exercise absolute power but are themselves bound by law: the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary is today. Marking the sealing of the “Great Charter of Liberties” agreed to by King John, the Cato Institute held a panel discussion June 4 featuring Richard Helmholz (U. Chicago), Roger Pilon (Cato), Tom Palmer (Atlas Network, Cato), Richard Pipes (Harvard), Swaminathan Aiyar (Cato), and Juan Carlos Botero (World Justice Project), moderated by Ilya Shapiro and Ian Vasquez (Cato).
More: Carrie-Ann Biondi, The Objective Standard (“a profound development on the road to a civilized, rights-based society… toward properly limited government.”), Sheldon Richman (a study in unintended consequences and spontaneous social evolution), Roger Pilon (“We’re back in the fields of Runnymede, importuning our government for relief from its assumption of plenary power.”), Deepak Lal (India and Hong Kong have benefited enormously from it; mainland China, Egypt, and Russia feel its lack). [Slightly edited to add new introduction.]
- Weirdly, Europe is more willing to legislate against pro-ISIS views than openly to argue against them [Nick Cohen]
- City of Inglewood, Calif. sues for copyright infringement over videos by critic of Mayor Butts [CBS L.A., Volokh, Paul Alan Levy]
- “Department Of Justice Uses Grand Jury Subpoena To Identify Anonymous Commenters on a Silk Road Post at Reason.com” [Ken White/Popehat, Wired, Scott Greenfield]
- Bans on the singing of sectarian songs, as in the Scotland case mentioned here recently, are perhaps less surprisingly also a part of law in Northern Ireland [Belfast Telegraph, BBC] UK government “now arresting and even jailing people simply for speaking their minds” [Brendan O’Neill]
- Broad “coalition of free speech, web publishing, and civil liberties advocates” oppose provisions in anti-“trafficking” bill creating criminal liability for classified ad sites; Senate passes bill anyway by 99-0 margin [Elizabeth Nolan Brown; more from Brown on bill (“What, you mean grown women AREN’T being abducted into sex slavery at Hobby Lobby stores in Oklahoma?” — @mattwelch), yet more on trafficking-panic numbers]
- Group libel laws, though approved in the 1952 case Beauharnais v. Illinois, are now widely regarded as no longer good law, but a Montana prosecutor doesn’t seem aware of that [Volokh] No, let’s not redefine “incitement” so as to allow the banning of more speech [Volokh]
- Supreme Court’s ruling in Elonis, the “true threats on Facebook” case, was speech-protective but minimalist [Ilya Shapiro, Orin Kerr, Ken White, Eugene Volokh]
- UK wrongful-speech laws sold to public “with mawkish appeals to the protection of the weak” but typically used by strong, rich and well connected [Charles C.W. Cooke on Galloway episode]
- “Danish terrorist attack survivor: ‘It’s a fight that we can’t ignore'” [Lena Masri, Poynter]
- “It gives me no comfort to have my constitutional rights trampled in a bipartisan fashion.” [Eric O’Keefe, quoted in M.D. Kittle, Wisconsin Watchdog profile of John Doe target Kelly Rindfleisch via @andrewmgrossman]
- “I speak here of the rule of law, not the rule of feels.” [Ken at Popehat on BlockBot listings as non-defamation]
- Rolling back SCOTUS’s First Amendment-based jurisprudence: “Hillary Clinton says she would support a constitutional amendment on campaign finance reform” [Washington Post]
- “Court Rules San Diego’s Law Prof’s Blog Post Was Not Defamatory” [TaxProf]
- “Another Day, Another Dumb New York Times Story on Corporations and Free Speech” [Damon Root, Reason, vs. Times columnist Timothy Egan]
- Sounds promising: Robert Corn-Revere has a book in the works on free speech [Ronald K.L. Collins, Concurring Opinions]
A public authority governing 16 schools in Cheshire, England, has sent a letter to parents warning them that they must not allow their children to play with adult-themed videogames such as Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. “If your child is allowed to have inappropriate access to any game, or associated product, that is designated 18+ we are advised to contact the police and children’s social care as this is deemed neglectful.” [ITV via Lenore Skenazy]
And what Google Street View has to say about the actual law offices [RollOnFriday]