The Corner

Is the First Amendment at a Crisis Point?

It may be. Regardless of who first coined the phrase “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (it was Voltaire biographer Evelyn Hall), the phrase seems to have lost its luster among journalists and editorial-page editors.

Not at the New York Post, though: Yesterday it published a sound and heartening editorial, titled “DC Court of Appeals’ global-warming decision threatens First Amendment,” slamming the panel’s troubling ruling in the Mann v. National Review case.

Like the cheese, the Post stands alone. While there were a number of news organizations and related parties who authored or signed amicus briefs siding with NR when in 2014 it appealed a previous terrible decision from the D.C. court, there has been barely a peep from them — whether as news reports or editorials or rampart mounting (an exception is Jonathan Adler’s Washington Post “Volokh Conspiracy” blog post) — about this troubling ruling since it was handed down on December 22. We’ve looked in on self-appointed journalism defenders such as Columbia Journalism Review, the Poynter Institute, Newseum, and others, and found silence about the case that has emerged as America’s premier legal battle on free speech.

Shall we blame the holidays? Maybe. But could it be that, when it comes to the Left’s near-religious adherence to the preeminence of global warming, the enemy of my enemy is a friend? Has the First Amendment been dumped? Achieved “my ex” status?

We challenge those institutions who stand by the First Amendment to do so, again, on this case and in response to this ruling. In the meantime, we will battle to defend it — as we pledged in our editorial criticizing the D.C. court — but we hope it will be with your help. The fight is costly, and there are significant bills to pay above and beyond what libel insurance covers. As they say, correctly, freedom isn’t free.

Our goals for assistance on the rebuild of NRO have been met. We are deeply appreciative. But we have extended our end-of-the-year webathon through this coming weekend because we know many of our readers and friends want to stand alongside NR in this critical legal fight. We urge you to join us. Whether $25 or $2,500, or less, or even more, any help is indeed just that — help. Please contribute to NR directly here, or via PayPal here. If you prefer to send a check, make it payable to “National Review” and mail it to NR at 215 Lexington Avenue, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Many thanks.


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