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. WOW!!

  2. Engoy!!

    • She’s great! I couldn’t help but laugh when she said, “sometimes he listens and sometimes he doesn’t.” Isn’t that like EVERY husband? (And wife, to be fair.)

  3. YES WE ….WILL …. BUILD a BORDER WALL / fence pros & Cons
    LET’S TALK ABOUT ……IT!!! … HOW DOES it SERVE WTP?
    O’ …..let USA Count the WAYS!!!

    https://oversight.house.gov/hearing/border-wall-strengthening-national-security/

  4. ……
    Compromise involves giving up things you want & accepting things you don’t want for a result that, despite its defects, leaves you better off than when you started. In that sense, a grand compromise on immigration is conceivable. The open question is whether both sides are willing to compromise — & today’s agendas are simply negotiating positions — or whether they prefer endless political theater.

    The Washington Post ….
    Robert J. Samuelson is a Washington Post columnist.
    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-wall-daca-immigration-trump-samuelson-1012-20171011-story.html

    • No. They’re supposed to give the PEOPLE what the PEOPLE want. We the People have said time and time again that WE WANT THE WALL. 2/3 of the People are for the wall. No negotiating necessary. We don’t say, give us the wall in return for legalizing 800,000+ ILLEGAL ALIENS who came here ILLEGALLY and who deserve nothing more from us.

  5. Pelosi: Democrats Are NOT Going To FUND Trump’s “Immoral” Border Wall
    Posted By Ian Schwartz … Dec. 6, 2018

    Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who is slated to become the next speaker of
    the House, called a border wall … “immoral, ineffective, & expen$ive” ?
    & promised it will not be funded at a press conference Thursday.?????

    PROTECT & SERVE?..or SERVE MR. PRESIDENT & PROTECT US ALL

    • Yeah. Duh. WE THE PEOPLE are the ones who fund ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. Pelosi and the DemoncRATS don’t fund things. WE DO and WE THE PEOPLE WANT THE WALL.

  6. no …Lamb CHOPS …no CRAB CLAWS ….ha’ ha’…U R on a DIET!
    “PERFECT” what’s GOOD 4 the GOOSE ha’ ..LOVE IT! GO~TRUMP

    Journalists who attended the events, which featured a catered buffet of
    Lamb chops, Crab claws & Elaborate desserts, GOT 2 Roam the decorated mansion with a Spouse or other Family member, a Friend or a Colleague, adding to the invitation’s allure.
    as U all SHOWED YOUR COLOR’S BIG TIME … NO ROOM @theINN!
    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/12/13/president-trump-cancels-white-house-media-christmas-party/

    • Truly. Did We the People have to pay for this in the past? Good deal he cancels on them. It would be like having a Christmas party for all the people who were mean to you all throughout high school. Bullies, mean girls, and the like. Maybe he should have given them a party like Carrie gave her “friends.”

    • Because the Clintons have ALWAYS been for the “little people” and against the mega-rich. Is this Clinton/Indian collusion?

  7. The War of the Roses ~ 1989 ~ Thelma & Louise ~ 1991
    Mr. & Mrs. Smith ~ 2005 …… ^^^^^
    .. looking UP Lyrics 4 a song …& stumbled on 2 THIS ..WOW!
    the words go … “Love the way she Walks …Walk on by”… ? help!

  8. What happened this week

    This is Dave Janda
    He is very very accurate and broadcasts a subscription show,
    this is one of the free bits he provides from time to time
    recommended
    highly
    Note:
    Those envelopes contained a note from Q
    saying don’t forget about me.
    Proves Q isn’t some pimply kid in a basement

  9. I subscribed 9 bucks a month
    This is to say nothing other than I have the most confidence in the alt news source over any of the other ones I have posted/
    Obviously, you can’t uank and post paid for content,
    but if I get any heads up warnings I’ll pass them on.

  10. FBI defies subpoena for docs on its Raid on Uranium One whistleblower

    …… By Thomas Lifson
    The Deep State now is publicly baring its fangs at us, laughing at ineffective attempts to hold it accountable for abuse & worse. I hate to be alarmist, but we have police agencies misbehaving & then destroying the evidence and refusing to cooperate with constitutional oversight functions. Just in the last couple of days, we have learned that critical form 302 records were altered months after they were first created regarding the FBI interview upon which General Michael Flynn was prosecuted.
    And we learned that the Special Counsel’s Office of Robert Mueller scrubbed access to the text messages of Peter Strzok & Lisa Page, the texting blabbermouths who revealed the D.S. “insurance policy” in the event Trump won the presidency.

    https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/12/fbi_defies_subpoena_for_docs_on_its_raid_on_uranium_one_whistleblower.html#ixzz5ZhFHz76f
    Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook
    https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/12/fbi_defies_subpoena_for_docs_on_its_raid_on_uranium_one_whistleblower.html

    • And apparently Mueller ignored a direct order from the court to produce ALL the FD302s and ALL associated documents by yesterday afternoon.

    • NOBODY should be shocked that federal agencies are CONTINUING to destroy evidence. They DESTROYED DOCUMENTS AND EVIDENCE BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER OBAMA’S REIGN. All to protect him from the TRUTH about who he is being revealed. They ALLOWED them to get away with it so why should they be shocked now that they believe they can continue to ignore the law?

