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NEWS
February 28, 2013
In his column ("Campus liberals run amok," Feb. 24), Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a former congressman, stated the following: "Politically correct speech codes barring 'offensive expression' continue unabated on many campuses. Such policies chill expression (protected by the First Amendment) that might be found offensive - to any and all. " Without commenting on the validity of his "run amok" argument, I should like to point out that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
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NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr and By Leonard Pitts Jr | August 15, 2014
Looks like police in Ferguson, Mo., took it upon themselves to suspend the First Amendment Wednesday night. It seems two reporters, Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post and Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post, were working at a McDonald's, which has been used as a staging ground by reporters covering the ongoing unrest following the Aug. 9 police shooting of an unarmed African-American man. According to their accounts, the two were accosted by...
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NEWS
June 2, 2014
As a peace activist who believes strongly in the First Amendment and as a proponent of animal rights, I really enjoyed reading Bruce Friedrich's commentary, "Everybody suffers when officers act like they're above the law" (May 29). Of particular interest was the Frederick Douglass quote: "To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker. It is just as criminal to rob a man of his right to speak and hear as it would be to rob him of his money.
NEWS
July 22, 2014
In a letter in the Sun, Kelli Kirchner of Cumberland expresses her happiness with the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision and seems to believe no one should question or try to change it ( "Why is Mikulski trying to 'fix' the Supreme Court decision?" July 20). Well, I have news for her. As long as we have freedom of speech (as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution), we will always be free to question and try to change (via legislation or constitutional amendment) any decision of any court.
NEWS
May 13, 2014
On May 6, Dan Rodricks wrote a column concerning prayer in Carroll County Commission meetings ( "A 'frustrating, disingenuous' Supreme Court ruling"). Mr. Rodricks quotes the prayer that Robin Frazier read and then quotes a law professor, "the Founding Fathers and framers of the Constitution - Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and others - might have mentioned a specific religion when speaking among themselves, but when they addressed the public they were 'incredibly sensitive' not to appear to favor any particular creed.
EXPLORE
June 21, 2012
Editor: I'd like to add a point to Jim Kennedy's informative column "Gas pipeline raises issue of individual rights. " I agree it's important to be able talk to those who represent us. I've attended two meetings in Fallston where that district's councilman felt ethically compelled to leave while the pipeline was being discussed because Harford's rules are so unclear. Council Members Dion Guthrie, Joseph Woods and Mary Ann Lisanti have submitted Bill 12-33 to solve this problem.
NEWS
By Nathan Tucker | March 22, 2010
Do protesters have the constitutionally protected right to picket your fallen soldier's funeral and harass the proceedings? That is the question the Supreme Court will attempt to answer after it agreed to hear Snyder v. Phelps, a case in which the jury awarded a $5 million verdict against a Kansas pastor who has made headlines by protesting the funerals of fallen service members. Previous court rulings may suggest that the answer is yes. But a careful examination of the wording of the Constitution -- not to mention simple common sense -- suggests otherwise.
NEWS
May 18, 2010
It was refreshing to see The Sun's position in its letter to President Obama this morning ("Thanks for the letters, Mr. Obama" May 18). President Obama, in announcing Elena Kagan as his Supreme Court choice, apparently alluding to her role in the Citizens United case, said "...powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens." This refers to a second round of oral arguments last September in the Citizens United case, which Ms. Kagan and the U.S. government ultimately lost and the First Amendment won, when it became apparent that Elena Kagan holds that banning political speech can be constitutional.
NEWS
May 31, 2011
I'm writing regarding your Saturday, May 28th front page news article titled "Harbor leafleting flap raises First Amendment questions. " As one who fiercely guards and treasures my First Amendment rights, I want to commend Bruce Friedrich and his six like-minded friends who on Sunday, May 22nd, believing they were exercising their First Amendment protected rights, handed out leaflets near the National Aquarium at the Inner Harbor. That security guards asked them to leave, and a Baltimore police officer threatened to arrest him, was astonishingly reprehensible and came perilously close to unconstitutionality.
NEWS
April 29, 2014
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling may be a lot of things, probably negative to most people, but first and foremost he is a citizen of the United States. If a person is engaged in an intimate or personal conversation, he would presume that it is one of a private nature. I guess the liberal media doesn't respect First Amendment rights! They have taken to this story like lions to the Christians! The left wing often explains freedom of speech as "protection of words that most find abhorrent"; where are they on this one?
