On "Hamstringing the Government"

Justice Jackson misses the entire point of the First Amendment

My biggest concern,” said Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on Monday, “is that your view has the First Amendment hamstringing the government in significant ways.”

The whole point of the First Amendment is to “hamstring the government” from abridging the freedom of speech. The Constitution grants the government certain defined and limited powers, but abridging the freedom of speech is NOT one of them.

You’re Teaching ... Grossman M.D., Miriam Best Price: $15.15 Buy New $14.40 (as of 02:17 UTC - Details) Unfortunately, Jackson is not alone in her incomprehension of the First Amendment. As reported by a columnist for Reason: Free Minds and Free Markets:

[Jackson’s] “hamstringing” comment came attached to a hypothetical scenario she posed to Benjamin Aguiñaga, Louisiana’s solicitor general, who argued the Biden administration had overstepped when it contacted social media platforms and attempted to pressure them to remove posts it found objectionable. Suppose a challenge circulated on social media concerning “teens jumping out of windows at increasing elevations,” Jackson said. Could the government try to persuade those platforms to remove that content?

No, Aguiñaga said, because that’s still protected speech, no matter how dangerous.

That might very well be the correct interpretation. But Jackson’s take—that such a view could place too much restraint on the government—is one that’s held by many, including, it appears, some of her more conservative colleagues. Kavanaugh, for example, invoked his experience working with government press staff, who regularly call reporters to criticize them and try to influence their coverage.

Here we see Justice Jackson (who is supposed to be an impartial judge) making a Straw Man out of the plaintiff’s argument, and the plaintiff’s attorney apparently accepting this fallacious supposition instead of rejecting it outright (which he should have done).

I doubt there is a single reasonable adult in the country who would object to law enforcement intervening to stop the encouragement of teens to jump out of windows to their likely injury or death.

Jumping out of windows at increasing elevations is understood by all reasonable adults on earth to be an action that will likely result in injury or death to the jumper, depending on the height and hardness of the landing surface. Encouraging minors to do this is obviously NOT comparable to my interview with Dr. Peter McCullough in May 2021 in which he spoke about his research on the early treatment of COVID-19—research he conducted in collaboration with Drs. Harvey Risch, George Fareed, Didier Raoult, and other top experts in their fields. Common Sense (Books of... Paine, Thomas Best Price: $4.26 Buy New $10.35 (as of 03:32 UTC - Details)

About three hours after I posted the video of my interview on YouTube, it was deleted from the platform. Since then, ALL of the key findings presented in the interview have been repeatedly confirmed by multiple studies conducted all over the world.

In other word, not only are the stupid censors wrong as a matter of law (the First Amendment) they are also wrong as a matter of fact.

Because so many—including a Supreme Court Justice—don’t understand WHY we have a First Amendment, I will explain it. Free speech not only enables free citizens to communicate with each other, it is a necessary condition for thinking about the world and discovering the truth of complex and novel phenomena. Even errors cannot be recognized as such unless we are free to make them and learn from them.

If citizens are forbidden from communicating (by oral and written speech) with each other, they cannot ascertain what is going on in the world, but are obliged to accept the representations made by their rulers. Every tyrant in history has consolidated and extended his power by abridging the freedom of speech.

This originally appeared on Courageous Discourse.