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US Supreme Court Hands the Trump Administration its Second Major Victory This Week

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

June 27,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Washington DC, for the second time in a week the US Supreme court gave the Trump administration a major win . First on Tuesday the Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s travel ban affecting several mostly Muslim countries, offering an endorsement of the president’s executive authority on immigration in one of the hardest-fought battles of this term.

The 5-4 ruling marks the first major high court decision on a Trump administration policy and it upholds the selective travel restrictions.

Today in perhaps a more significant issue for New Jersey Taxpayers and in a major legal and political defeat for municipal and state unions, the Supreme Court ruled once again 5-4 that state government workers cannot be forced to pay so-called “fair share” fees to support collective bargaining and other union activities.

Unions claim 5 million government employees in 24 states including New Jersey and the District of Columbia will be affected by this ruling.

The so called “Janus decision” is seen as a victory for Free Speech advocates . Teachers and other public sector members will now have freedom to choose to voluntarily join a union if they decide it will serve their interests, rather than endure compulsory fees to unions that put their own agenda first. Public sector unions will no longer be able to force non-members to pay bloated “agency fees” as a condition of employment.

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U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Unions vs Free Speech Case

supreme_court_building

February 23,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Washington DC, The Supreme Court is scheduled to return to Washington next week after nearly a month off. The justices will hear a number of important oral arguments, including a case involving free speech, and public employee unions.

Next Monday February 26th , the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in one of the most anticipated cases of the year, the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31.

This case could have an enormous impact on big union states like New Jersey and may impact many unions political influence like the NJEA.

The case focuses on Mark Janus who is not a public sector union member but has to pay fees ie inion dues anyway. Janus argues these fees “violate his free speech and free association rights.”

This case involves forcing public employees who opt out of union membership to pay a fee for the “fair share” of costs associated with collective bargaining. Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee, argues that forcing him to subsidize the union he has declined to join violates his free speech and free association rights.

The court will look at whether to overturn its 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which held that public employees could be forced to pay an agency fee.

This very issue was before the court in 2016 when Justice Antonin Scalia died. The court deadlocked 4-4 in Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association, thereby upholding the lower court ruling in favor of the California Teachers Association.

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Poll: 71% of Americans Say Political Correctness Has Silenced Discussions

civility_the_ridgewoodblog

civility in Ridgewood 

October 31,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, according to the Cato 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, a new national poll of 2,300 U.S. adults, finds that 71% Americans believe that political correctness has silenced important discussions our society needs to have. The consequences are personal—58% of Americans believe the political climate prevents them from sharing their own political beliefs.

We have gotten to the point that 65% of Americans (and 54% of college and graduate students) say college students should discuss which halloween costumes might be seen as offensive without the involvement of college administrators.

Democrats are unique, however, in that a slim majority (53%) do not feel the need to self-censor. Conversely, strong majorities of Republicans (73%) and independents (58%) say they keep some political beliefs to themselves

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Pelosi Denounces Antifa Violence in Berkeley

ANTIFA

Pelosi Statement Condemning Antifa Violence in Berkeley

August 31,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ , Democrats finally begin to take antifa  violence seriously and start to distance them selves.

San Francisco,  Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement denouncing the violent protests carried out this weekend in Berkeley, California:

“Our democracy has no room for inciting violence or endangering the public, no matter the ideology of those who commit such acts.  The violent actions of people calling themselves antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.

“In California, as across all of our great nation, we have deep reverence for the Constitutional right to peaceful dissent and free speech.  Non-violence is fundamental to that right.  Let us use this sad event to reaffirm that we must never fight hate with hate, and to remember the values of peace, openness and justice that represent the best of America.”

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America’s Post-Charlottesville Nervous Breakdown Was Deliberately Induced

People’s Organization For Progress

Americans are being emotionally manipulated to take up cause with those whose ultimate purpose is the repeal of the First Amendment and erasure of national memory.

Wars are won or lost based mostly on perceptions of events, not on what actually happens. This is true for any given battlefield, whether it’s the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam or the ideological battlefield over the future of the First Amendment as played out in Charlottesville in 2017. The reality of what takes place in the public arena is always secondary to any projected illusion.

