A Major Win for First Amendment Rights

The inimitable James O’Keefe has chalked up a major win for transparency, truth, justice, and, of course, the American Way.

In a ruling that will probably reverberate all throughout the nation, a U.S. district court judge in Massachusetts has ruled that “government officials  engaged in their duties in public spaces” can be secretly recorded. The judge ruled unconstitutional a Massachusetts law that forbade the secret recording of public officials, including police officers, while they were performing their duties in a public space.

From the ruling:

In Glik, the First Circuit recognized the First Amendment’s protection for information-gathering has special force with respect to law enforcement officials who are granted so much discretion in depriving individuals of their liberties. … But the same basic interest applies generally to government officials:

Ensuring the public’s right to gather information about their officials not only aids in the uncovering of abuses, but also may have a salutary effect on the functioning of government more generally.”  …

Based on this case law, the Court holds that the First Amendment protects both audio and video recording. Because “the public’s right of access to information is coextensive with that of the press,” this right inures to individual citizens and journalists alike.

The court ruled that such audio and video recording can be performed secretly:

Consistent with the language of Glik, the Court holds that Section 99 may not constitutionally prohibit the secret audio recording of government officials, including law enforcement officials, performing their duties in public spaces, subject to reasonable time, manner, and place restrictions.

You may wonder, as did I, about the precise definitions of public spaces and government officials. The judge indicated these terms are more expansive than some may believe:

While Glik’s use of the term “public space” seems to indicate something broader than “public forum,” and its use of the term “government official” includes a broader scope of public official than “law enforcement officer,” the Court leaves it to subsequent cases to define these terms on a better record.

Even so, the judge ruled that government official includes government employees like police officers, not just elected or appointed members of the bureaucracy. The judge also discussed how public spaces may include private property that is, nevertheless, generally open to the public.

Very important takeaway: The judge clearly affirmed the First Amendment right of any citizen to engage in information gathering. In other words, at least this court has ruled that one does not have to be a “journalist” or an employee of a sanctioned mainstream media organization to have such First Amendment rights under the Constitution. We are all citizen journalists!

Which leads to another question:  Are public school classrooms public spaces, for the purpose of this ruling? Are public school teachers government officials? It would seem so, particularly since the judge mentions, in so many words, the right of the People to know what their government is doing, to gather information to prevent abuses by government, and to preserve individual rights whenever a government official is in a position to infringe upon someone else’s rights (like a captive audience of students).

Too often we’ve heard from students who have secretly recorded teachers engaging in abusive behavior, expounding partisan political propaganda, or infringing upon students’ rights of free speech, association, or religion.

We can only hope that public schools will now recognize this important ruling and adjust policies accordingly.

Students should have a recognized right to record publicly-paid teachers in the performance of their duties, so that students, the public, and parents can know what’s going on in our public schools.

Congratulations to James O’Keefe. Well done!




173 responses to “A Major Win for First Amendment Rights

  1. R …the DEAD .. WATCHING U ALL …? .. CRASH & BURN our USA?
    HOW SAD ..IT HURTS KNOWING ..they DIED 4 .. PELOSI’s Mouth etc.

  2. ROCK ON ….
    BOMBSHELL: Phony Dossier Summary James Comey Used in Briefing
    With [Then] President-Elect Trump Claimed British Spy Christopher Steele was Working for ‘Private Clients’ When He was Actually Working for the Democrat Party & the Hillary Clinton Campaign

    BOMBSHELL: Phony Dossier Summary >>> Comey Used in Briefing <<<


  3. Connect those dots, Democrats and others looking for Russians hiding under Republican beds. We have a former Deputy FBI Director, Andrew McCabe, campaigning for his wife who receives huge sums of $$$$ money from the Democratic Party of Clinton political ally Terry McAuliffe. After Clinton blames Russia for her election loss, Flynn becomes a target of an FBI probe in which his identity is illegally unmasked. He was a character witness on behalf of one of McCabe’s accusers. Was the largesse to Mrs. McCabe a quid for a future quo? Is all this just the result of McCabe’s lust for personal revenge?

    Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

    • We KNOW why they folded, but they want to deny it. You aren’t going to have a conservative audience if you’re hating on our POTUS. It ain’t gonna work. Go join the DemoncRATS, Rats.

  4. DENNIS PRAGER ….. WANTS 2 know !!!

    ….. just like BLACK LIVES? MATTERS? & ABORTIONS? &….

    • OM effing Gosh! Do we have to go through this all over again? Who the hell knew? Can you believe this?

      • ” … Harris’s mother, Dr. Shyamala G. Harris, was from India, arriving in Berkeley, CA in 1960. … Kamala’s father, Donald Harris, is a retired Stanford University economics professor whose biography affirms that he arrived in the U.S. in 1961 as an “Issa Scholar” from Jamaica. It adds that he was born in Jamaica and naturalized in the U.S. but does not provide the year.

