Since 1992, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has celebrated the birth and ideals of its namesake by calling attention to those who in the past year forgot or disregarded Mr. Jefferson’s admonition that freedom of speech “cannot be limited without being lost.”
Announced on or near April 13—the anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson—the Jefferson Muzzles are awarded as a means to draw national attention to abridgments of free speech and press and, at the same time, foster an appreciation for those tenets of the First Amendment.
As the Center sees it, because the importance and value of free expression extend far beyond the First Amendment’s limit on government censorship, acts of private censorship are not spared consideration for the dubious honor of receiving a Muzzle.
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, by way of the Thomas Jefferson Center, I present you the
2014 Jefferson Muzzles
- The U.S. Department of Justice
- The White House Press Office
- The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security
- The North Carolina General Assembly Police
- The Kansas Board of Regents
- Modesto Junior College
- The Tennessee State Legislature
- Wharton High School Principal Brad Woods
- Pemberton Township High School Principal Ida Smith
Re: 2013 Muzzles, go here
On a related point, see David Berstein’s “Brandeis University’s Double Standard on Honorary Degrees,” Volokh Conspiracy, April 9, 2014.
If Josh Wheeler and the folks at the Jefferson Center are considering candidates for the 2015 Muzzles, check out John L. Smith’s column entitled “Government in full force to corral cattle, First Amendment,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 7, 2014. As Smith put it:
Perhaps I’ve led a sheltered life, but . . . I had never set foot in a First Amendment Area. On Saturday, the lot was otherwise empty. There were no fiery voices of libertarian protest, no throng of angry Nevada ranchers with rifles in their pickups, not even a gaggle of curious tourists or a covey of head-scratching reporters. Of course, the fact the free-speech pen was located several miles from Bundy’s ranch and even farther from the federal government’s corral of “trespass cattle,” the lack of attendance was understandable. (By Monday, the voices of peaceful protest would increase considerably a few miles up the road near the banks of the Virgin River.)
Adds Smith: “A sign marks a ‘First Amendment area’ to designate where protesters can protest near Bunkerville.” See lonely “First Amendment Area” below in pic. Turns out that sometime later a protester ventured out with an American flag and placard that read: “The First Amendment is not an area.”
Last FAN.10 Column: (“Justice Stevens’ Proposal to Amend the 1st Amendment”) go here
Next Scheduled FAN Column: April 16th