Wednesday, February 01, 2006

There Is No Constitutional Right Not To Be Offended!

Thanks JWC for sending this my way. In 1971 the Supreme Court ruled that free speech is protected even when inside a courthouse, and even when the speech is a leather jacket emblazoned with the words, “Fuck the Draft”. As you have probably heard, Cindy Sheehan was arrested and dragged out of the gallery at the State of the Union Tuesday night. Her offence? Wearing a t-shirt with the number of soldiers killed in Iraq along with the simple question, how many more? Read her account of what happened. It is evident that her personal agony is exacerbated by the pain of watching her country slip away, a pain shared by so many of us.

She may decide to fight her arrest as an infringement on her first amendment rights. I hope she does, although I wonder how much one woman should be forced to take on. She has more than served her country, yet she continues to fight each and every day, providing us with inspiration and a shining example of true courage and determination. If she does decide to take on this fight, it may very well end up back in the Supreme Court, only this time I doubt there will be as much deference given to the constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech.

If presented with this case or any of the many others where political opposition to Bush has been quashed, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito (along with Scalia and Thomas) will likely take a much narrower view of what constitutes free speech. In the summer of 1971, Justice Harlan delivered the opinion of the court in the case of Cohen v. California and made clear the dangers inherent in criminalizing free speech (read the decision here, it’s very good). Justice Harlan was mindful that democracy requires that dissenting views be protected, I fear that our current Supreme Court will choose to worship conformity over freedom. What will our country look like when political dissent is criminalized and the right to free speech is replaced with a new constitutional right, the right to not be offended by the words of others?

Like Cindy Sheehan, I cry when I look at what they are doing to this country. Our principles are being perverted in order to blindly support a thieving band of brothers who refer to our Constitution as “just a piece of paper.” That tells us all we need to know about the Bush administration, there is no usurpation of power that they can’t justify and there are no rights sacred. And on and on it goes, the drip, drip, drip of our founding principles down the drain.

2 Comments:

Anonymous larryo said...

Well said, Liberal Girl. The warning we were given by the poet more than 40 years ago appears even more true today:

"You better start swimming
or you'll sink like a stone,
for the times
they are a-changin'."

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Roberta Kelly said...

I read an article this morning, written by a highly well known artist (nationally and internationally) that we MUST all, each and every person, get signs and put them with super high visibility:

IMPEACH BUSH

and,

We must write letters, telephone, email, whatever ~ to all the people who really placed this governing body into power ~ and it begins with Warren Buffet, Rupert Murdock, Bill & Melinda Gates, and so on.

Fortune Magazine published the 400 names of those who have one slice shy of one trillion dollars, the American billionaires.

This list is most likely the people we are actually dealing with, in losing our country and their greedy BS to be THE GLOBAL EMPIRE.

I genuinely believe that we MUST stop spending money except on necessities and practice the art form of conservation. This getting "off the grid" can save us from Warren Buffet gobbling up the energy companies to try and save his sorry ass along with all his greedy stock holders.

If Buffet, Gates, et al have something that they want to sell to the American people, "just say no to drugs".

2:51 PM  

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