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-Freedom Line Archive

Conservative news archive, in a conservative platform providing provocative ideas and news, which continues to shape this country's direction for the future.









In Our Opinion

Let the Sunshine In On Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

In a setback to efforts by physicians at self-help medical malpractice tort reform, a new national database set to track litigious patients, attorneys and expert witnesses was pulled from the Internet last week. After opening in November under the direction of a Texas physician, the site’s slogan read, "they can sue, but they can’t hide." For a nominal monthly fee, physicians were encouraged to query the database of public records of litigation in order to "assess the risk of offering [their] services to clients or potential clients." In a nutshell, a physician could learn the litigation proclivities of potential patients before, rather than after, rendering services...[more]

The Food Police: Coming Soon to a Texas School Lunchroom Near You

The Lone Star State may soon find its school lunch lines getting a lot lonelier. That’s because the food police will be coming to a local school cafeteria near you if Texans do not take a stand against the nutrition guidelines recently announced by the Texas Department of Agriculture. This summer, on August 1, 2004, when Texas families are still focused on fun and sun, the revised Texas Public School Nutrition Policy will take effect, significantly restricting the foods available on school grounds and in the cafeterias...[more]

Democrat Memogate: Kennedy Stonewalling

On March 19, Charles Hurt of The Washington Times produced one of those enterprising news stories that restore credit to an increasingly lazy profession. Hurt asked a group of prominent law professors about the now-notorious staff memo written to Senator Ted Kennedy. That would be the memo recommending that Senator Kennedy fulfill a request from Elaine Jones of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to stall the confirmation of judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit until after the University of Michigan affirmative action case was decided by that court...[more]

Starting the Climb Back up the Slippery Slope

It seems so obvious: "Congress shall make no law … abridging freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people to peacefully assemble…" According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, "abridge" means "to reduce in scope: diminish." It’s difficult to understand how the authors of the First Amendment could have been more plain...[more]

Musings on Martha

Despite 24/7 prattling, this is a very simple story, folks. In the course of an insider trading investigation, the SEC and FBI questioned Martha Stewart and Peter Bacanovic, her stock broker, over Stewart’s glaringly well-timed sale of Imclone stock. Stewart and Bacanovic conspired to lie to government investigators. Stewart lied to the investigators. Bacanovic lied to the investigators. Lying to government investigators is a free-standing felony, regardless of the presence or absence of any other criminal activity, period...[more]

Center Backs ‘First Amendment Restoration Act’ Urges Congress to Strike Limits on Free Speech

The Center for Individual Freedom today announced its support for H.R.3801, the First Amendment Restoration Act of 2004. The bill, introduced by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), would repeal provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) which silence interest groups in the days leading up to elections...[more]

The Slippery Slope Down Janet’s Breast

Sunday night’s nearly live telecast of the 76th Annual Academy Awards confirmed that the real casualty of Janet Jackson’s revealing Super Bowl performance wasn’t Justin Timberlake and his wholesome boy band image, network television and its charge to serve the public interest, or even some standard of public decency and its protection of civil society. No, the victim claimed by the split-second female half-flash seen around the world was the First Amendment itself...[more]

Center Supports Minnesota Social Studies Standards
Understanding of basic civics is essential for maintaining liberty

The Center for Individual Freedom today urged Minnesota state legislators to adopt the proposed social studies standards now pending before the House Education Policy Committee. "A meaningful knowledge of American government and the Constitution are essential if citizens are going to be truly free," said Marshall Manson, the Center’s Vice President of Public Affairs...[more]

Center Urges Senate to Pass "Invest in America Act"

The Center for Individual Freedom today urged Senators to support the Invest in America Act, which is now contained in the JOBS Act (S.1637), sponsored by Senator Charles Grassley. "This legislation would generate billions of dollars of investment for research and development, new equipment, and new jobs here in the United States," said Marshall Manson, the Center’s Vice President of Public Affairs...[more]

Protect Freedom: Control Spending

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson described the fundamental truth of politics: namely that all individuals are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Unfortunately, we often forget the significance of these words in the context of our representative democracy. Jefferson’s famous sentence is a reminder that all power in a democratic government is vested first with the people...[more]

