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Articles Tagged with long island civil rights lawyer

When two legal rights collide, how does the court pick a side? The United States Supreme Court’s ruling on June 4, 2018, in Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, made it clear that it is not an easy decision. Today’s Long Island civil rights blog discusses whether a baker can rightfully turn down a gay couple’s request to design their wedding cake if the baker’s religion does not accept gay marriage.

Freedom of speech and religion are two important civil liberties protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Freedom of speech extends to both traditional verbal speech, and expressive conduct also known as symbolic speech. Burning a flag and wearing a t-shirt opposing a political leader are two examples of symbolic speech.

Conduct remains at the heart of symbolic speech claims. Thoughts, ideas, and opinions are powerful and courts have decided to protect them in certain scenarios. However, the conduct’s offensiveness or irrationality can never be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not the conduct deserves First Amendment protection.

On April 25, 2018, Long Island civil rights lawyer Matthew Weinick led a discussion about First and Second Amendment rights at a meeting of the League of Women Voters.  The meeting, held at the Levittown Library, was well attended by both organization members and the general public.

According to its website, the League of Women Voters is a “grassroots organization.”  Earlier this year, the group contacted the Nassau County Bar Association looking for a volunteer lawyer to speak about civil rights.  Civil rights lawyer and bar association member Matthew Weinick responded to the request and the discussion was scheduled.

At the meeting, Weinick discussed First Amendment and Second Amendment rights.  Weinick tried to keep these hot button issues away from politics and spoke about these rights from a legal viewpoint, discussing the way courts have interpreted the amendments.  Weinick used recent court decisions relating to sexual orientation discrimination and gun regulation to show how courts interpret the Constitution.

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