“In totalitarian regimes—a.k.a. police states—where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used."
'Weighing in on a First Amendment case that could have significant ramifications for online communications and controversial art forms, The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of a rap artist who was charged with making terrorist threats after posting a rap song critical of police on Facebook and YouTube. Police had been actively monitoring rapper Jamal Knox’s (a.k.a. “Mayhem Mal”) social media presence when they discovered the song titled “F**k the Police” and charged Knox and his rap partner with multiple counts of terroristic threats and witness intimidation. The Rutherford Institute’s amicus brief in Knox v. Pennsylvania, filed in conjunction with The CATO Institute, asks the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case and reject an attempt by government officials to expand the definition of “true threats,” making controversial and unpopular political or artistic expression subject to prosecution and suppression by the government.
Affiliate attorneys Ari Savitzky, Paul Vanderslice, Mark C. Fleming, James Bor-Zale, and Rauvin Johl of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr assisted The Rutherford Institute and CATO with the arguments.
“In totalitarian regimes—a.k.a. police states—where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. This is exactly the scenario we’re seeing played out over and over again in America today, where ‘we the people’ are increasingly only as free to speak as a government official or corporate censor may allow,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “Yet nowhere in the First Amendment does it permit the government to limit speech in order to avoid causing offense, hurting someone’s feelings, safeguarding government secrets, protecting government officials, insulating judges from undue influence, discouraging bullying, penalizing hateful ideas and actions, eliminating terrorism, combatting prejudice and intolerance, and the like.”'
Read more: Rutherford Institute Defends Rappers Charged With Terrorism for Sharing Song Critical of Police on Facebook and YouTube