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Mid-Day Digest

Jun. 18, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” —First Amendment

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

SCOTUS: First Amendment Contradictions?

These aren’t your grandfather’s liberals. That’s the 75,000-foot view of the modern Left, which has declared its primary mission to suppress disfavored free speech. Two seemingly unrelated Supreme Court cases illustrate what has become the great battle of the early 21st century.

First, The Washington Free Beacon reports, “The basic details of Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck are mundane. New York City designated Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN), a private nonprofit corporation, operator of a public access channel. Respondents DeeDee Halleck and Jesus Papoleto Melendez produced a film critical of MNN, which MNN agreed to air. The corporation subsequently removed their film and suspended the pair, claiming that they had made threats against MNN employees. Halleck and Melendez sued, claiming that MNN had violated their free speech rights under the First Amendment.”

The broader implications are interesting. Does this provide a test case for how social media is governed under the First Amendment? In other words, can Facebook, Twitter, Google, et al. silence speech because they’re private companies not subject to the First Amendment?

Without answering those questions just yet, let’s turn to the more attention-getting Supreme Court case. The justices declined to hear the case of the Oregon bakers fined and put out of business for refusing to create a custom cake for a same-sex wedding. The Court did, however, give Melissa and Aaron Klein some help, vacating a lower-court ruling and the $135,000 fine against them while sending the case back for a rehearing in light of the SCOTUS decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Unfortunately, SCOTUS ruled fairly narrowly in that case — that Colorado officials were the ones unlawfully discriminating against the baker — leaving unanswered the fundamental question of whether a Christian baker or florist can be compelled to create works of art (speech) for weddings that violate their religious beliefs. Whether the lower court will read between the lines and reach the right conclusion on its second try is up for speculation.

On the one hand, we have private companies suppressing speech, while on the other we have private businesses compelled to make certain speech. In both, the authoritarian and totalitarian coercion is coming from one side: the Left. The specific First Amendment applications to private companies are not always clear, but what is plain as day is that the Left aims to constrain certain speech and compel other speech. In a nation built on the ideal of free speech, that’s a dangerous trend.

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Harvard Demonstrates Leftist Double Standard

Kyle Kashuv, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, when it was attacked by a deranged sociopath in 2017, was recently informed that his acceptance into Harvard University had been rescinded. Harvard pointed to racist comments Kashuv made in a private online chat when he was 16, prior to the school shooting, as the reason for its decision. Kashuv, who has become a Second Amendment advocate while many of his classmates were used as gun-control pawns, had already publicly apologized for the comments, noting that they were wrong, that he has matured significantly since making them, and that they don’t represent his current views. Harvard acknowledged Kashuv’s apology but concluded that “after careful consideration the Committee voted to rescind your admission to Harvard College.” In other words, sorry kid but there is no forgiveness for those on the wrong side of the political divide.

As National Review’s David French observes, “Let’s not pretend that Kyle is anything other than a victim of the culture wars. Had he not stepped forward after Parkland as a conservative spokesperson, he would be in no one’s crosshairs. He would have been allowed to make a mistake. At its heart, the attack on Kyle isn’t about making Harvard safe from racists. It’s not about protecting anyone. It’s about politics.”

Ironically, it is Harvard that is guilty of systematic racism. At least Kashuv willingly admitted he was wrong, apologized for his comments, and all evidence indicates that he has grown up. That’s more than can be said for those “woke” adults running Harvard. The institution has unfairly discriminated against Asian-American applicants in its effort to ensure “equity” and “diversity.” And this institutional racism continues as the university still seeks to judge people not solely on individual academic merit but by the color of their skin.

As the saying goes, leftists would have no standards if not for their double standards. Leftists offer forgiveness and understanding only toward those who bow to their worldview. Interestingly, one would think that a left-leaning school like Harvard would jump at the opportunity to “educate” a young conservative like Kashuv out of his “backward” views. Yet it appears Harvard is more concerned with appeasing the leftist outrage mob.

