Influential Supreme Court blogger Tom Goldstein believes Obama will select his attorney general to replace Antonin Scalia.
Goldstein initially believed Ninth Circuit Judge Paul Watford would get the nomination. “On reflection, I think that Attorney General Loretta Lynch is more likely. I also think that the Republicans will eventually permit the nomination to proceed on the merits and reject it on party lines,” he wrote on Sunday.
In December Lynch attacked the First Amendment. She criticized “the ability of people to issue hateful speech of all types from the anonymity of a screen.”
Speaking to a Muslim Advocates dinner in Arlington, Virginia, Lynch said although “this is a country that is based upon free speech,” she promised that the Justice Department would “take action” when speech “edges towards violence, when we see the potential to lift… that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric.”
Realizing the perception created by the call to prosecute individuals exercising their right to free speech under the First Amendment, Lynch later “recalibrated” her remarks.
“Of course, we prosecute deeds and not words,” she said at a press conference held to announce a Justice Department civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department.
Lynch’s comment about the “anonymity of a screen” is direct reference to the internet. In 1997 the Supreme Court ruled in Reno v. ACLU that the internet is entitled to the highest level of First Amendment protection akin to that afforded to the print medium.
The Double Standard of a Liberal First Amendment
Liberals contend “hate speech” is excluded from First Amendment protection.
In May, 2015, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, the son of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and a former ABC News chief law and justice correspondent, tweeted that the First Amendment does not protect so-called hate speech. “Hate speech is excluded from protection. Don’t just say you love the Constitution … read it.” The tweet was removed following a backlash.
So pervasive is the highly selective liberal standard on free speech, a full 40% of college educated millennials believe the government has the authority to persecute individuals who make offensive comments against government designated minority groups.
A Pew Research poll, however, found a majority of Americans support the First Amendment. Democrats lead those who believe the government should be able to limit speech.
First Amendment: The Cornerstone of Liberty
The architects of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights understood that freedom of speech and religion—both are contained and linked in the First amendment—are essential for the exercise of liberty.
“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost,” wrote Thomas Jefferson.
Benjamin Franklin noted that freedom of speech is integral to the Constitution. “Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government: When this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates,” he wrote.
Writing as Silence Dogood, a pen name used for articles published by his brother’s newspaper, the New-England Courant, Franklin said: “Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.”
Upon receiving the Lauterbach Award in 1952, William O. Douglas, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, said: “Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”
A Liberal Court and the Death of a Constitutional Republic
If nominated and confirmed, as Goldstein predicts, Lynch will carry the liberal mantle to the highest court.
Prior to his death under suspicious circumstances, Justice Scalia said liberalism has diluted the constitutional role of the Court. He said the majority of justices are “not adhering to the text, they’re operating as policy makers… They’re not interpreting the Constitution. They’re writing one, they’re revising one.”
Scalia said the principles of a constitutional republic are in jeopardy under the sway of liberal judges. “I cannot imagine the system can continue with more and more of the basic rules made by the Supreme Court.”