Burning Issue Getting Hotter

As temperatures rise in the Sunshine State, so too does the heat on the lawyers who seized Rush Limbaugh’s medical records last year as part of their criminal investigation into alleged "doctor shopping," that is whether Mr. Limbaugh illegally obtained prescriptions for pain medication from several doctors...[more]

Appoint Them All, Mr. President

For three years, the President of the United States did the right thing with regard to judicial appointments. He looked at judicial vacancies throughout the federal courts, at both district and appellate levels. He found people of impressive credentials he believed would interpret the laws of the land, not make new law, and not act as entrepreneurs of radical views. He nominated them, according to constitutional procedure...[more]

D.C. Shouldn’t Attack Neighbors’ Liberty With Commuter Tax

Americans take taxation seriously. From the earliest days of our constitutional government, our leaders understood that taxes were an attack on freedom and liberty. In 1819, Chief Justice John Marshall famously declared that the "power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy." Until the 17th Amendment was approved in 1913, the federal government was barred from levying an income tax, and questions about tax policy continue to dominate the public debate...[more]

Democrat Memogate: The Beginning of Political Scandal

As political scandals go, the case of the U.S. Senate Democrat memos is difficult to assess thoroughly, for the moment. The evidence is currently under lock and key by the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms. That evidence consists of some three to four thousand memos from or to Democrat members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, believed to detail collusion between Democrats and leftist groups to block confirmation of many of President Bush’s judicial nominees...[more]

Sunshine, Ballots and Lawyers

Florida again may be the state to watch in the upcoming 2004 elections, although perhaps not for the same reasons as it was back in November of 2000. Assuming all goes right with Florida’s new voting systems, there should be fewer hanging chads and butterfly ballots. But even so, voters nationwide should still turn their eyes south to watch the Sunshine State as it takes the electoral lead on legal reform...[more]

Glass Houses and Thrown Stones

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. In this case, it is the political hatchet that the Sierra Club is trying to throw at Associate Supreme Court Justice Scalia, announcing last week that it was considering formally asking the Justice to recuse himself from the pending Cheney energy task force case, claiming that his personal relationship with Vice President Cheney will unfairly influence his decision in the pending case...[more]

CFIF Names Marshall Manson Vice President of Public Affairs

The Center for Individual Freedom today is pleased to announce the hiring of Marshall Manson as Vice President of Public Affairs. Manson’s responsibilities will include the strategic planning and execution of advocacy campaigns focused on state and federal legislation in keeping with the Center’s mission — to protect individual freedom and individual rights in the legal, legislative and educational arenas...[more]

Center Calls for Justice Department Investigation

The Center for Individual Freedom joined over two dozen organizations this week in asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee or their staffs exchanged efforts to obstruct the confirmation of President Bush’s judicial nominees for campaign contributions and support...[more]

The Borrow and Spend Party

President George W. Bush unveiled his $2.4 trillion dollar budget for the 2005 fiscal year on Tuesday with few surprises. It accounts for sizeable increases in defense and homeland security spending, makes the tax cuts passed during his Administration permanent, and suggests more tax cuts in the future, not to mention holding the growth of other federal discretionary spending (outside of Medicare and Social Security) to one-half of one percent. But what this budget and, for that matter, President Bush’s previous three budgets do not squarely address is the bottom line for the federal government — because it remains boldly printed in red ink...[more]

The Revolving Door Between Politics and Punditry

Joe Trippi, Presidential hopeful Howard Dean’s only just now former campaign manager, has joined the ranks of politicians and political professionals finding the fast track on the road from political advisor to media commentator. This week, MSNBC engaged Trippi as an election analyst along with the group of pundits moderated by MSNBC’s "Hardball" Host Chris Matthews. His new career started just a week after quitting Dean’s campaign amid talk that he would not play second fiddle to the new campaign chief, Roy Neel, a former aide to Al Gore...[more]

Privacy Taken to the Nth Degree

Privacy is a dominant theme in United States public policy. Yet, although privacy is important, it is not everything. As the lessons of the 9-11 have taught us, we cannot simply put our collective heads in the sand and be "either for or against" privacy, no matter what the circumstances. Seeking to protect privacy is both commendable and necessary, but we cannot do it blindly and without cost...[more]

