Peter Scheer, Executive Director of the First Amendment Coalition (FAC) , is a lawyer and journalist. The views expressed here are his alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of FAC’s Board of Directors.
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OPINION by PETER SCHEER Freedom of speech is as fragile as it is precious. President-elect Donald Trump likes to talk about a future in which America will be great “again.” Freedom of speech—in particular, the right to criticize government without having to whisper and look over one’s shoulder—is why, frankly, America is great now. Freedom... (Continue Reading)
OPINION by PETER SCHEER Facebook wants you, me and the federal government to believe that the selection and prominence of content on Facebook, particularly in its “trending stories” feature, has nothing to do with human judgment or choice. This has long been Facebook’s public posture, and it was its initial knee-jerk response this week to... (Continue Reading)
OPINION by PETER SCHEER Public employee unions, the most powerful special interest group in California and most other states, came within a heartbeat of losing that power, as a legal challenge by dissident public school teachers came to a close in the U.S. Supreme Court this week. I use the word “heartbeat” somewhat literally, because... (Continue Reading)
BY PETER SCHEER There’s nothing like the massacre of 129 Parisian civilians at the hands of jihadi sociopaths, utterly convinced that their barbarism manifests the will of God, to provide some perspective on the recent whinings of students at a number of America’s most elite colleges and universities. For the past few weeks, students across... (Continue Reading)
OPINION By PETER SCHEER Local officials talk a good game about government transparency and accountability. And while city council members and county supervisors often go through the motions of conducting official business in an open and public way, on the biggest, most costly and consequential issues that come before them—issues that dwarf all others by... (Continue Reading)
OPINION By PETER SCHEER Inglewood CA doesn’t have much to commend it. To the various reasons not to live there–like high crime rates and bankrupt schools—the city government has added this threat: if you criticize the mayor or other officials, the city will hire lawyers to censor you. That is the clear message to be... (Continue Reading)
OPINION By PETER SCHEER The Supreme Court has ducked the legal challenge to Prop 8, thereby avoiding a landmark ruling on one of the central constitutional claims of our time: the right of gays to marry, not just in California but in every state, city and village in the nation. While I take no pleasure... (Continue Reading)
REQUEST from the FIRST AMENDMENT COALITION The California Public Records Act (CPRA) is gravely threatened by stealth amendments revealed for the first time yesterday as part of a “trailer bill” to the new state budget. Instead of the relatively minor cost-saving tweaks proposed earlier by the governor and approved in legislative committees, the actual amending... (Continue Reading)
OPINION By PETER SCHEER Public employee unions face a new, and mortal, threat. It’s not the unfunded liability of union pension plans or municipal governments’ resort to bankruptcy to void union contracts. It’s not state initiatives to restrict collective bargaining rights or other outpourings of voter resentment. No, the new existential threat facing government unions... (Continue Reading)
OPINION By PETER SCHEER Although the stock market yawned at Facebook’s announcement of “Graph Search,” its new search service, with investors wagering it would only hurt smaller, vertical search services like Yelp and Linkedin, the truth is that it is potentially much more significant than that. For the last several years Google’s management has had... (Continue Reading)