People are right to question President Obama’s commitment to the First Amendment. Recent scandals show the Obama/Holder Justice Department is willing to trample on reporters’ First Amendment right to gather and disseminate information. In a bygone era, that was known as reporting.

The Obama/Holder Justice Department’s assault on the First Amendment isn’t limited to intimidating reporters. George Will’s column offers proof that they’re willing to stretch their campaign of censorship to college campuses:

Responding to what it considers the University of Montana’s defective handling of complaints about sexual assaults, OCR, in conjunction with the Justice Department, sent the university a letter intended as a “blueprint” for institutions nationwide when handling sexual harassment, too. The letter, sent on May 9, encourages (see below) adoption of speech codes, actually, censorship regimes, to punish students who:

Make “sexual or dirty jokes” that are “unwelcome.” Or disseminate “sexual rumors” (even if true) that are “unwelcome.” Or make “unwelcome” sexual invitations. Or engage in the “unwelcome” circulation or showing of “e-mails or Web sites of a sexual nature.” Or display or distribute “sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials” that are “unwelcome.”

In short, the DOJ is lending its autharitorian boot to students’ throats. This isn’t just about censorship. It’s about censorship without the right to due process:

Under 2011 rules that establish a low standard of proof, Kaminer says, “students accused of harassment are to be convicted in the absence of clear and convincing evidence of guilt, if guilt merely seems more likely than not.” And schools are enjoined to “take immediate steps to protect the complainant from further harassment,” including “taking disciplinary action against the harasser” prior to adjudication. So the OCR-DOJ “blueprint” and related rules not only violate the First Amendment guarantee of free speech but are, to be polite, casual about due process.

The DOJ’s actions in putting these guidelines together is appalling. They’re disgusting, too. The thought that a student could be ‘convicted’ of making “unwelcome” comments just on the basis that it’s likely they’d be convicted is disgusting.

This isn’t about eliminating true sexual harassment. It’s about censorship. If “unwelcome” comments are harassment, then everything is potentially harassment.

When the Education Department was created in 1980 (Jimmy Carter’s payment to the National Education Association, the largest teachers union, for its first presidential endorsement), conservatives warned that it would be used for ideological aggression to break state and local schools to the federal saddle. Lukianoff says:

“Given that the [OCR-DOJ] letter represents an interpretation of federal law by major federal agencies, most colleges will regard it as binding. Noncompliance threatens federal funding, including Pell grants and Stafford loans.”

The message is clear: Obey or the students get hurt. What’s interesting is that the DOJ would sign off on this unconstitutional mandate. This is the type of case that SCOTUS would swat down with a 9-0 opinion.

I’m not surprised by DOJ’s decision. They’ve shown they won’t hesitate to intimidate reporters. Why would it be surprising that they’d be willing to impose censorship (First Amendment) without due process (Fifth Amendment)? That’s as surprising as finding out Bill Gates made money last week.

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