[Rushtalk] Fwd: Supremes: Take this First Amendment and shove it!
John A. Quayle
blueoval57 at verizon.net
Sat Jun 15 19:48:39 MDT 2013
Judge blasts speech limits at Supreme Court building
But Supremes bash back with new set of 'regulations'
Published: 1 day ago
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A federal judge has blasted the Supreme Courts
plaza policy, which forbids people from being in
assemblages or carrying signs that are intended
to attract attention, declaring such limits in
the shadow of the building where the First
Amendment is supposed to be protected unconstitutional.
With hours, the Supremes bashed back, installing
a new set of restrictive regulations specifying
what can and cannot happen on the high court property including the plaza.
It was Judge Beryl Howell who wrote in an opinion
this week that such limits outlined in federal
law and based on the dignity of the location
are unconstitutional and unenforceable.
The absolute prohibition of expressive activity
in the statute is unreasonable, substantially
overbroad, and irreconcilable with the First
Amendment, the judge wrote. The court therefore
must find the statute unconstitutional and void
as applied to the Supreme Court plaza.
Constitutional attorney John
president of <http://www.rutherford.org>the
Rutherford Institute, said Howells frank,
no-holds-barred ruling affirming the Supreme
Court plaza as a free speech zone throws a
to the First Amendment at a time when government
officials are doing their best to censor, silence
and restrict free speech activities.
Whitehead, author of A Government of Wolves: The
Emerging American Police State, said there are
many things that are repugnant to the
Constitution right now mass surveillance of
Americans, roadside strip searches, forcible DNA
extractions, SWAT team raids, civil commitments
for criticizing the government, etc. but this
ruling at least sends a message all is not lost
as long as we still have some members of the
judiciary who understand and abide by both the
letter and the spirit of the rule of law, our U.S. Constitution.
However, the high court posted online an
announcement that it now is imposing a regulation
that bans activities on the courts grounds or
building such as picketing, speech-making,
marching, vigils or religious services that
involve the communication or expression of views
or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons,
the conduct of which is reasonably likely to draw a crowd or onlookers.
The notice said the plan has been approved by the
marshal and approved by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Whitehead said the new maneuver to restrict
constitutional rights is being researched.
Were going to go after it. Were going to do
what we can to challenge it, he said.
The original case developed over the Jan. 28,
2011, appearance on the plaza by Harold Hodge. He
stood quietly and peacefully in the plaza area
wearing a small sign that proclaimed: The U.S.
gov. allows police to illegally murder and
brutalize African Americans and Hispanic people.
The Rutherford report said the plaza is a place
where the public is allowed to gather and
converse and is, in all relevant respects, like a
public square or park where citizens have
traditionally met to express their views on matters of public interest.
But police immediately approached Hodge and told
him he was breaking the law. When Hodge refused
to leave, he was arrested, taken to police headquarters and cited.
Later, the charge was dropped because Hodge
fulfilled an agreement to stay away from the
building for six months. But he later filed the
challenge to the constitutionality of the special
protection for the justices on the Supreme Court.
argued that absolute prohibition on speech and
expression on the Supreme Court plaza is
unreasonable and unnecessary to protect any
legitimate governmental interest with respect to the court or its proceedings.
See a video report on the case:
Rutherford noted that the message of Hodges sign
was correct, citing statistics that show black
males are more than one-third of prisoners in
state and federal lockups, even though they make
up only 10 percent of the population.
And beyond that, Hodge has a right to be out there, he said.
Whitehead said the whole idea of a zone without
free speech violates the constitutional concept
of being able to petition our leaders.
court opinion says that the concept of limiting
freedoms through a law advocating for the
dignity of the courthouse was repugnant.
The judge said the limit at the Supreme Court was
based on a similar earlier law that was used to protect the U.S. Capitol.
However, that law already was declared unconstitutional.
Given that the challenged statute was rooted
directly in the Capitol Grounds statute, which
was ruled unconstitutional, and is clearly
relevant here, the court takes judicial notice of this history.
The opinion noted that attorneys are allowed to
hold news conferences there, and court officials
have approved commercial filming projects on site.
The judge said a decision on whether the location
is a public forum or not wasnt needed.
Even if the court were to conclude that the
plaza is a nonpublic forum, the absolute ban on
speech set forth in [the federal law] is not
reasonable and, thus, the court concludes that
the justifications for restricting
the Supreme Court plaza simply do not satisfy the requisite standard.
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