Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Viewpoint-Based Exclusionary Determinations?

In case you don't know, that's Ingsoc for excluding tax-paying citizens from taxpayer-funded events on White House instructions because they have the "wrong" political views. Frightening but not even remotely surprising considering how long it has been Bush administration policy to allow pro-Bush rallies along a presidential motorcade route but only permit dissenting views to be expressed in cordoned-off areas miles from the route. First amendment? First to go in the "new" America.


Blogger Canardius said...

ah my friend, the First Amendment has often been subject to modification. The Supreme Court, in Shenck v. United States, held that "The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent."
[source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schenck_v._United_States]

And Charles Shenck's original arrest was over his criticism of the draft. The court unanimously went against him, finding his speech not protected by the First Amendment.

That opinion was delivered during a war [the Kaiser would surrender later that year]. Curtailing laws, liberties, and freedoms during wartime is nothing new -- when faced with a Germanic invasion, the Romans forgot their problems with kings enough to elect Gaius Marius consul 5 times in 5 straight years. When the crisis was abated, they returned to normal law-abiding times. Which means we should be grateful GWB has not suspended the next elections of 2008 when his successor will be chosen and given the task of concluding this war....

3:25 PM  
Blogger Melinda Barton said...

Yes, but in Schenck, as in the cases which followed (narrowing the "clear and present danger" test to its present "imminent lawless action"), the defendant was charged after the act of speaking. Preventing someone from speaking in the first place based on the person's political views has, to my knowledge, always been deemed unconstitutional under "prior constraint".

4:27 PM  
Blogger Melinda Barton said...


See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Socialist_Party_of_America_v._Village_of_Skokie

Also, I believe that prohibited speech (according to the SC) must promote action not just a viewpoint.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Melinda Barton said...


National Socialist Party of America v. The Village of Skokie

4:42 PM  

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