Here’s our unexhaustive “top 10 list” of the most absurd civil liberties violations we encountered in 2018.
“Whereas Nike’s decision to promote Colin Kaepernick as the face of Nike is an insult and slap in the face to hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers throughout this country.” This line from the North Smithfield Town Council resolution calling on the school committee and municipal departments to ban the purchase of Nike products. Because, clearly, speaking out against racial injustice is a slap in the face to law enforcement.
When the RI Attorney General charged someone $3,700 for public information on how his office spent $50M in Google settlement money. Because “the people” should have to pay exorbitant fees for (completely redacted) open and transparent government.
When the RI House of Representatives passed an “equal pay” bill that actually UNDERMINED equal pay by reducing the number of employers subject to the current law. Because women no longer have any need to be protected from discrimination in the workplace.
When the organization that owns the rights to Rosa Parks’ name threatened to sue the Rosa Parks House Project for trademark infringement…AND Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery cancelled the exhibit (Thanks to ACLU intervention, the Project – which aimed to spark discussion about Parks’ life and racial discrimination – was ultimately displayed at the WaterFire Arts Center.) Because avoiding (bogus) litigation is more important than Freedom of Expression – especially in higher education.
When the RI Department of Transportation blocked @smokinbluntz and others from its twitter account for comments critical of agency projects. Because the First Amendment doesn’t apply to anyone with the screenname @SmokinBluntz.
When ICE and USCIS were literally IN CAHOOTS to entrap immigrants who were following the law to revise their immigration status. Because YOU are required to follow laws set out by government agencies, but those agencies are NOT required to follow the laws set out by the U. S. CONSTITUTION.
When the RI General Assembly passed "Kristen’s Law." Because 16 community, public health, and drug treatment groups – and more than 60 medical professionals – can’t all be right.
When the Japan-American Society sued a journalist for trademark infringement for referring to an event as "The Black Ships Festival." Because journalists can’t write about things without the prior written consent of the Japan-American Society.
When the Warwick School Committee thought it would be ok to charge public school students to ride the school bus. Because what good is free public education anyways?
When RI passed a “revenge porn” bill that doesn't require either revenge or porn to be guilty of a crime. Because, frankly, people need to be protected from the XXXFirst AmendmentXXX.