Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Senators Sign Up For 'Free Speech 101'

Senators Sign Up For 'Free Speech 101': The Senate Judiciary Committee tackles social and philosophical questions out on the edges of constitutionality. They process proposed constitutional amendments, and their subcommittee on the Constitution oversees constitutional rights’ protection and enforcement. It was only a matter of time, then, before the committee got around to considering the regular eruptions of First Amendment crises at our nation’s colleges and universities.
At a hearing Tuesday morning dubbed Free Speech 101, the committee chairman, Iowa senator Charles Grassley, stated the obvious but all-too-often forgotten academic axiom that “higher education rests on the free flow of ideas.”
The senator quoted the landmark 1943 Supreme Court decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, which affirmed public school children’s right to decline their allegiance to the flag at a time when their fathers were fighting fascism overseas. “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics,” Grassley read, the words borrowed from Justice Robert Jackson, who penned the court’s opinion in that case (not long after, President Roosevelt would select Jac

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