NEWS
June 4, 2014
Sadly, commentator Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. repeats the babble of religious conservatives who claim that the "free exercise" of religion includes the right to impose their own religion on everyone else at government meetings or other government-sponsored institutions, including public school classrooms ( "Freedom of, not from, religion," June 1). The repetition of religious formulas of prayer or even extemporaneous forms of prayer as part of a public event is an imposition of religion at that event.
NEWS
June 4, 2014
In his zeal to make the case supporting the propriety of public prayer, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. bases his argument on two falsehoods ( "Freedom of, not from, religion," June 1). First, he says "the framers never used the phrase 'separation of church and state' - except that Thomas Jefferson coined that phrase, approvingly, in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Church. James Madison used the same language in his letter to Robert Walsh. Since these men are, respectively, the authors of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, I believe they do qualify as the "framers.
NEWS
June 2, 2014
As a peace activist who believes strongly in the First Amendment and as a proponent of animal rights, I really enjoyed reading Bruce Friedrich's commentary, "Everybody suffers when officers act like they're above the law" (May 29). Of particular interest was the Frederick Douglass quote: "To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker. It is just as criminal to rob a man of his right to speak and hear as it would be to rob him of his money.
NEWS
May 29, 2014
The atheists and humanists are at it again. Now, they want a federal judge to order the dismantling of the "Peace Cross," a memorial to Prince George's County's World War I war dead which has stood on public land since 1925 ( "Md. cross in church-state fight," May 26). The plaintiffs assert "that displaying the structure on public land 'amounts to the endorsement and advancement of religion (and specifically, an endorsement of and affiliation with Christianity),' in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution.
NEWS
May 29, 2014
Regarding that cross in Bladensburg, when talking about the separation of church and state has anyone actually read the First Amendment to the Constitution ( "Veterans' cross in Maryland at the center of national battle," May 25)? Why is the phrase "prohibiting the free exercise thereof" never mentioned? Doesn't the First Amendment say that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances?"
NEWS
By Bruce Friedrich | May 28, 2014
Three years ago, I joined six of my friends in passing out vegetarian recipes and information at the Inner Harbor. Baltimore City Police officers ordered us to stop and demanded that we leave the property, under threat of arrest. So last week, we sued those officers for violating our constitutional rights. We had a First Amendment right to pass out literature at the Inner Harbor, and we had proof of our right to be there - the property management company's specific guidelines - which the officers refused to acknowledge.
NEWS
August 29, 2011
Del. Ron George, in his naive anti-Sharia diatribe ("Sharia law is a real threat to American liberties," Aug. 24), seems to overlook the obvious remedy - the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Since Mr. George, surprisingly an actual member of the Maryland House of Delegates, claims to be one of those "who seek to safeguard liberty," he might want to check out the document that our founders wrote for this very purpose and be reassured that there is absolutely no way Sharia law or any other religious dogma could ever be recognized as having a legal basis in America.
NEWS
February 6, 2013
News flash for Robert Ehrlich: The undeserved pot shot at the ACLU in your recent op-ed speculating on life if Mitt Romney had won the presidency is, indeed, based on fantasy and delusion ("What might have been: Life under President Romney" Jan. 27). As a Ravens fan, I must set the record straight. Far from wishing to keep Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis from invoking God during post-game interviews, the ACLU would defend his right to pray any time during the game he wants. The First Amendment protects his right to pray.
NEWS
May 13, 2014
On May 6, Dan Rodricks wrote a column concerning prayer in Carroll County Commission meetings ( "A 'frustrating, disingenuous' Supreme Court ruling"). Mr. Rodricks quotes the prayer that Robin Frazier read and then quotes a law professor, "the Founding Fathers and framers of the Constitution - Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and others - might have mentioned a specific religion when speaking among themselves, but when they addressed the public they were 'incredibly sensitive' not to appear to favor any particular creed.
NEWS
May 1, 2014
It seems that letter writer Mark Pfaff is unfamiliar with the United States Constitution and its First Amendment ( "What about Donald Sterling's First Amendment rights?" April 29). Donald Sterling was not punished or prevented from speaking out by the government. Therefore, his First Amendment rights have not been violated. He has been sanctioned by the commissioner of the NBA, as is his right. Speech and actions have consequences, even speech that is covered under the First Amendment.
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