The Edge of Free Speech

Monday, July 13, 2009

Martin Garbus, First Amendment attorney and the author of six books on the Supreme Court and constitutional law, discusses last week's ruling in the Ward Churchill case and other free speech cases.


Martin Garbus

Comments [11]

Robert from NYC

The First Amendment absolutists here miss the point, just as Mr. Garbus intended. No rational person with a working knowledge of Constitutional law and intent would argue that the law should prohibit "Prof." Churchill from expressing his views, no matter how offensive and poorly reasoned. The facts here are that Churchill was rightfully fired for lacking the intellect, the knowledge, and the academic rigor required by his job.

The First Amendment remains a fundamental concept upon which our republic thrives. Let us not demean it by hoisting this intellectual non-entity as our banner.

Jul. 13 2009 12:17 PM
frank from brooklyn

Bill, duh.

Jul. 13 2009 12:02 PM
Evan from New York, NY

Don Imus is a racist - the Rutgers case was not an isolated incident. He had previously called a paralegal at Chrysler, who had written to his publisher asking that Imus' book note that Jeep is a registered trademark, a "whore" and an "affirmative action candidate."

Jul. 13 2009 11:32 AM

We need to protect jackasses like Imus and Churchill. That's the whole point.

Jul. 13 2009 11:31 AM
frank from brooklyn

Don Imus is just a jackass.

Jul. 13 2009 11:28 AM
hc from brooklyn

Ok but what is not being discussed is the performative aspect of speech. Which is to say there is something that happens that is much more than "just speech" that can happen when threatening and/or hateful speech is directed against people. Is it JUST SPEECH when two people take their marriage vows, or when someone is charged and condemend to capital punishment or perhaps when Bernie Madoff promises legitimacy? It seems to me that we need to distinguish between speech which threatens through implying that particular people, classes or races of people etc. anything that undermines the rights that are provided under a democratic universal and speech which attempts to actually open up a debate or that does NOT dogmatically oppress. It is tricky but I think it is important to draw more nuanced guidelines.

Jul. 13 2009 11:28 AM
hjs from 11211

if people "think" the 1st amendment goes too far, they should demand that the constitution be changed. there is no point to having a law on the books that the bureaucracy doesn't have to follow.

Jul. 13 2009 11:26 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

This is a fascinating subject. I think Garbus is a hero. What people consistently forget, that the 1st Amendment doesn't have a great deal of use or meaning if it is only used to defend speech that we already agree with. The entire purpose of it is to defend speech that we may VEHEMENTLY DISAGREE WITH!! Hooray for you Martin Garbus!

Jul. 13 2009 11:25 AM

Maximum freedom of speech. Period. I will defend to the death your right to express your views, no matter how misguided they may be.

The woman who called in just argued that our country should be more closely modeled on N. Korea system.

That said, discussion should be clearly delineated between gov and private sector proscription of speech. Private sector proscription of speech is also speech.

Jul. 13 2009 11:25 AM
Mike in Park Slope

I feel like you're making light of the plagiarism charge in the Churchhill case. As a PhD Student and university instructor I believe it is the duty of any university employee to work hard to toss out anyone partaking in plagiarism whether they be student of professor. Academic integrity is all we have. This is something outsiders don't understand, especially a jury.

Jul. 13 2009 11:23 AM
Robert from NYC

What a pile of disingenuous claptrap. Ward Churchill is an absolute fraud as an academic and an intellect. All that needs be said is that this supposed authority in Native American studies is that he passed on the myth about Europeans performing germ warfare on Indians. He is a fraud, a plagarist, a joke, and obviously not at all intelligent.

I watched the "Little Eichmans" burn to death and their ashes blew into my home. Garbus, trying to slipstream off of this intellectual leech cheapen you and any views you have.

Jul. 13 2009 11:18 AM

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