Drugged Into the Fray

Last week, the Center for Individual Freedom published "Putting the Bottom Line Above the Law," which pointed out that recent state and local plans to re-import prescription drugs from Canada are not only bad policy but also blatantly violate federal law. For this latter reason, the article noted that the "fundamental problem" with a Governor or Mayor, "or anyone else, blindly re-importing drugs from abroad is that neither he nor any other elected official is above the law." In other words, state and local elected officials "shouldn’t be leading the charge to break the law; they should be doing everything in their power to uphold it," the article concluded...[more]

The Self-Destruction of General Clark

In the time between the New Hampshire Democrat Primary and the rest of our lives, the presidential campaign of retired General Wesley Clark should become nothing more than a bizarre footnote to history. That does not mean that Clark will fade away, because the grace to do so is nowhere evident in his personality...[more]

Rose Can’t Hustle History

Pete Rose’s on-field legacy will be forever superceded by his callous disregard for the game he played, managed and claims to love so much. He broke baseball’s cardinal rule, which states, "Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible." (Major League Rule 21)...[more]

Black and White in the ‘Gray Lady’

It goes without saying that the mantra of The New York Times Editorial Pages is "All the Leftist Propaganda That’s Fit to Print." But sometimes the newspaper’s transparent knee-jerk liberalism shocks even us. Take, for example, the Gray Lady’s political hypocrisy when it comes to appointment of federal judges...[more]

True Justice, Like Beauty, Is In the Eye of the Beholder

For the second time this term, Justice Antonin Scalia has found himself in hot water with the "Justice Police" for his espoused personal beliefs and personal relationships.

The first attack came after Justice Scalia reportedly told a Religious Freedom Day crowd last January that any changes to the Pledge of Allegiance should be done "democratically," through the legislatures, not the courts, and that removing references to God from public forums would be "contrary to our whole tradition."...[more]

Unhinged Reality

In a column last week, David Brooks asked, "Do you ever get the sense the whole world is becoming unhinged from reality?"Well, hmm, yes, if "ever" corresponds to about 33 times even on relatively tranquil days. That includes, but is hardly limited to, finding the always sane, exceptionally linear and nicely wordsmithed columns of Mr. Brooks on the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times, which, if not yet fair and balanced, are at least slouching toward estimable conservative representation...[more]

Putting the Bottom Line Above the Law

Perhaps some elected officials need a refresher course in the fundamentals of American government and the rule of law. After all, ours "is a government of laws and not men" and "no man is above the law." Yet lately, when the bottom lines of the states and municipalities have looked grim (due in large part, we might note, to excessive spending), our local representatives all too quickly and casually ignore what the U.S. Constitution calls "the supreme Law of the Land" — namely, "the Laws of the United States" — all in order to save a few lousy nickels, maybe more, maybe less...[more]

Center Urges Florida School District to Maintain Eighth Grade Civics Requirement

The Escambia County School District is currently considering eliminating a year-long 8th grade civics course by combining civics with an existing course in American history. In a letter reproduced here, the Center informs public school officials about the necessities of maintaining rigorous and thoughtful curricula that include coursework on both civics and American history and government...[more]

Blind Justice?

Forget the fight to allow cameras in federal courtrooms. In this post-9/11 world, the battle for open judicial proceedings is being fought over whether the public is allowed to know certain cases exist at all. Case in point: a petition currently pending at the U.S. Supreme Court known to the public only as M.K.B. v. Warden, No. 03-6747. The petitioner is known by his initials alone, and the High Court’s docket reflects neither what court decided the case below nor when that decision was issued – two facts that routinely appear on the docketing statement of every case brought before the nine Justices...[more]

Why Should We Rush To Rush’s Defense?

Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh is guilty of many things, not the least of which is being an influential political conservative. Mr. Limbaugh disclosed this fall that he was addicted to prescription drugs for the treatment of excruciating back pain, then voluntarily entered and completed a comprehensive drug treatment program. Now, he is under investigation by the Florida State Attorney’s Office for violation of an obscure state law prohibiting doctor shopping. How obscure? The Palm Beach Post revealed this week that there has been only "one case in the past five years in which Palm Beach County prosecutors charged a defendant with illegally acquiring overlapping prescriptions."...[more]

Is Truth in the Eye of the Beholder?:

Does the First Amendment Protect Fact-Based Speech that Could Be "Misleading"?

