State Judge Rewrites First Amendment With ‘But I Don’t Like The NY Times’ Exception

State Judge Rewrites First Amendment With 'But I Don't Like The NY Times' Exception

California Judge Aaron Persky’s controversial sentencing of Brock Turner, convicted of sexually assaulting an Amendment unconscious woman behind a dumpster, was overturned by the 6th District Court of Appeals last week.

A Brief History of the First Amendment

We have a long history of the first amendment protecting people’s right to say and write what they want without fear of government interference. That includes journalism, arts, and entertainment. The freedom to speak one’s mind is enshrined in our country’s founding documents Amendment.

You might remember this quote from Thomas Jefferson about the press: Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

Freedom of speech has played an important role in keeping the public informed about governmental activities. As Jefferson said above, when speech is uninhibited, it helps protect citizens against tyranny because citizens know how their governments operate, which means they’re abler to act as stakeholders for good governance.

What this ruling effectively did

Judge William M. Skretny (who was nominated by George W. President Bush) issued a ruling Friday afternoon that struck down a portion of New York’s Civil Rights Law in one of the most expansive and hostile statements on free speech ever issued by a judge.

Judge Skretny argued in a dissent to an appeal against Penthouse that I don’t like what you said so you can’t say it, as he tossed out of court protections that have been enshrined in every American law since 1791. In striking down part of New York’s Civil Rights Law he wrote there is no constitutional value in false statements of fact. Although such falsehoods harm others, they do not injure in any sense protected by civil rights laws.

How This Changes Free Speech and Press in America

This week, a US district judge ruled that you don’t have the right to criticize a police officer on social media if that criticism involves defamatory language against them. Essentially, this is what the opinion of the judge says: You do not have first amendment rights if you say something bad about cops because cops are special and they make the rules.

This ruling sets a chilling precedent for free speech in America. It tells people to keep their mouths shut when it comes to certain institutions, like law enforcement – or else. And it provides more cover for rampant corruption in America as officers will be able to hide their misdeeds with even more impunity than before.

America is quickly devolving into a fascist police state where free speech is only allowed when it doesn’t upset anyone in power. This isn’t what America was founded on, but because of corrupt and abusive people who have way too much power, that’s what we’re quickly becoming.

If you speak out against police or criticize them online, even if your criticism is accurate and well-deserved, you could find yourself facing serious legal consequences for exercising your first amendment rights. And that’s a terrifying thing.

This opinion shows how so many Americans are terrified of speaking out against authority figures – and for good reason – as doing so often leads to harsh reprisals from those in power like law enforcement or court judges.

Is There A Way Around This Ruling?

In most states, the press has the freedom to write on what it deems important without censorship from the government. State judges can be an exception, such as in an earlier Louisiana case when a judge prevented a journalist from writing about court Amendment proceedings.

This ruling conflicts with the notion of free speech and only impede journalists that want to provide people with accurate information. In this case, there is no way around this ruling; however, in a better democracy, state judges should follow the same laws they expect their citizens to abide by Amendment.

In most states, there are no exceptions to freedom of speech. This means that state judges can’t censor journalists as they did in Louisiana. Even though a judge technically has power over what is and isn’t published in a court case, once something is published it belongs to the people and should be available for everyone’s information.

Citizens have a right to know what is going on in their government; therefore, journalists must be allowed to publish without restriction.

In a better democracy, state judges would follow federal laws as well as their laws because it would be against both sets of laws if they didn’t.

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