      • https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/fox-news-host-no-modern-first-lady-treated-badly-melania-trump-internet-begs-differ-212115041.html

        WHO IS / WAS … OBAMA’s…. DAD? MOM? A REAL? BIRTH CERT?
        THE SOURCE of BARRY Is & WAS the REAL BURN WTP’s BUTT’ ha’
        SHE HE HER THEM …WTP …GOT TRICKED? YEP .. I THINK YES!
        PROVE WTP WRONG …BUTT’ ha they NEVER EVER answered THAT
        that’s as LOW as 1 CAN GO! LIE in USA’s FACE & .. TOOK OUR $$$$
        NO PROOF that CAN BE TRACED …JUST PHONY PHONY PEOPLE!
        ….”ACT” like ANIMALS ….get CALLED …ON IT!!! non-HUMAN! YEP!

        The internet rallied against Kurtz’s comments by citing examples when former first lady Michelle Obama was harshly criticized???? 4 her appearance, called a Man? …. even compared to an ape — by Fox reporters, no less. As for one of Obama’s predecessors, Hillary Clinton, she was subjected to scrutiny at the hands of Kurtz in 1998.

  11. THE WALL WILL HELP US ALL … IN the WALL WTP TRUST! GO WALL
    Whether or not the government will shut down in the next couple of weeks remains to be seen. If Pelosi & Schumer thought their White House meeting with President Trump was an opportunity to outsmart the president, they thought wrong.
    Donald Trump has said from day 1 he’s working in the Best Interest of the American people, & apparently, he intends to build the wall.

    https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/12/calling_their_bluff.html

  12. SCREW them DEMS…. they are LIVING JOKE-STERS in OUR FACES
    they C A N ‘ T … STAND 2 PROTECT AMERICANS NEVER-EVER! BS!
    https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/12/democrats_cant_stand_the_thought_of_protecting_americans.html

    • Of course they totally love Beyonce’s brassy bleached blond look. CERTAINLY FAKE and cultural appropriation. Who would believe she’s a “natural” blond?

  13. THROW …IT OUT!!! …yes he fibbed …like O’ so many .. BUTT’ ..serve
    & PROTECT.. & lie..LINE UP ALL the “OTHERS”..& SCREW them 2! OK
    WTP PRAY 4 FLYNN ….

    https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/12/is_the_flynn_guilty_plea_going_to_be_thrown_out.html

  14. …… a book ….Wise Child …B.K. Tyler 11/2/18′ …OBAMA!!!!!
    Another Legal Whodunit From Full Court Press

    A lawyer’s personal account of his involvement in an unusual case at the request of a mysterious client.

    “You must be aware of the claims that our President should not hold office because he was not born in this country. I want Mr. Tyler to conduct an independent and full examination of all the evidence from the ground up.”

    “Sheds new light on recent events…. Tyler’s characters are supposedly fictitious, but how much of this might be true?”
    —— Margo Beech, Hartford Review

  15. ~ John ……..???? SO
    Why does the media continue to Obsess over this MOOCHIE? Her husband has been OUT of office over 18 months & the Left wing networks just Gush over everything She? does in public. Laura & Barbara Bush did Not do this. Neither did Nancy Reagen, Pat Nixon or Jackie Kennedy. The only exception I can think of is Hillary Clinton. She was Secretary of State & then began her Presidential run. Everyone fawns over Saint Michelle while the media & Democrats have little use for & condemn Melania Trump. She is a beautiful inside and out.

    the beyonce’ dance OFF?… REALLY ..PUSH it in our FACES! >E G O?<
    O' GO FLUSH & FLOSS … ALL ya'want 2 …ONLY NUTS R so NEEDY!
    WOW WOW …LOOK @ME I'm COOL….WOW WOW LOOK KIDDIES… ?
    SURE LAUGH all the way 2 the BANK $$$ WTP SEE U BOTH! go away

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/merry-moves-michelle-obama-dance-204355574.html

    Where did it come from?
    15 year-old Russell Horning, better known as The Backpack Kid, is the creator of the floss dance. Horning was already popular on social media
    for posts of his stiff-armed dancing ….

  16. ~Michael …. ZERO CLASS ……..
    ~Matt ….How dare she dance when there are kids with no legs!
    That’s what they’d say if it Were Melania!
    ~Chessgal ….She misses the spot light. Like Oprah.

  17. oldsailor86 | December 15, 2018 at 6:34 pm |
    & TONIGH…..right now…
    …..the IMPEACHMENT of SLICK WILLY is being presented on the Smithsonian channel. We all remember the one thing he could not LIE ABOUT was the DNA found on the infamous BLUE DRESS. It was then clear that Slick Willy had lied to the Congressional Grand Jury while UNDER OATH. Sadly he was protected from being removed from office by some equally criminal Senators, & a Crooked Judge. He LIED WHILE UNDER OATH….which is the WORST POSSIBLE SIN of a POTUS. & rightfully he should have been REMOVED FROM OFFICE….instead he was Merely CENSURED. The liberals demanded Nixon’s removal…so he resigned
    rather than face impeachment..

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