Wyoming Liberty Group

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Teton County Must Respect Free Speech

Free political speech is a fundamental individual liberty and American constitutional right. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court said in Eu v. San Francisco County Democratic Cent. Committee, “The First Amendment has its fullest and must urgent application to speech uttered during a campaign for political office.” In other words, the constitution’s free speech guarantee exists in order to protect the individual right to speak out about candidates who are actively running for political office. No other type of speech is more important to maintaining a government that is beholden to the people. Political signs in residential areas are an essential tool of political communication. The U.S. Supreme Court also said that there is no practical substitute or alternative to political yard or window signs.

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Boyd Wiggam and Doug Randall discuss political leaflets and yard signs

Boyd Wiggam and Doug Randall discussed placing leaflets on car windows, political yard signs and constitutional free speech protection on KGAB. Cheyenne, like many governments, has a history of trying regulation speech. Boyd Wiggam and Doug Randall the recent history of censorship in Cheyenne, the recent discussion about the right of individuals to put flyers or leaflets on car windows, and ongoing complaints about unpopular political yard signs.

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The First Amendment protects the flyers on your windshield too

Boyd Wiggam and Glenn Woods discuss free speech protection for flyers that some people and business sometimes place under automobile windshield wipers and a recent attempt by one Cheyenne City Councilman to prohibit placing flyers (a.k.a. Handbills) on automobiles.

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Handbills Are Free Speech Too

Courts repeatedly strike down City Ordinances that violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. This is true even when cities try to justify censorship as a way to improve aesthetics, or fight litter. Even in Wyoming cities are willing to trample on free speech rights. As recently as 2013, the City of Cheyenne had to pay litigation costs in its futile attempt to censor political speech by its ham-fisted regulation of yard signs. The City of Laramie quickly repealed its own political yard sign regulations shortly thereafter.

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The Environment for Free Speech

Free speech is under attack from three main sources around the world.

  • Government repression has increased. After the Soviet Union fell, Russia enjoyed a free-for-all. Alas, today Mr. Putin has tightened the muzzle again.
  • A number of non-state actors are at that game. Journalists in Mexico who investigate corruption may end up dead. Jihadists shoot French cartoonists.
  • Finally, there are people who think they have a right to not be offended, and who expect to use the state – or the university administration – to enforce that right.

Another government attack on free speech is from a coalition of environmental alarmists and law enforcement. It may be more pernicious than the first three because of its subtlety.

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The Curious Complications of Caucuses

More discontent emerges out of Wyoming’s Democratic Party caucuses, where Hillary Clinton obtained most of the state delegates even after losing the popular vote to Bernie Sanders. This newest wave of anger and confusion over caucuses and primaries is part of a national trend.

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Count to Five for Political Privacy

More fretting has begun about just what Merrick Garland would mean for the United States if confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. But in focusing too strongly on one unlikely nominee, Garland, we may forget what a new Justice may mean for political free speech and association.

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