A woman in New York is fighting for freedom against a law that forces her to be a mouthpiece for state propaganda, violating her rights to freedom of speech and self-expression under the United States Constitution.
Emilee Carpenter, a photographer and blogger in New York state, is your everyday small businesswoman. She works hard, does fantastic work, and was hit hard by the pandemic like the rest of small business owners. However, there was one thing New York thought was standing in the way of her success, her freedom.
When she refused to publish blog posts and photos hyping liberal propaganda on her personal blog, the state of New York sued her, saying the law demands she include photos and blog posts on her personal blog that promote homosexuality, even though this violates her rights. However, Emilee didn’t back down. She knows the Constitution protects her rights, and therefore freedom against state coercion, so she and Alliance Defending Freedom went to the courts to uphold the law.
Emilee sued New York, calling them out on their law forcing people to write whatever the state tells them to write. And now she is before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States defending freedom.
Law, Freedom, And Rights In United States Courts
Emilee’s lawsuit isn’t the only court case fighting such anti-freedom laws. A similar case in Colorado that made it all the way to the 10 Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States found the state of Colorado can effectively control what any blog or media outlet writes about, essentially upholding a law making all news outlets in Colorado official state propaganda departments.
In the Colorado case, a web designer objected to making questionable websites that violated her religious freedom. But the state of Colorado, rather than defend freedom, decided she didn’t have the rights to design whatever websites she wanted and instead must design what the government tells her to. Bizarrely, Colorado won the lawsuit, despite the US Constitution clearly separating government from media in the First Amendment.
But the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States didn’t just stop with her business. They said Colorado’s law placed all media formats and internet content originating in the state of Colorado under the control of the state government. The Appeals Court argued that, since these media outlets are outlets of expression, Colorado’s state government can force them to publish whatever the state demands.
Freedom Upheld As A Right In Other US Cases
However, not every state has lambasted freedom. In Arizona and Minnesota, for instance, the courts struck down laws just like Colorado’s and New York’s, arguing they were gross violations of freedom and people’s rights.
In Arizona, the State Supreme Court found that Phoenix was overstepping its bounds by trying to force two artists to design liberal wedding invitations that promoted beliefs they disagreed with.
Unlike in Colorado, the Arizona Supreme Court argued the city of Phoenix violated the two artists’ rights by forcing them to write state-coerced content. In their ruling, they argue content producers have the freedom to post whatever they want, regardless of state government opinions, or even state law, saying differently.
Likewise, in Minnesota, Telescope Media Group was sued by the Attorney General of Minnesota for refusing to publish state propaganda. In the case, Minnesota tried to force Telescope Media Group to create videos about topics and subjects that violated their personal beliefs by using a state law similar to Colorado’s.
But Telescope Media Group, along with Alliance Defending Freedom, hit back in a lawsuit and defeated the Attorney General’s attacks. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Telescope Media Group and Alliance Defending Freedom, arguing the Attorney General must immediately cease and desist his witch hunt on freedom. However, the Appeals Court did not strike down the Minnesota law, which may leave the door open for other rights abuses and lawsuits in the state.
With multiple state cases swinging in entirely different ways, there is a possibility that Emilee Carpenter’s case may end up before the Supreme Court of the United States. This is because, historically, when there is a disagreement in the enforcement of similar state laws, the Supreme Court may decide how such laws are enforced nationwide, regardless of state government or court opinions.
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– John Paluska, CNJ Staff