From fast food to sneakers, more and more frequently manufacturers, retailers and their advertisers are facing lawsuits brought by consumers who allege injury after buying, consuming or using well-marketed products. But while false advertising has always been fair game in the world of torts, many plaintiffs today do not claim they were duped by untrue statements. Instead, the latest trend in consumer protection is liability based on "misleading" speech, even when the sales pitch may be fact-based and literally true. The Federalist Society’s Law and Advertising Subcommittee, which is chaired by Center for Individual Freedom Assistant General Counsel Reid Alan Cox, is hosting a panel discussion on these important issues on January 15, 2004, from 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. To attend the panel discussion, RSVP to the Federalist Society by phone at 202.822.8138, or register online by visiting here.

Guest Commentary

We Didn't Mean Our Pockets...

By Erin Murphy: Former Rep. Bill Janklow (R-SD) , who is currently serving a 100-day jail sentence for second-degree manslaughter and reckless driving after he collided with and killed a motorcyclist in August, now faces a civil wrongful death suit that could well result in a sizable verdict. But because he was driving home from a speech to Korean War veterans at the time of the accident, the Justice Department concluded that Janklow's actions were "official business" within the scope of his duties as an elected official. Thus, under the Federal Tort Claims Act, Janklow's employer — the federal government — must pay any verdict, meaning that taxpayers will ultimately foot the bill...[more]

The Presumption of Sexual Guilt

By Erin Murphy: The criminal justice system rarely faces closer scrutiny than when a professional athlete is on trial, which the sexual assault charges against Kobe Bryant have demonstrated once again in bringing the question over the constitutionality of rape shield laws into the national spotlight...[more]

Center's General Counsel Recognized for Efforts in Pledge of Allegiance Case

The Center for Individual Freedom's General Counsel Renee Giachino was spotlighted this week in a feature story praising her and the Center's efforts to reverse the unprecedented decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that held the national Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional. The Center filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, which is set to hear oral arguments in the case on March 24, 2004.

To read the feature story, click here.

America and Obesity: An Epidemic Obsession

By Erin Murphy: The documentary has served as an instrument for filmmakers to delve into some of history’s most salient issues and occurrences – the American Civil War, Nazi Germany, the Arab-Israeli conflict. After recent screenings at the Sundance Film Festival of "Super Size Me: A Film of Epidemic Proportions," America can proudly add to that list its most recent cause celebre: eating too much fast food...[more]

Is a Little Intellectual Diversity Too Much to Ask?

By Erin Murphy: A life-size photography exhibit put on display this week depicts a George W. Bush look-alike in a drunken stupor fondling a woman’s breasts. The artist described it as symbolizing the President’s "imperial infidelity," for whatever that’s worth. As fascinating as it is that this is someone’s version of art, even more puzzling is who would display such an exhibit. Of course, once The New York Times and The New Yorker had the good sense to refuse, the artist had only one place left to turn: academia. Sure enough, the exhibit found a home on the walls of Lehigh University’s political science department, with the approval of administration and faculty alike...[more]

Blame it on the Bars

By Erin Murphy: Nothing gets the plaintiffs’ bar going like alleged "evil empires" with deep pockets — big tobacco, gun manufacturers and profitable corporations are always at the top of the list. Not to be discounted is the alcohol industry, which has been battling dram shop liability claims for decades. Under dram shop liability laws, a party injured by an intoxicated person can sue establishments contributing to that person’s intoxication...[more]

Just the Facts, Please: Judges Must Exercise Caution When Relying on Surveys and Polls

By Erin Murphy: Last week’s change-of-venue proceedings in Scott Peterson’s double-murder trial beg the question. Who is less concerned with legitimate evidence: the college students who falsified survey data used to demonstrate juror bias, or the judge who cited a college class’s survey in his ruling?...[more]

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In Our OpinionGuest Commentary

Conservative news archive, in a conservative platform providing provocative ideas and news, which continues to shape this country's direction for the future.