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ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • ENFORCING THE LAW: “President Trump late Monday announced on Twitter that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin the process of ‘removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the U.S.,’ but did not elaborate on what new measures will be taken. ‘They will be removed as fast as they come,’ Trump said.” (Fox News)
  • ABOVE THE LAW: “The State Department revealed Monday that it has identified ‘multiple security incidents’ involving current or former employees’ handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails, and that 23 ‘violations’ and seven ‘infractions’ have been issued as part of the department’s ongoing investigation.” (Fox News)
  • FOREIGN-AID ULTIMATUM: Via CBS News: “The U.S. government officially announced on Monday it would cut millions of dollars in foreign aid to Central America, warning governments in the region that assistance will only resume when they do more to prevent their citizens from migrating.” Meanwhile, “Mexico apprehended nearly 800 illegal migrants Saturday, an indication that its government is stepping up immigration enforcement amid pressure from President Donald Trump,” The Daily Caller reports.
  • MEMO TO IRAN: “The United States is sending 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East, amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran,” ABC News reports. “The decision follows last week’s attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman that the U.S. blamed on Tehran.” On that note, The Washington Times reveals, “The limpet mine has become Iran’s weapon of choice as it ramps up a bombing campaign on oil tankers in the region.”
  • QUASI-CITIZENSHIP: “Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday night signed legislation granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants — shortly after the controversial measure passed the state Senate.” (New York Post)
  • LEFTIST EDUCATION COMPLEX: “On Monday, Parkland survivor and outspoken conservative Kyle Kashuv announced that Harvard University had withdrawn his admission from the school over the revelation of racist, offensive, idiotic posts written on a private Google document with friends when he was sixteen years old.” (The Daily Wire)
  • POLICY: How Trump’s tax cuts are helping the middle class (The Daily Signal)
  • POLICY: What Congress can do to cut waste and debt (The Daily Signal)
  • HUMOR: Democrats to debate their complete agreement with one another (The Daily Wire)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

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From each of us here, our deepest thanks for your support. —Christy Chesterton, Director of Advancement

OPINION IN BRIEF

Hans von Spakovsky: “President Trump won a victory Friday when the Justice Department said Congress does not have the right to see his tax returns. More importantly, all American taxpayers won a victory, because the Justice Department memo regarding Trump’s returns has the effect of upholding the privacy and confidentially of all our tax returns as well. If Congress is allowed to examine the president’s tax returns, the next step will be demands by lawmakers to examine the tax returns of others — political activists and opponents, members of unpopular groups, religious minorities, and who knows who else. And if you think this isn’t possible, just think back to the FBI under Director J. Edgar Hoover and the files he kept on many Americans he considered to be dangerous subversives — including civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King. Even if you can’t stand President Trump and think he should be impeached, remember that giving government the power to act against someone you oppose also gives government the power to act against someone you support — or perhaps even against you personally.”

SHORT CUTS

Upright: “Self-righteousness untempered by humility makes a country cruel. And that is exactly the nation America’s illiberal ideologues hope to create.” —David French

Warning shot: “When faced with a demonstrably erroneous precedent, my rule is simple: We should not follow it.” —Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Braying Jenny: “[The U.S. government is] running concentration camps on our southern border. … We are losing to an authoritarian and fascist presidency. … A presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist and it’s very difficult to say that.” —Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Grand delusions: “None of this would be happening if Trump didn’t back out of the Iran nuclear deal. America’s response should be to return to the table and reinstate the Iran nuclear deal. Increasing tensions and threats of war serve nobody’s interests.” —Rep. lhan Omar

Annals of the absurd: “I would imagine we’ve probably had excellent presidents who were gay — we just didn’t know which ones.” —Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Fightin’ words: “There are certain things where it just takes a brass-knuckle fight. … Let’s start a real physical revolution if you’re talking about it.” —Joe “Double-Barrel Shotgun” Biden

Non Compos Mentis: “Because everything landed on President Obama’s desk but locusts at the time, he had no time to explain the Affordable Care Act.” —Joe Biden

The BIG Lie: “Guns like the AR-15 aren’t used for hunting and they’re not viable for home protection. They have only one purpose, and that’s to fire as many rounds as possible, as quickly as possible. Outlawing these weapons, an action supported by 60 percent of Americans, will bring down the number of mass shootings and reduce the number of casualties, just as it did when the ban first passed in 1994.” —Senators Chris Murphy and Dianne Feinstein

And last… “The single biggest threat to American civility in public life and cultural unity is the weaponization of double standards against ideological opponents. We could adapt to a society with equal but strict expectations. But rules based on capricious wokeness lead to Leftist tyranny.” —Buck Sexton

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