Coming up Wednesday

Wildfires burn through Colorado causing thousands to evacuate, and protests in Turkey are in 13th day. Tune in at 7am ET.
June 15th, 2012
01:18 PM ET

Former '2 Live Crew' member Luther Campbell fights to keep coaching H.S. football

Luther Campbell is best known as the front man for the '90s hip-hop group "2 Live Crew." The controversial album "As Nasty as They Want to Be" became the focus of a First Amendment fight that ended up hitting Tipper Gore against Bruce Springsteen. That case eventually went to the Supreme Court and "2 Live Crew" won.

Today, Luther Campbell is a high school football coach in Florida and a role model for kids. He started a program 20 years ago that helps mostly poor kids in Liberty City to play ball.

Here is where the two worlds collide. The Florida Department of Education wants to remove him as coach because of what they call questionable moral character. Exhibit A, the lyrics on his album - "Nasty as They Want to Be."

It's all in a new article that's been published on this week. Andy Staples, writer of the article, and Luther Campbell talk about Campbell's fight to continue coaching.

Filed under: Coaching • First Amendment
April 19th, 2012
10:50 AM ET

John Brennan explains why he took his clothes off during a TSA pat down, says 'nakedness shouldn't be illegal'

Since the 9/11 attacks, airport security measures have become much more intrusive to protect the flying public. On Tuesday, Portland, Oregon resident John Brennan decided to make a stand against screening stripping down.

Shocked onlookers averted their eyes as 49-year-old Brennan disrobed in protest of the security procedures, after his clothes supposedly tested positive for explosives. When Brennan refused to get dressed, he was arrested.

On Wednesday, he was charged with indecent exposure, while a second charge for disorderly conduct was dropped. The TSA issued a statement, saying "TSA partners with the traveling public to screen all passengers safely and efficiently. When a passenger chooses to be purposefully disruptive, we notify law enforcement."

Brennan talks with Soledad this morning on "Starting Point" and explains why he chose to take off his clothes in public.

"I found out I tested positive for nitrates, which is an explosive," Brennan says. "I decided the best way to show them that I'm not carrying a bomb is to take off my clothes. They get to choose when they see us naked in those machines, and I just decided I'm going to speed the process up."

"As an Oregonian, I know my right to free speech includes nude protest," Brennan adds. "As I look at any situation, I'm aware that's one way I can communicate and have a voice. And so, this, certainly, was not premeditated."

In the second video below, he explains that he's willing to give up some of his liberties for the sake of safety and understands that TSA workers have a job to do, but he felt that in his case it went too far.

"I went through a metal detector and I was patted down through my crotch by a stranger," he says. "That's giving up a lot. When they took me past that step, I said, here's what I'm going to do. I did not impede the search process. They were uncomfortable that I was naked, but it shouldn't be illegal. My nakedness should not be illegal."

Brennan did admit that he wishes he didn't have such a big belly, but says he's not ashamed of his body.

April 10th, 2012
11:10 AM ET

EXCLUSIVE: Marine who posted critical comments on President Obama speaks, defends his right to free speech

Should members of the Armed Forces be allowed to use social media to voice political opinions? The answer to that question could decide the fate of Marine Sergeant Gary Stein this week, who is facing a "less than honorable" discharge for comments he made on Facebook criticizing President Obama.

Despite repeated attempts by Sergeant Stein to halt the process, a panel voted 3-0 last week to recommend he be discharged from the military – a move that would render him ineligible for veteran's benefits.

In a "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" exclusive, Marine Sergeant Gary Stein and his attorney Gary Kreep, Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation, explain to Soledad why this case cuts to the heart of the First Amendment and one's right to free speech.

There were two comments that were potentially in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which Stein claims were made on a closed forum on Facebook. He writes that President Obama is "a domestic enemy" and says "as an active duty Marine I say: screw Obama."

"I do believe that my words were somewhat tasteless, and I could have used better words," Stein says. "But the same point the principle behind it or the thoughts behind it thinking that the policies that the President has put forth in the last three and a half years have been crippling our economy, that's my personal opinion as Gary Stein. And it's my every right to say that."

His attorney argues that Stein can't be thrown out of the military for his actions, claiming the military violated their own rules in the way they are enforcing conduct rules on the case.

"I'm here to protect the constitution," Stein says. "I'm here to uphold and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And I never disobeyed an order."

Kreep says if they lose the Friday hearing on this case, they will file his case with the Ninth Circuit court.

Watch the interview above.

Filed under: First Amendment • Military
February 28th, 2012
07:15 PM ET

Judge in 'zombie Mohammed' case: First amendment has responsibilities

Cumberland Co. Magisterial District Judge Mark Martin responds to the case dubbed the "Zombie Mohammed" case.

Filed under: First Amendment • Law