Over the last couple of weeks I've gotten communications from five different strangers alerting me of something outrageous: the Los Angeles Times has brought a SLAPP suit against Ted Rall! OMG! Except they haven't, of course. But the people who wrote me aren't to blame — at least not entirely. They're only accepting Ted Rall's […]
It's time for the Popehat Signal, where I seek pro-bono help for people targeted by bogus and potentially financially ruinous defamation suits. I'm looking for pro bono counsel for a woman in state court in Northern California. For now, I will offer only a summary description. The woman's ex-boyfriend is about to name her in […]
Let's talk about an unusually despicable, ridiculous, bigoted, and potentially dangerously unbalanced and violence-threatening lawyer — Jason Lee Van Dyke. Why do I say those things about him? Potentially dangerously unbalanced and violence-threatening: Jason L. Van Dyke, Texas attorney (for now), likes threatening violence against people who make fun of him or criticize him or […]
Last week I argued that the legal outlook for free speech in America remains bright: the Supreme Court's defense of speech is consistent and robust. But the cultural outlook remains grim. Free speech, as a value, is under cultural assault — and feckless, politicized, and unlikely-to-be-effective legal assault — from across the ideological spectrum. Case […]
There are many very stupid ideas about free speech in academia. Perhaps the stupidest is this: free speech is a legal norm used to protect the powerful at the expense of the powerless, but exceptions to free speech will benefit the powerless. Nobody with a passing knowledge of the history of free speech takes this […]
The First Amendment had a pretty good week. In Matal v. Tam the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that a federal law prohibiting "disparaging" trademarks violated the First Amendment. Though the eight voting justices broke into two groups of four taking slightly different paths, their language was equally blunt. From Justice Alito: The Patent […]
I've got a piece up at NRO about about how nobody — even Trump-haters like me — should be comfortable with federal prosecutors' broad power to catch people not for underlying misconduct, but for reactions to the investigation.
Last night a popular alt-right troll disrupted a controversial modern production of Julius Caesar staged with a Trumplike figure in the lead role. Some people are incensed at this production and arguing that it depicts and encourages the assassination of Trump himself, and that fury has built to the point that random theaters with "Shakespeare" […]
The LA Times ran my column about cliches and slogans that obscure the free speech debate. Kudos to the Times for making me sound like even more of a choad with the headline.