        Neither parent reportedly was present in the U.S. as a legal resident for five years prior to Harris’s birth, a requirement to apply for naturalization …”

        This probably explains why they are so adamant about keeping the meme of Trump being a RACIST because he dared to question whether our “first African-American president” was born in the USA and thus even eligible. So we know who her parents are but unless Wikipedia is totally wrong, then we can deduce that for SURE (unless she also lies about when she was born) her parents could NOT have been citizens of the USA at the time she was born here. No wonder they also want to keep birthright citizenship but even if she has it, she is NOT by any definition a “natural born” citizen. Even if the parents were here legally, with green cards, it’s impossible to get naturalized before being here 5 years on a green card. Then you can APPLY for citizenship. Did her parents? If so, WHEN?

        • And in addition, here she is, possibly yet ANOTHER dual or triple citizen or, in her case, a quadruple citizen, seeing as how she went to school and was raised in CANADA. So Wikipedia says her father naturalized (at some unknown point) but did her mother EVER? Or did she actually naturalize in CANADA? Was Kamala also naturalized IN CANADA? And like Barry, she’s hiding TRUTHS from her “official” biography, omitting the entire sojourn in Canada. https://www.harris.senate.gov/about It says she grew up in Oakland, CA, but she grew up in CANADA, where she went to school because her mother got custody of her and moved to Canada! Amazing. It’s interesting that the bio doesn’t even say where she was born. Do we know for sure it was in the USA?

        • DRUM ROLL ….the BEAT goes ON!!! UNBELIEVABLE ..^^^
          & she is NOT 35 .. also …ha’ & what color R the cheaters? can’t say?

  5. SAD YES BUT U brought a child on the JOURNEY …& NO U CAN’T
    “$UE” … WTP’s … AZZES ….so Sorry … PACK up & go HOME!!!
    Tragedies like the death of 7-year-old Jaqelin Maquin … Do not denote wrongdoing. Tragedies happen Every day, ….all Around the world.
    Sometimes the only party responsible is chance.

    Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

    • Here’s my take:
      1. The parents are responsible, if anyone is. We don’t know what the child died from yet, do we? But if it was dehydration, lack of food, or a disease contracted on the way, then the fault lies squarely with her negligent parents.
      2. At a further remove, we can blame Obama for this because he and his policies directly encouraged people to come in “caravans” in the hope of continuing the pre-Trump ploy of pretending to be a refugee who deserved asylum. Obama’s the one who tried to extend asylum to include pretending to be persecuted by gangs or violence at home, when in actuality the person just wants to come here to take advantage of our better economy and/or to get social benefits that allow them to live far better on our welfare than they would ever do at home WORKING.
      3. This child would have probably died no matter where she was. She was apparently that sick with some illness that pre-dated her being picked up by the border patrol. Yes, it’s sad there were no hospitals available close to the desert crossing and it’s a shame there apparently weren’t any doctors on the bus that was taking her to civilization out of the desert where her father (?) pushed her across our border illegally. But had they not picked her up, then surely she would have died sooner out in the middle of the desert where who knows what her father (?) would have done with her then.
      4. Her parents should have kept her safe and warm, fed and sheltered, at home in whatever country she came from. If anyone is charged with her death, it should be them–negligent manslaughter?

  6. The Evidence indicates Mueller has Destroyed OR is suppressing Brady material. There was an original 302 created within 5 days — by FBI protocol — of the Jan. 24, 2016 ambush interview of General Flynn by two agents — Strzok & Special Agent Joe Pientka. It is mentioned in the Strzok-Page text messages & on page four of the recrafted 302 Mueller filed.
    …. Comey read the Original 302 before HE was fired.


    • They destroyed it for the same reason Hillary destroyed her evidence. They always get away with it, too. Sandy Burglar did, on her behalf. It’s WHAT THEY DO. By their corrupt deeds ye shall know them. DemoncRATS. No morals. No ethics. No honesty. Just “by any means necessary.”

    • WE NEED A SPECIAL COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE THE SPECIAL COUNSEL. Trump’s new AG should appoint one, forthwith.

    • There’s yet another instance, PROVEN, of Comey lying to Congress. He testified that he only met Obama twice, but now there’s a memo by Susan Rice that documents that Comey was in a meeting WITH OBAMA and others early in January, the day before, iirc, he supposedly briefed President-elect Trump on the dossier. That was an outright lie because he did not tell them of that meeting with OBAMA (to help set up the incoming POTUS), deliberately, surely, and he lied specifically about the number of times he ever met Obama. This is a criminal act. If Flynn is to be charged with lying because he didn’t remember something exactly the way it happened, then surely Comey should be charged with lying to Congress because he apparently deliberately misled, at best, the Congress. TWO IS NOT EQUAL TO THREE, SO HE IS GUILTY OF PERJURING HIMSELF TO CONGRESS.

