Welcome back to Free Speech Friday here on Lawyers & Liquor, where we discuss the concepts, cases, and limitations behind the system of speech in this wonderful country – namely the United States of America – and learn some neat shit about free speech jurisprudence and concepts together. I’m your constitutionally inept attorney host, the Boozy Barrister, here at the behest of the Free Speech Friday sponsor, Quack Quack Honk Designs!
In case you don’t know who that is, Quack Quack Honk Designs is an awesome independent art studio and artist set up in the wilds of Michigan that provides a large number of original works in adorable and neat styles. I have several of their prints decorating my office for when I go home and wash off the blood of my litigation enemies before settling into my den with a nice plate of cookies to and listening to old sing along story tapes, and you can too if you visit their storefront or drop into one of the many upcoming art show appearances to peruse their works! If you do, though, be sure to tell them that a drunken, angry, profane lawyer sent you their way.
In past editions of Free Speech Friday we’ve discussed the founding of the First Amendment and how it seemed to be the clearest thing in the world until, you know, it fucking wasn’t. We’ve also talked about how John Adams and his administration went out of their way to shit all over the constitutional protection to say what you want free from government interference. But today we’re gonna veer away from the historical to talk about something we need to recognize before we go too far down the rabbithole of what you can say without getting smacked upside your loose-lipped head by the giant dick of justice. That’s right, today we’re going to talk about situations where the right to speak freely is sharply curtailed, not by a desire to silence the speaker but because of the malicious and detrimental effect some types of speech can have on the subjects – especially when the speech is enough to set someone’s pants on fire. Today, we’re going to delve into the defamatory world of slander and libel. But first, a disclaimer.
Continue reading “Quack Quack Honk Presents Free Speech Friday: Defamation and Paul the Pud Pulling Youtuber”
Welcome to the second in an installment series here on Lawyers & Liquor where I, the bloviating blowhard that is the Boozy Barrister, become your cut rate Ms. Frizzle as we go on a magical journey of learning together about the First Amendment and, more specifically, the freedom of speech that it guarantees. This month we have a new sponsor hanging around here, the lovable and talented Quack Quack Honk Designs! A lovely artist from the cold regions of the world…like…those places north of Ohio, QQH is a wonderful artist who appears at art fairs all over the place selling their work, and right now if you jump into the fray at their website you can even use them to design your holiday cards! HOP TO IT, because Art is a form of speech, and my speech says you should buy shit from them!
As I told you last time, myself and Constitutional Law had a love/hate relationship in law school, in no small part because it was a two hour class very fucking early in the morning and I wasn’t ready for any of that deep thought at that point. As a result, while I certainly understand and know con law, I never really got into the in-depth study of it. There’s just not a lot of call for constitutional arguments in the course of keeping a person’s home or defending a DUI, and to the extent there are you pick up that part of it on basic principles and practice, not by the in-depth study of the issuance of letters of marque and shit like that.
Now, as I may have said in the past, the principles of the freedom of speech were basically considered so non-controversial that, in debating the meaning of them, Congress essentially went “that’s really verbose for something we all know what it means, so we’re just gonna pare that shit right there down a bit.” Fuck, as I pointed out last time there was pretty much no discussion about this shit on the floor of the Congress at all at the time it was passed other than someone taking out the red marker and pulling the old Hemingway “say more with less” approach to cutting out what they determined were superfluous words. However, as we now know, the founding fuckers were being a little optimistic in their estimation of mankind’s intelligence in taking this tack, as what happened thereafter was a hodgepodge of judicial determinations as to what the limits and benefits of free speech actually were under the Bill of Rights, leading to the modern interpretation of the short amendment (shorter, in fact, than this post to this point) and its guarantee of basic liberty for the people that live under its rule. And, with the Bill of Rights ratified in 1791, it wasn’t even a full decade before the first major challenge to free speech came to national prominence.
You know, because President John Adams really fucking hated criticism. Enough that he made it a jailable offense.
Continue reading “Quack Quack Honk Designs Presents Free Speech Friday: John Adams Hated Bad Press.”