The following are excerpts of a speech delivered by Mirek Topolánek, former prime minister of the Czech Republic and former president of the European Council, at the Legal Salon in Prague on November 2, 2017.
Equality, in the legal sense, is based on the principle of freedom and the right of every person to dignity and equal treatment before the law [such that] the law… does not [make a distinction]… between people [based on] their economic or social status, age, ethnicity, [etc.]
The principle of equality is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, a declaration that is part of the constitutional order of the Czech Republic…
The philosophical roots of the idea of human rights based on equality can be found not only, but especially, in European culture — from the Code of Hammurabi, through the Cyrus Cylinder, the Magna Carta Libertatum, the US Declaration of Independence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The current concept and understanding of human rights as inalienable, definite and universal is a matter of the past four centuries, [culminating in] the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which includes equality as one of the basic human rights sets…
The trial balloons have been slowly leaked to the people who matter on exactly what will be in the “Deal of the Century” President Donald Trump has been claiming he will finally bring peace between the Arabs and Israel, the Jews. These balloons are only partially inflated as the Trump Administration is playing their cards close to the vest. They are mostly floating the most contentious pieces to watch and see how everyone reacts. Fortunately for Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu and all the other important party leaders in the coalition and in the opposition will not need to say a word; they just have to allow Abbas and company to talk. The problem is that everybody in the opposition will jump onboard with the plan claiming that it is just about everything they have said was required for there finally to be peace with the Arab Palestinians and some may…
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Last September, a man named Mark Feigin posted five comments on the Facebook page of an Islamic center. They were not Islam-friendly. “THE MORE MUSLIMS WE ALLOW INTO AMERICA,” he wrote, “THE MORE TERROR WE WILL SEE.” He called Islam “dangerous” and said it has “no place in western civilization.” A couple of his comments included vulgar or profane language. On December 20, the State of California sued Feigin, charging him with violation of a penal code that reads, in part:
“Every person who, with intent to annoy or harass, makes repeated telephone calls or makes repeated contact by means of an electronic communication device… to another person is… guilty of a misdemeanor.”
According to the state Attorney General’s office, Feigin was guilty of a crime because he had engaged in “repeated harassment” of people whose religion he sought to “mock and disparage.”
Eugene Volokh, the UCLA law professor whose “Volokh Conspiracy” blog is a popular site of legal debate and discussion, wrote about Feigin’s case on December 29, noting that by the Attorney General’s logic, the state would be able to sue citizens who had written equally critical comments on, for example, an NRA or pro-Trump website. “This can’t possibly be consistent with the First Amendment,” Volokh said.
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