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OpenMarket: Law and Constitution

  • Twitter's Ban on Political Ads Has No First Amendment Implications

    October 31, 2019
    Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey announced that the social media platform will ban all political advertising. This comes on the heels of Facebook’s recent announcement that the company won’t fact check political ads on their platform. Whichever tack tech companies take with their privately owned platforms, there are no First Amendment implications. The First Amendment prevents only the government from making laws that abridge freedom of speech.
  • VIDEO: How to Build a Political System to Protect Liberty

    October 25, 2019
    Our friends at Learn Liberty have started releasing new videos again, and we couldn’t be more excited. One of the most recent, “3 Different Ways Constitutionalism Affect Liberty,” stars Prof. Ilya Somin of George Mason University, who gives us an excellent refresher on how the precise structure of a government’s powers has important implications for maintaining a free society.
  • Trump Administration Challenges Constitutionality of California Climate Pacts

    October 25, 2019
    Just when I thought the Trump administration could not get any bolder in challenging California’s self-anointed power to determine national climate policy, the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday filed a constitutional challenge to the state’s greenhouse gas emission trading pacts with the Canadian provinces of Québec and Nova Scotia.
  • Cautiously Optimistic about Facebook's New Approach to Speech

    October 23, 2019
    It seems increasingly the case that there is a lot more to like about what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has to say than not. His recent speech at Georgetown University, outlining the company’s general direction when it comes to content moderation, is no exception.
  • More Shields and Fewer Swords in Realm of Federal Regulation

    October 11, 2019
    Yesterday the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) held a fascinating event on one of their marquee cases, Baldwin v. United States (read more in my post from last month—it’s the second of the four cases discussed). The case involves the Internal Revenue Service issuing a tax filing rule that conflicted both with legislation passed by Congress and with centuries-old common law practice.
  • Costs of Government Steering by Direct Ownership or Control of Resources

    October 3, 2019
    If one thinks government ought to run a sector of the economy (single-payer health care, education, retirement, energy), then almost by definition that individual would not be inclined toward acknowledging regulatory costs of lesser interventions. The benefits will always exceed the costs in that mindset.
  • New Civil Liberties Alliance Fighting for Constitutional Limits on Government Power

    September 26, 2019
    Thanks to the New Civil Liberties Alliance for hosting a great event this week, during which their staff attorneys recounted the status of some of the biggest cases in which they’re currently involved. By a happy coincidence, the legal advocacy group is also celebrating its second birthday this month. See the summaries and links below for information on four important and timely cases that could re-draw the boundaries of federal authority in the United States.
  • Where Facebook Interim Report on Bias Falls Short

    August 20, 2019
    Today former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), in fulfillment of an arrangement with Facebook, released an independent Interim Report (and accompanying op-ed) cataloging the primary concerns of conservatives who, as is now well known, regard Facebook as unfairly biased and opposed to conservative viewpoints.
  • States Making Predictable Grab for Revenue via Online Sales Taxes

    August 14, 2019
    Fallout from the 2018 South Dakota v.​​​​​​​ Wayfair Supreme Court decision, which allowed remote sales tax collection from online purchases, has begun and The Wall Street Journal editorialized on the sad state of affairs yesterday. The Competitive Enterprise Institute spent twenty years articulating the advantages of tax competition and warning of the repercussions of allowing states to reach outside their borders and collect taxes from businesses located entirely outside that state.
  • Leaked White House Executive Order on 'Censorship' Violates Two Basic Constitutional Tenets

    August 9, 2019
    Earlier this week it was reported that the Trump administration was drafting an executive order to combat perceived “censorship” of conservatives on online platforms such as Facebook and Google. Without details, the Competitive Enterprise Institute urged caution since the First Amendment does not empower government to police speech but rather restricts government from limiting or compelling speech.

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