Tag Archives: First Amendment

Playboy president seeks to profit from porn star – and more!

When last we checked in on the reality TV show “the playboy president and the porn star,” Stormy clouds over the Trump White House: 60 Minutes and a court date, adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, had filed a lawsuit (and attached exhibits) (.pdf) to void a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) with Donald Trump, identified by the alias David Dennison in the NDA, drafted and entered into by Michael Cohen, the “top attorney” and “fixer” for the Trump organization.

Last Friday, Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti, in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” repeatedly said that his client had been threatened, but wouldn’t disclose by who. He also declined to give details on the nature of the threats. Stormy Daniels’ lawyer says she was threatened with physical harm:

“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski then asked whether Clifford was “threatened in any way.”

Avenatti responded, “Yes.”

“Was she threatened with physical harm,” Brzezinski then asked.

“Yes,” Avenatti said.

“Was her life threatened?” Brzezinski inquired.

“I’m not going to answer that. People will have to tune in,” he said, referring to an interview Clifford did with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that is scheduled to air March 25.

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National School Walkout today at 10:00 a.m.

Today at 10:00 a.m., students across Arizona will walkout of their classrooms for a 17 minute vigil in remembrance of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Philip Boas of The Republic writes, Why every adult should support students’ March 14 walkout:

If you believe young people shouldn’t be walking out of their classrooms on Wednesday to protest gun violence in America, if you believe this is a waste of precious classroom time and only encourages chaos and defiance …

you are wrong.

The kids are right.

These young people are citizens of this country, and every citizen has the right to commit acts of civil disobedience in the face of great wrongs.

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Know your First Amendment rights for student walk outs

With the March For Our Lives and other student walk outs planned in coming weeks, there are two ways for Arizona school districts to respond to this student-led protest movement.

I suggested that “the Arizona Secretary of State’s office and our 15 County Recorder’s offices, along with voter registration organizations such as the League of Women Voters and many others, could coordinate with Arizona’s school districts to make voter registration tables available at every Arizona high school for seniors participating in these extraordinary events to register to vote. High school civics teachers should see this as a golden opportunity to teach their students about civics.” Register high school students to vote at March for Our Lives and #NeverAgain events.

My suggestion is similar to the view expressed by the ACLU of New Jersey in an open letter (PDF) to New Jersey school administrators, educators, and government officials concerning the rights of students to express themselves politically, in school and out. ACLU-NJ OPEN LETTER ON STUDENT WALKOUTS AND SPEECH TO EDUCATORS, ADMINISTRATORS, AND OFFICIALS: “A student movement has arisen in response to the tragic school shooting in Parkland last month, and young New Jerseyans are raising their voices here. The ACLU of New Jersey asks you to support student efforts to engage in the issues of the day and encourage a spirit of civic participation in the various forms it may take.”

It would be great if our political leaders were proactive in their support of political engagement and participation by our high school students.

But I also warned you that “There are more likely to be partisan school boards that will not permit their students to participate in these walkouts — First Amendment rights be damned …” This has now occurred in Arizona. School suspends students after walkout over gun violence:

Dozens of students at a Phoenix-area middle school were suspended for leaving campus during a walkout to protest gun violence and to support victims of the Florida school shooting.

More than 100 students from Ingleside Middle School participated in the Tuesday protest, which lasted 17 minutes — a minute for each person killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month.

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March For Our Lives: ‘The Arizona Agenda for Our Lives’

Last week, two Arizona teenagers announced they are organizing a march on March 24 to advocate for gun control, in solidarity with survivors of the recent mass shooting in Florida.

This week, they announced their specific agenda, focusing on passing four bills in the Arizona Legislature. Phoenix ‘March For Our Lives’ organizers demand local gun-control measures:

After survivors of the Parkland shooting announced that they are organizing an event in Washington D.C. called March For Our Lives on March 24, Samantha Lekberg, 16, of Surprise, and Jordan Harb, 17, of Mesa, paired up to plan a sister march at the state Capitol.

More than 11,000 people have expressed interested in their “#MarchForOurLives Phoenix, Arizona” event on Facebook. This week, they released a statement through their PHX March For Our Lives page.

