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Editorials

  • GUEST OPINION: Expect fireworks over Hobby Lobby decision

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    We celebrated the nation’s 237th birthday on this July 4th holiday weekend with fireworks of all kinds and colors, but there are some ongoing pyrotechnics around First Amendment issues from religious liberty to free speech.

  • GUEST OPINION: Turns out we don’t know what our freedoms are

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center

    C’mon people — it’s just 45 words!

    We’ll even give you the Twitter version: Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly and Petition.

    There, a whole lesson in what it means to be a citizen of the United States — and the answers to some the questions on the actual test that you have to pass to become a citizen.

    Perhaps that’s why 29 percent of respondents to the 2014 recently released State of the First Amendment survey couldn’t name one — they don’t have to.

  • OUR OPINION: Kingston battle one needing introspection

    It’s hard to blame the residents of the Davis and Dogwood drive neighborhoods in Kingston for feeling sucker-punched.

    Dogwood Drive residents have enjoyed an almost-forgotten paradise of tree-lined streets, woods and — for some of them — waterfront.

    It’s a mature neighborhood populated with current and retired Oak Ridge Reservation scientists and workers.

  • GUEST OPINION: In Tennessee, religious freedom trumps fears

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    After four years of protests, lawsuits, vandalism, arson and a bomb threat, American Muslims in Murfreesboro can finally celebrate the power of religious freedom to triumph over hate and fear — at least in the courts.

    This month, the U.S. Supreme Court put an end to a lawsuit filed in 2010 challenging the permit issued by Rutherford County for construction of an Islamic Center near the city of Murfreesboro.

  • GUEST OPINION: The dead do speak – freely and not forgotten

    By GENE POLICINSKI

    First Amendment Center

    The dead do speak.

    They need no free speech protection — no government can forever silence their message. No dictator can prevent the living from taking notice. And no earthly authority can erase or demean their sacrifice.

    On several occasions recently, we are reminded of the men and women who sacrificed their lives for the greater good of many.

  • GUEST OPINION: Satirical tweets may be fake, but they’re protected

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    The queen of England had a rough weekend recently. It rained relentlessly and her youngest son, Edward, was stuck in the garden wearing an Easter Bunny suit.

    I know this because I follow “Elizabeth Windsor,” a Twitter account that shares Elizabeth’s personal musings. It’s informative, amusing – and totally fabricated.

  • GUEST OPINION: From the Supreme Court: prayer rules that won’t work

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Mixing prayer and state has always been a messy, contentious business — but last week it got even messier and more contentious.

    In a close 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of prayers at legislative meetings, even when most prayers are prayed in the name of Jesus (Town of Greece v. Galloway).

  • GUEST OPINION: Donald Sterling and more lessons in free speech

     

    What’s left to say about the ugly, racist views of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and the vocal reactions to his comments?

    Well, from a First Amendment free expression perspective, several things — some of which may well resonate even longer than Sterling’s repugnant remarks and the lifetime ban imposed on him by Adam Silver, commissioner of the National Basketball Association.

  • Government as an innovator? You bet!

    By LEE HAMILTON

    Center on Congress

    Both government and industry are needed to solve big problems. Collaboration puts us in a stronger competitive position than either sector acting alone.

    Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it’s down to $134 billion.

  • GUEST OPINION: Vigorous debate continues on First Amendment

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    So, what part of the First Amendment, or the law around it, would you want to change?

    For most of us, the answer is an academic exercise at best. For a few legislators, lawyers and litigants, the response is proposed legislation or lengthy briefs and pointed legal arguments.

    But when the words involve justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, it is cause for special attention.