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Week in Review: A Landmark Anniversary for Free Speech

June 29, 2019

One year ago this week, the Supreme Court restored the First Amendment rights of millions of public-sector workers, ruling in Janus v. AFSCME that governments can’t force their employees to pay fees to a union just to keep their jobs.

That decision has already had a big impact: a lot of money that otherwise would have gone toward unions’ political advocacy—perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars in the past year alone—is instead going into the pockets of workers who are free to spend it as they see fit.

But Janus could have even greater effects in the years ahead, as litigators for liberty at the Goldwater Institute and like-minded organizations across the country work to build on the Supreme Court’s ruling and bring more First Amendment freedom to more people.

Read more from Goldwater Institute Senior Attorney Jacob Huebert about the next steps in that fight, including challenging mandatory bar associations and exclusive representation.

A Victory in California as the Fight for Property Rights Goes On

“Sea Dance” has been in Sue Hobbs’ family since her parents purchased it over 50 years ago, when she was just a teenager—and in 2013, she and her husband, Bill, began offering the beautiful oceanfront property, located in Pacific Grove, California, as a short-term rental. That is, until the city stepped in in 2018 and held a lottery that took away their ability to share their home with overnight guests.

The Goldwater Institute made the case for these homeowners in a Monterey, California, courtroom this past Tuesday and won a partial victory, though the fight for the Hobbs’ property rights goes on.

A few hundred miles north, Andy Morris felt a similar sting. Andy rented several of his Seattle properties as short-term rentals through online platforms. That is, until the city restricted home-sharing to a homeowners’ primary residence plus two additional properties, leaving entrepreneurs like Andy without the livelihood they’d come to rely on.

Andy and Sue have something else in common, too. Both of them are good neighbors in their communities and are responsible property owners whose popular rentals are nuisance-free. Nevertheless, they’re being deprived of their property rights, even though they didn’t do anything wrong.

Read more about these cases on the In Defense of Liberty blog.

Risks Are Too Great if State Lawmakers Do Not Protect Campus Speech

It’s a child’s game to pretend that when you close your eyes, other people can’t see you. It’s also foolish to think that if you ignore something you don’t like, it’s not really there.

Yet writers from the nonprofit PEN America try to ignore the challenges—threats, even—to First Amendment rights and physical safety posed by violent mobs, speaker shoutdowns, and other forms of censorship on college campuses today. By doing so, they underestimate the damage done to postsecondary education and disregard the poison injected into civil society when these students graduate.

Fortunately, the Goldwater Institute has a solution to the campus free speech crisis. Read more about it from Goldwater senior fellow Jonathan Butcher.



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