CalCoastNews Contributor

Peter Scheer

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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Wanted: Justice Department memo analyzing strikes against suspected terrorists

In the world of secret information about powerful people, there are two sets of documents in especially high demand right now. First are Mitt Romney’s undisclosed tax returns. You already know about those. The other is a classified legal memorandum, prepared by the Justice Department, analyzing the government’s legal authority to conduct targeted killings of […]... (Continue Reading)

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Conservatives’ faith in local government is misplaced

OPINION By PETER SCHEER The closer government is to the people, the more government is controlled by special interests. In America today, conservatism’s one clear fault line, cutting across cultural and socioeconomic schisms, aligns conservatives based on their views about the relationship between government and its citizens. On one side are born-again libertarians, like supporters […]... (Continue Reading)

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Defense of free speech includes defense of seriously unsavory characters

OPINION By PETER SCHEER Why is it that the First Amendment Coalition, like other organizations that defend freedom of speech, is so often aligned in support of seriously unsavory characters? Just last week FAC filed an amicus brief in the US Supreme Court in support of a local politician and serial liar (no redundancy intended) […]... (Continue Reading)

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Brown caves to police, vetoes bill to restrict searches of cellphones

OPINION By PETER SCHEER Jerry Brown, as you may have heard, has vetoed SB 914, a bill sponsored by the First Amendment Coalition that would have required police to get a warrant before searching through cellphones or other digital devices of people they arrest. You may have been among the several hundred  folks who added […]... (Continue Reading)

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Urging Gov. Brown to sign SB 914

OPINION By PETER SCHEER Sitting on Governor Brown’s desk right now is SB 914, a First Amendment Coalition-sponsored bill that would restrict warrantless police searches of citizens’ cellphones. I am writing to ask you to join us in urging the Governor to sign this important safeguard of personal privacy and free speech rights. You can […]... (Continue Reading)

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U.S. media shouldn’t rush to hang Murdoch’s News Corp for the sins of its London tabloids

OPINION By PETER SCHEER The economic forces that pummeled every American newspaper from the New York Times to the San Francisco Chronicle have barely disturbed Rupert Murdoch’s media properties. The Wall Street Journal, for one, has not only weathered the storm that decimated competitors’ newsrooms, but it has added editorial staff, news features and online […]... (Continue Reading)

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The U.S. is alone among western democracies in protecting “hate speech.” Chalk it up to a healthy fear of government censorship.

OPINION By PETER SCHEER – An inebriated John Galliano, sitting in a Paris bar, unleashes an anti-semitic rant (“I love Hitler”) that is captured on a cellphone camera and posted on the internet. Within days the Dior designer is not only fired from his job, but is given a trial date to face criminal charges […]... (Continue Reading)

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Unplug Wikileaks? Enact a federal Shield Law instead

OPINION BY PETER SCHEER — The Obama administration has made no secret of its desire to unplug Wikileaks, the whistleblower website infamous for data dumps of classified records. Of the few options available to the government, the best is one that probably hasn’t been considered in this context: enacting a federal Shield Law. How would […]... (Continue Reading)

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Does Wikileaks deserve Dan Ellsberg’s approval? The good Wikileaks, yes; the bad Wikileaks, no

OPINION BY PETER SCHEER—Although the anti-war movement of the 1960s has few heroes still standing,  Daniel Ellsberg, the former defense analyst who leaked a secret history of the Vietnam War that became known as the Pentagon Papers, is surely one. As such, Ellsberg’s full-throated support for  Wikileaks, delivered as it dumped on the internet nearly […]... (Continue Reading)

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If hard-won court victory against Prop 8 is tossed out because of “standing” defect, you can thank Jerry Brown

OPINION BY PETER SCHEER — If I were Ted Olson, the former US solicitor general who is leading the legal battle against Prop 8, I would be unhappy with Jerry Brown right now. Olson’s hard-won victory before federal district court judge Vaughn Walker was meant to be the first stage of a legal strategy culminating […]... (Continue Reading)