In a New York Times article this week, writer Adam Liptak highlighted one of the final rulings to come out of the Supreme Court before recess: A decision that said government – the California government, to be specific – had no right to force crisis pregnancy clinics to tell their clients where to get a cheap abortion. The clinics, citing the right to free speech and the right to free exercise of religion, argued that by compelling them to offer their customers information on where to terminate their pregnancies, the California law was putting them in the position of defying their own beliefs. Indeed, as Justice Clarence Thomas put it, the law defied the very reason that these mobile pregnancy centers exist: To encourage mothers to keep their babies alive.
In his article, though, Liptak quoted Justice Elena Kagan’s dissent in that case, in which she accused conservatives of having the unmitigated audacity to actually USE the First Amendment! How dare they!
From the Times:
Conservatives, said Justice Kagan, who is part of the court’s four-member liberal wing, were “weaponizing the First Amendment.”
Conservative groups, borrowing and building on arguments developed by liberals, have used the First Amendment to justify unlimited campaign spending, discrimination against gay couples and attacks on the regulation of tobacco, pharmaceuticals and guns.
“The right, which had for years been hostile to and very nervous about a strong First Amendment, has rediscovered it,” said Burt Neuborne, a law professor at New York University.
As a result, liberals who once championed expansive First Amendment rights are now uneasy about them.
“The left was once not just on board but leading in supporting the broadest First Amendment protections,” said Floyd Abrams, a prominent First Amendment lawyer and a supporter of broad free-speech rights. “Now the progressive community is at least skeptical and sometimes distraught at the level of First Amendment protection which is being afforded in cases brought by litigants on the right.”
This is a phenomenon we’ve seen growing on college campuses around the country, and now it’s apparently set to go mainstream. Not only are hard-left socialists like Antifa trying to prevent conservatives from spreading their message, we now have New York Times writers and Supreme Court Justices worried about the First Amendment and how it applies to the other side of the aisle.
After fighting for years to cherish and protect the right to free expression, the left has suddenly become the champions of censorship and regulation. Which, given the vast majority of their political platform, fits in much better with their overall ideology. Government belongs literally everywhere (except a woman’s reproductive choices.)