A First Amendment Threat Related To The Juan Williams Firing
[Mike] Huckabee [. . .] call[ed] on Congress to pull funding from NPR. “NPR has discredited itself as a forum for free speech and a protection of the First Amendment rights of all and has solidified itself as the purveyor of politically correct pabulum and protector of views that lean left,” Huckabee said. “It is time for the taxpayers to start making cuts to federal spending, and I encourage the new Congress to start with NPR,” he added.
Cutting government funding because of a decision by NPR on what speech to air would amount to government interference with free speech and would likely violate the First Amendment:
Clearly established law prohibits the government from conditioning the revocation of benefits on a basis that infringes constitutionally protected interests, see Perry v. Sindermann, 408 U.S. 593, 597, 92 S.Ct. 2694, 33 L.Ed.2d 570 (1972), and from terminating an independent contractor [. . .] in retaliation for exercising its First Amendment rights, see Board of County Comm'rs v. Umbehr, 518 U.S. 668, 685, 116 S.Ct. 2342, 135 L.Ed.2d 843 (1996) Indeed, in the words of the Supreme Court in Anderson, 483 U.S. at 640, 107 S.Ct. 3034, "the very action in question has previously been held unlawful." See, e.g., North Mississippi Communications, Inc. v. Jones, 792 F.2d 1330, 1337 (5th Cir.1986)(government's withdrawal of advertisements from newspaper in retaliation for critical editorials and news violates the First Amendment); Frissell v. Rizzo, 597 F.2d 840, 845 (3d Cir.1979) (dicta); see also Umbehr, 518 U.S. at 673, 116 S.Ct. 2342 (citing North Mississippi Communications, Inc. with approval).
Huckabee proposes the cutting of government funding to NPR because of its speech decisions regarding Juan Williams. This would be a patent violation of the First Amendment.
Speaking for me only
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