March 18, 2019 | By Chadwick Moore
In December 1943, a woman named Grace Marsh stood outside the post office in Chickasaw, Alabama, distributing religious literature. Chickasaw, a company town privately owned by the Gulf Shipbuilding Corp., arrested Ms. Marsh, a Jehovah’s Witness, on trespassing charges and her case went to the U.S. Supreme Court pitting private property rights against the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
Lower courts affirmed the corporation’s right to police constitutionally-protected activities on private land, but the Supreme Court reversed this, arguing the public’s constitutional freedoms supersede the owner’s rights if that owner sufficiently opens up his property to the public….
But First Amendment lawyer Ron Coleman says don’t count on a SCOTUS decision anytime soon. “What we’re missing is a political moment. Courts are not deft to political moments. Anyone who thinks so is not familiar with how the New Deal became reality,” Mr. Coleman, who is representing Twitter-exile Gavin McInnes in a defamation suit against the Southern Poverty Law Center, says. “But courts are not going to step-up until there is movement from the other branches of government. The legislative branch and the executive branch are not doing a thing. And until they do, the courts are not going to be the answer.”…
One Florida lawmaker is attempting to do just that. On Friday, Republican state Sen. Joe Gruters introduced the Stop Social Media Censorship Act, which proposes a minimum $75,000 penalty on social media giants if they censor or delete a user’s political or religious speech. Large social media websites will be prohibited “from using hate speech as a defense,” as hate speech is not recognized by the First Amendment. The bill does not protect calls for violence or obscene, pornographic, or criminal content.
“It should be done on a state-by-state basis,” Mr. Gruters tells me. “When you have these social media companies that are interwoven in our society, it’s like speaking on a street corner. It’s so part of your everyday life, by taking away someone’s ability to communicate, even if you don’t agree with them, it does more harm than good.”
The bill is awaiting in committee and Mr. Gruters, who describes himself as center-right and is supporting and anti-LGBT discrimination bill, is optimistic, despite already getting smeared as an advocate for fringe extremist. . . .
Despite Silicon Valley’s unabashed election-meddling and left-wing politicking, technology companies do abide by the speech laws in places they do business. Conservative pundit Michelle Malkin learned firsthand when, last week, Ms. Malkin, an American-born citizen residing in the United States, received a bizarre message from Twitter that one of her posts violated Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Last year, Google capitulated to the Muslim government of Indonesia and removed over 70 gay-themed apps from its Play Store. Tech giants scramble to keep up with the European Union’s ever-evolving anti-speech codes, and they’re more than happy to completely hand the keys over to China in order to do business there. If Pakistan can strong-arm Twitter to respect its speech restrictions, there’s no reason the United States can’t enforce its own speech freedoms.
Mr. Coleman says the stakes are high and may be up to mavericks like Mr. Gruters. “A rotten rough of adopted, in-house, court conservatives are absolutely hands-off on this issue because their legitimacy is premised on them being affiliated with legacy names and legacy media,” he says. “This is going to be not only the death knell of the Republican party, but of democracy, because the Democrat party is absolutely embracing fascism.”
(Excerpted from The Washington Times, Chadwick Moore reporting.)