“High school students across the State of Arizona are standing in solidarity to say something so simple, even bought and paid for politicians can understand it: It’s time to Save Our Lives.”

Focusing on four Arizona bills

Their proposal, which they called “The Arizona Agenda for Our Lives,” calls on the Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey to pass four bills this year “or risk the wrath of voters in November:”

  • House Bill 2299 would require a person on probation for a domestic-violence offense to hand all their firearms over to a law-enforcement agency for the duration of their probation.
  • HB 2023 would ban bump stocks and other devices designed to make semi-automatic weapons fire similarly to fully-automatic weapons.
  • HB 2024  would require universal criminal background checks for people buying firearms. It would close the so-called “gun show” or “private sale” loophole by requiring a private person selling or transferring a firearm to go through a licensed firearm dealer, with some exceptions. Licensed dealers are required to run background checks.
  • Senate Bill 1347 (and the identical HB 2140) would create a process where immediate family members or a police officer can petition a judge for an injunction to prohibit someone with mental-health issues from possessing a gun.

They also released a petition for people to sign in support of their demands.

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Plutocrats, free-riders, and the GOP war on organized labor (and the Democratic Party) in the Supreme Court today

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument today in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, the third attempt by wealthy anti-labor interests to overrule Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements under the First Amendment.

Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog has the history and legal posture of this case in Argument preview: For the third time, justices take on union-fee issue:

In 1977, in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruled that government employees like Janus who do not belong to a union can be required to pay a fee – often known as a “fair share” or “agency” fee – to cover the union’s costs to negotiate a contract that applies to all public employees, including those who are not union members. The justices reasoned then that allowing the fees would help to avoid both labor strife and the prospect that nonmembers could be “free-riders” who benefit from the union’s collective bargaining efforts without having to pay for them.

But in recent years, conservative think tanks proposing expansive (novel) interpretations of the First Amendment well beyond the original meaning and purpose intended by the Founding Fathers, financed by conservative billionaires, are using the First Amendment in much the same way they used “substantive due process” during the Lochner era (circa 1897–1937) to strike down minimum wage and labor laws to protect “freedom of contract.” While the Lochner era approach has long since been discredited and abandoned by the court, the right-wing keeps trying to bring it back and to revive it. See George Will, Why liberals fear the ‘Lochner’ decision (2011).

An example of this is the Illinois Policy Institute, one prong of a broader campaign against public-sector unions, backed by some of the biggest donors on the right. Behind a Key Anti-Labor Case, a Web of Conservative Donors:

It is an effort that will reach its apex on Monday, when the Supreme Court hears a case that could cripple public-sector unions by allowing the workers they represent to avoid paying fees.

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Register high school students to vote at March for Our Lives and #NeverAgain events

In 2015, Arizona became the 1st state to pass law requiring high-school civics test: The American Civics Act will require students to pass 60 of the 100 questions on the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization civics test. They can first take the test in eighth grade, and can retake it until they pass.

If Arizona really wants to teach its children civics – the obligation of American citizens to actively participate in the democratic political process, at a minimum, through voting  – then an opportunity to put actions before empty platitudes will present itself in the coming weeks.

The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida,  have organized the March for Our Lives and #NeverAgain movement. Several civics events are planned, i.e., the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances:

Students, teachers, and allies will take part in a for 17 minutes at 10am on March 14, 2018. Join us in saying !http://bit.ly/EnoughMarch14.

On March 24 students, teachers and allies will take to the streets of Washington, DC and our communities across the country for March for Our Lives. We will be the last group of students who have to stand up for fallen children due to senseless gun violence. March with us. Sign up at marchforourlives.com.

On April 20th students and teachers will participate in the National School Walkout at 10:00 a.m. Sit outside your schools and peacefully protest. Make some noise. Voice your thoughts. “We are students, we are victims, we are change.” Sign the petition at Change.org National High School Walk-Out for Anti Gun Violence.

My thought was that the Arizona Secretary of State’s office and our 15 County Recorder’s offices, along with voter registration organizations such as the League of Women Voters and many others, could coordinate with Arizona’s school districts to make voter registration tables available at every Arizona high school for seniors participating in these extraordinary events to register to vote. High school civics teachers should see this as a golden opportunity to teach their students about civics.

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