    • And for sure Mueller is guilty of obstruction because he KNEW that Strzok was a main witness against Flynn, actually with Pientka missing, apparently, he’s basically the only witness against him (in the form of the 7-month late 302, which was fabricated after Strzok was outed as biased and compromised and deserving of firing, if not worse). He destroyed evidence against Flynn or even perhaps exculpatory when he destroyed Strzok’s phone. Surely there was something on that phone that related to the need to recreate (fabricate) a 302 BEFORE THEY FIRED STRZOK. He had that phone from the time he was put on Mueller’s team until he was fired. Anything he discussed on it via text with regard to Flynn would be potential EVIDENCE in the Flynn case. But Mueller allowed it to be destroyed. EVEN IF it was just some bureaucratic mix-up (and who believes this?) in that the process was to turn in the phone and then some low-level tech scrubs it, BOTH STRZOK and MUELLER knew it contained evidence related to Flynn and Trump. The FACT also that someone on Mueller’s team (Mueller himself?) claims that when they went over the phone there was nothing of importance on it, may indicate that the reason there was nothing on it was that Strzok, being aware of his jeopardy, had already scrubbed it himself, maybe with bleach? Or maybe with “a cloth or something?”

  7. now he spouts LAW’s 2 little 2 LATE go back 2 SCHOOL get re-freshed
    you’ll have SOME …. time NOW!!!

  8. ~ overboosted ✓ᴰᴱᴾᴸᴼᴿᴬᴮᴸᴱ • ….^^^^ THE TRUTH >>>>>>
    Krapperdick is toxic. His claim to fame is going to be the guy that caused
    the NFL to fade into obscurity. Libtard entertainers are boycotting them, patriotic Americans are boycotting them & liberal snowflakes never watched anything but the Super Bowl anyway. ( for the commercials – LOL )

    Proud to be NFL Free! …..YES FREE FREE FREE …F KRAPER-DICK’
    ~ aKa Randy Yonkers overboosted ✓ᴰᴱᴾᴸᴼᴿᴬᴮᴸᴱ •
    What’s an nfl ? What’s a superbowl ???
    What’s a kraperdìk ?
    oh yeah…things that don’t matter.

    ~ JE aKa Randy Yonkers •
    Funny how the other players who took a knee are still employed*…
    because they play better than Kaeper-nike.
    * unfortunately <>>Liberals Destroy Everything they TOUCH. <<<<


  9. Me too Miri.

  10. …. Life as a Trump-Supporting Female in Manhattan / ….. By P G ….
    As that rarest of species in Manhattan – a single female & therapist who supports the policies of Donald Trump – I am routinely informed by my dates & peers that, in addition to my common, domestic lifestyle, I am “Destroying the world.”
    Finding someone whom I can share my life with is a priority, & I am on a mainstream dating site. After a favorable email exchange with a divorced guy, things moved to a phone conversation. He asked what I do. I said I am a therapist. We talked about our mutual interest in running, & I said that if I got accepted to run N.Y. again, I would train on the treadmill while listening to Trump’s Speeches. I said that would B Nirvana. He then said the president is Guilty of genocide for what He is “doing” to the caravan people. ? He then said we are Not a Match, that people Like ME are Destroying the world – but wished me luck & then said,
    …. “Lord help us” <<<< ???? ….before hanging up on me. <<<
    go with God??? … RISE ABOVE the SWAMPers …. so wrong BUTT'…

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/12/life_as_a_trumpsupporting_female_in_manhattan.html ..^^^ STAND with OUR MAN! YES WTP DO!

    YEP …I've shared & when they stew a while they LASH OUT when they
    see me again… …SINCE they
    R …O' so SMART ??? what a BUNCH of DUMB AZZ'es REALLY NUTS!

    then .. Dennis Preger shared that 2 CUT 2 the Chase< …LET them KNOW
    U …LISTEN 2 the DENNIS PREGER show!!! YEP …that's ALL it TAKES…
    a fat black worker dude @ha' taco bell raged out loud when I entered & sat down… STILL BUTT' was BURNING <<< that I Shared I LOVE the T Weeks earlier etc… ??? …as they R …. THE…. barry / hillary…. lovers 4 sure!
    And a mental book shelver from the library sat next to me once…after he saw my T pin …& overheard me share something with another person…weeks
    prior again … as what he said was partly wrong ..BUTT' GOT into a 100% melt down trying to quote what I said … etc. ..DAILY they DISH it OUT …1 SIDED 24/7 …. as WTP …HEAD's UP MARCH FORWARD …B HAPPY ..

  11. YEp… Walk like an EGYPTIAN’ …. 2018′ what a Find!

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