Friday, May 18, 2007

First Amendment at stake in court, in general

The First Amendment and the enlightened citizens of a free democracy that it represents are under review if not under attack in various places, as reported by Ronald K.L. Collins of the First Amendment Center and author Naomi Wolf in a Guardian excerpt of her forthcoming book, The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot.

First, the Supreme Court's docket of First Amendment cases is full, Collins reports.Ten free-expression cases and one religion case have yet to be decided. In these cases that the court has agreed to hear, the subject matter includes student expression, campaign ads, voting rights, union free-speech rights, child pornography, and the First Amendment rights of a private school football coach. On the religion side of the First Amendment, there is an establishment-clause standing case. Another case raises a First Amendment-related issue concerning the scope of the speech-and-debate clause. For an overview of those cases, look here --

Elsewhere, in a key component of "Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps," Wolf explains her Number 8: "Control the Press," as something that goes beyond a Latin American military coup seizing a capital-city radio station. It extends to the coziness between Fox News, talk-radio voices such as Rush Limbaugh's and the Oval Office, the real dangers to journalists, as reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the compliant White House press corps.

Drawing parallels between different decades and countries and the United States today, Wolf makes a case by using comparisons that are chilling. Read her complete piece here --,,2064157,00.html