So let’s never forget this: Whoever has the power to dictate public perceptions of reality is in a position to dictate public opinion and behavior. Abusing language and images to stir up emotions is an ancient trick of power-mongers. And once journalism turns into unchecked propaganda, we become trapped in its dangerous illusions.

Only the teensiest fraction of Americans have any real interest in violent extremism, whether it be the violence represented by the specter of the Klu Klux Klan or the violence promoted by groups like Antifa who pretend they are fighting for social justice. But the media is promoting imagery of the former as a foil for the latter

 

http://thefederalist.com/2017/08/25/americas-post-charlottesville-nervous-breakdown-deliberately-induced/

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Court Order Curtails Residents 1st Amendment Free Speech Rights in New Jersey

freedom of speech 1st amendment

Pj Blogger at Constitution Hall at the 1st Amendment

Court: Residents Can’t Mention “Islam” or “Muslim” At Public Hearing on Mosque Construction; Thomas More Law Center Files Federal Lawsuit

August 24, 2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog and the Thomas More Law Center

Bernards Township NJ,  In a settlement agreement, which reads more like an instrument of surrender, Bernards Township (“Township”), New Jersey officials agreed that, in addition to a $3.5 million payment to Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (“ISBR”), residents and citizens of the Township are prohibited from commenting on “Islam” or “Muslims.” at the upcoming public hearing to approve the settlement.  Astonishingly, a federal judge approved the prohibition as a fully enforceable Order of the Court.

As a result of this suppression of speech, the Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, yesterday, filed a lawsuit in the New Jersey Federal District Court on behalf of Christopher and Loretta Quick. The lawsuit was filed by TMLC affiliated New Jersey attorney, Michael Hrycak. Mr. Hrycak was assisted by TMLC staff attorney, Tyler Brooks. The TMLC is representing the Quicks without charge.

TMLC’s lawsuit alleges that Bernards Township’s settlement agreement constitutes a prior restraint on speech based on content, as well as, a violation of the Establishment Clause because it prefers Islam over other religions.  The lawsuit asks the court to: declare that the settlement agreement is unconstitutional; and to enter a preliminary and permanent injunction against its enforcement.

Read TMLC’s entire Federal Complaint here.

The Quicks reside within 200 feet of the proposed mosque construction in a zoned residential area.  Yet, the settlement agreement prohibits them from describing the many unique features of Islamic worship which will impact design of the building, traffic density, water and sewage, traffic control problems, road construction, and parking arrangements. According to the settlement agreement, ISBR is permitted to make statements concerning Christians and Jews and their places of worship, but in contrast, the Agreement prohibits commentary relating to Islam or Muslims. In fact, ISBR has previously discussed the Christian and Jewish religions and their places of worship.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commented: “As we have previously documented, ISBR has taken the extraordinary step of concealing significant links on their website to a radical group named by the federal government as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in America history, the Islamic Society of North America (“ISNA”).  ISNA is claimed by the Muslim Brotherhood as one of “our organizations.” According to internal documents seized by the FBI, the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy is to engage in a “grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within . . .”

Thompson continued, “While claiming that the Township had a religious animus against Muslims, ISBR hid from the public view its animus toward Christians and Jews, by not only hiding anti-Christian and anti-Semitic verses published on its website, but also hiding its significant ties to ISNA. Instead of standing up to defend its citizens against ISBR’s hate-filled anti-Semitic and anti-Christian bias, the Township colluded with ISBR’s “Civilization Jihad” by capitulating to payment of millions of dollars to ISBR, allowing the construction of the new mosque and Islamic center in violation of zoning codes, and now even suppressing speech concerning Islam or Muslims at a public meeting.”

In March 2016, ISBR filed a lawsuit in the New Jersey Federal District Court alleging that Bernards Township had discriminated against the Islamic Society when it declined to approve the construction of a large mosque on a lot that was far too small to handle the contemplated structure.  And in November 2016, the United States represented by the U. S. Justice Department filed a second lawsuit against the Township on similar grounds. The settlement agreement covers both lawsuits.

Read the entire Settlement Agreement and Court Order here.

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life.  It supports a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America.  The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities.  It does not charge for its services.  The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization.  You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.

