The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, January 30, 2004
 

Why isn't the Civil Rights Division defending the First Amendment?


I'm having a quick skim over at Erin O'Connor's fine, though depressing, blog, and at the top find three pieces in a row (starting here) on the abortive attempt to remove the (a?) speech code at Emory University.

And the thought springs to mind: why isn't the DOJ all over this? Isn't there are Civil Rights Division or something?

I mosey over, and find the various sections of the CRD listed. Nothing remotely First Amendment oriented. The overview page says
The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice was established in 1957. The Division is the program institution within the federal government responsible for enforcing federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, handicap, religion, and national origin.

Except it also deals with
the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act
which doesn't sound to me germane to the categories specified.

And also the
...Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980, which authorizes the Attorney General to seek relief for persons confined in public institutions where conditions exist that deprive residents of their constitutional rights

So clearly it can seek to enforce constitutional, as well as statutory, rights.

Since Good Ol' George is spending cash like it's going out of fashion, why not make a start by putting the Feds onto ripping out these blatantly unconstitutional speech codes in public colleges? Then perhaps folks will get the idea that pols are not only interested in the First Amendment to cripple campaign funding laws.


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