Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Yet another explanation of how free speech is actually supposed to operate

Ann Coulter decimates the "free speech" defense bandied about by Ward Churchill's myriad supporters:

Ironically, it is precisely because Churchill is paid by the taxpayers that 'free speech' is implicated at all. The Constitution has nothing to say about the private sector firing employees for their speech. That's why you don't see Bill Maher on ABC anymore. Other well-known people who have been punished by their employers for their 'free speech' include Al Campanis, Jimmy Breslin, Rush Limbaugh, Jimmy the Greek and Andy Rooney. In fact, the Constitution says nothing about state governments firing employees for their speech: The First Amendment clearly says, 'Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech.' Firing Ward Churchill is a pseudo-problem caused by modern constitutional law, which willy-nilly applies the Bill of Rights to the states -- including the one amendment that clearly refers only to 'Congress.' (Liberals love to go around blustering ''no law' means 'no law'!' But apparently 'Congress' doesn't mean 'Congress.') Even accepting the modern notion that the First Amendment applies to state governments, the Supreme Court has distinguished between the government as sovereign and the government as employer. The government is extremely limited in its ability to regulate the speech of private citizens, but not so limited in regulating the speech of its own employees. So the First Amendment and 'free speech' are really red herrings when it comes to whether Ward Churchill can be fired. Even state universities will not run afoul of the Constitution for firing a professor who is incapable of doing his job because he is a lunatic, an incompetent or an idiot -- and those determinations would obviously turn on the professor's 'speech.'
There's more, which, given that it comes from Coulter's pen (or, should I say, keyboard), is definitely worth reading.