Weaponizing Freedom

Weaponizing Freedom

By: Paul Jacob Justice Elena Kagan has a way with words. The conservative majority on the court, she said after two recent rulings, is “weaponizing the First Amendment.” What a phrase! But what does it mean? “ Conservative groups, borrowing and building on arguments developed by liberals,” explains Adam Liptak in The New York Times , “have used the First Amendment to justify unlimited campaign spending, discrimination against gay couples and attacks on the regulation of tobacco, pharmaceuticals and guns.” First: if “liberals” now find themselves not supporting the idea of particular freedoms, or freedom in general, are they really “liberal”? Second: “borrowing arguments” is what we expect to happen. Logic isn’t partisan. Third: the point of the Bill of Rights is to “weaponize” the defense of freedom . Remember, it is freedom of speech; freedom of the press; freedom of association; freedom of exercising one’s religion. The First Amendment weaponizes their defense by disallowing Congress from legislating against them. Now, it has long been a “problem” that these listed freedoms blend together. They all work together or don’t work at all. And each points to freedom more broadly . Kagan wants to read freedoms narrowly — though liberals have, indeed, read them broadly in the past. Our left-of-center justice was objecting to two recent rulings. The first, decided June 26, prohibits states from requiring pregnancy centers to talk up abortion options to their clients. An obvious free speech issue. But free speech is not the point of progressivism. […]

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