Mary Anne Franks, a professor at the University of Miami School of Law, has proposed a “redo” of the First Amendment in a Boston Globe op-ed. (She likewise proposed a “redo” of the Second Amendment, but perhaps that's better handled separately.)

The first and most important of the amendments, she wrote, is “deeply flawed” in its conceptualization “of some of the most important rights of a democratic society: the freedom of expression and religion.” The amendment as it stands now, Franks added, is “highly susceptible to being read in isolation from the Constitution as a whole and from its commitments to equality and the collective good.”

The First Amendment, she continued, tends to be “interpreted in aggressively individualistic ways that ignore the reality of conflict among competing rights. This in turn allows the most powerful members of society to reap the benefits of these constitutional rights at the expense of vulnerable groups.”

The solution to this conundrum, then, is to have the First Amendment explicitly situate “individual rights within the framework of ‘domestic tranquility’ and the ‘general welfare’ set out in the Constitution’s preamble.” This way, she argued, abuses such as the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC can be avoided in future free speech cases.

The principle of the separation of church and state should also be made explicit.

The following is her proposed “redo” of the First Amendment [emphasis added]:

Every person has the right to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and petition of the government for redress of grievances, consistent with the rights of others to the same and subject to responsibility for abuses. All conflicts of such rights shall be resolved in accordance with the principle of equality and dignity of all persons.

Both the freedom of religion and the freedom from religion shall be respected by the government. The government may not single out any religion for interference or endorsement, nor may it force any person to accept or adhere to any religious belief or practice.

First, including the phrase “the rights of others” in the definition of a specific right makes her "redo" something of a circular definition. You'd think she could spend five minutes thinking this through, but apparently not.

Second, and more importantly, “subject to responsibility for abuses” is a phrase just waiting to be abused by some tyrant. It is an incredibly vague and poorly thought out concept, primed for manipulation and willful misinterpretation by the people who have the full weight and power of the state at their disposal. How do we define “abuse?" More importantly, who gets to determine what constitutes an “abuse?” The same government we’re supposedly allowed to “petition … for redress of grievances?”

At a moment when actual journalists are suggesting that criticism of the Biden administration is literally a crime against democracy — not all liberals have bought into such garbage, thank goodness — forgive me if I choose not to have my rights interpreted in light of someone's (perhaps badly warped) idea of "equality" or "dignity."

And what happens when, say, the federal government quietly coordinates with the National School Boards Association to sic the Department of Justice on parents who protest the teaching of racialism in the classroom? What are we supposed to do when the people threatening First Amendment rights are the same people with the power to determine what constitutes a First Amendment “abuse?"

Anybody who paid to take classes with this professor ought to demand a refund.