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Ridgewood Public Schools does not tolerate any acts of hate or negative speech in our buildings or on our property.

RHS_Sign_theridgewoodblog

Dear Parent or Guardian,

The recent events in Charlottesville have compelled me to write to you this afternoon. The horrific and
vile images on our screens emphasized the unfortunate and misguided behavior of real people with real
hate in their hearts towards others who look or believe differently from themselves.

Having watched those expressions of hatred and violence with horror and disbelief, I want to stress to
you and reassure you that the Ridgewood Public Schools does not tolerate any acts of hate or negative
speech in our buildings or on our property. Our district is a community of people from many different
backgrounds, nationalities, beliefs and protected classes, and we insist that our students and staff
practice tolerance and respect at all times through clearly articulated goals for respectful and inclusive
behavior. We also go one step further, by finding ways to highlight and celebrate both differences and
similarities.

As we ready for the opening of school and a peaceful and welcoming start to a new year, I encourage
you to talk about the school environment in your discussions with your family about the recent events in
Charlottesville. Please know that we are here to assist you and feel free to reach out to your child’s
principal, or to me, at any time.

Enjoy the rest of your summer.
Sincerely yours,
Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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Judge Removes Order Blocking Newspaper From Reporting on Boy

home alone

A New Jersey judge has overturned an order preventing a newspaper from reporting on a child services complaint involving a kindergartener who brought drugs to school twice.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A judge has overturned an order preventing a newspaper from reporting on a child services complaint involving a kindergarten student who brought drugs to school twice.

Judge Lawrence De Bello ruled Monday that he found no evidence to support the state’s argument that a reporter for the Trentonian newspaper illegally obtained the complaint from the boy’s mother.

Government lawyers sought the injunction against the newspaper, saying child welfare complaints must be kept confidential under state law. The state had alleged that Trentonian reporter Isaac Avilucea stole the complaint from the mother, but he said she knew he was reporting on the story and gave it to him. She had met with him at his office earlier in the day.

The newspaper and open-government advocates argued that the previous order was a clear violation of the First Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the government cannot prevent the press from publishing information except in extreme circumstances involving a clear and present danger.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-jersey/articles/2017-03-30/judge-removes-order-blocking-newspaper-from-reporting

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Amazon Argues Alexa Speech Protected By First Amendment In Murder Trial Fight

Amazon’s Echo device

Thomas Fox-Brewster ,

FORBES STAFF

Amazon is sticking to its guns in the fight to protect customer data. The tech titan has filed a motion to quash the search warrant for recordings from an Amazon Echo in the trial of James Andrew Bates, accused of murdering friend Victor Collins in Bentonville, Arkansas in November 2015. And it’s arguing as part of that motion that the responses of Alexa, the voice of the artificially intelligent speaker, has First Amendment rights.

The case first came to light in December, when it emerged Amazon was contesting a warrant to provide audio from the Echo device covering a 48-hour period from November 21 through 22 2015, alongside subscriber and account information. Amazon handed over the subscriber information and purchase history, but in its 90-page argument against the warrant, filed late last week and published in full below, Amazon said recorded audio should have First Amendment protections and so it wanted the warrant thrown out.

Not only does Amazon believe Echo users’ voice commands are protected as free speech, but also the Alexa Voice Service response. Amazon argued that requests and responses to Alexa contained details that would reveal much about the user and their interests, and so deserved protection from government. Furthermore, as Alexa responses reflect in some way both the user’s and Amazon’s speech, she’s also protected, the lawyers said.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2017/02/23/amazon-echo-alexa-murder-trial-first-amendment-rights/#79fd18735d81

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No, Not Everyone Is Entitled to Their Opinion

dueling-swords

Daniel Lattier | January 13, 2017

It’s commonly believed today that “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.”

What nonsense.

Where does this “entitlement” regarding opinions come from? Who has bestowed it?

The statement is a decidedly modern one. No person until very recently in history would have dreamed of saying something so silly. It’s usually attributed to the American financier Bernard M. Baruch (1870-1965). The full quote reads: “Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.” (I’m really not sure why the former imaginary “right” wouldn’t also entitle one to be wrong in his or her facts.)

http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/no-not-everyone-entitled-their-opinion