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View Diary: WATCH: City Council Tells Priest to "Sit Down" as He Argues for Right to Petition Gov't w/o Fear (95 comments)

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  •  Seems like an interesting topic. (6+ / 0-)

    You can't go up to the mic and start singing "My Pal's Name Is Foot-Foot," because if you do you'll be asked to leave.  At the same time, it seems that speech can be quashed if it's disruptive, but can't if it's merely disfavored.  

    Law review article on the subject is here.

    •  That article argues against the 9th Circuit's (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DBunn, Lujane, Just Bob, VClib

      decision in Norse v Santa Cruz, which is here.  The key passage for present purposes is this:

      In City of Norwalk, we held that city council meetings, once open to public participation, are limited public forums. 900 F.2d at 1425. A council can regulate not only the time, place, and manner of speech in a limited public forum, but also the content of speech—as long as content-based regulations are viewpoint neutral and enforced that way. Id.; see also Kindt v. Santa Monica Rent Control Bd., 67 F.3d 266, 270-71 (9th Cir.1995) ("[L]imitations on speech at [city council] meetings must be reasonable and viewpoint neutral...."); accord Steinburg v. Chesterfield Cnty. Planning Comm'n, 527 F.3d 377, 385 (4th Cir.2008); Eichenlaub v. Twp. of Ind., 385 F.3d 274, 281 (3d Cir. 2004).
      •  you know johnny... you can brown nose (27+ / 0-)

        the conservative assault on rights and democracy, but you won't gain traction here.

        At some point in time, your authoritarian worship will bite you in the ass.


        Bridge Closed: Republican Tax CUTS At Work

        You just gonna stand there and bleed
        Or you gonna do something about it?

        by bronte17 on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 08:45:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't hide-rate this, though I was tempted. (7+ / 0-)

          i don't see anything wrong with what Johnny Wurster brought to the discussion - and that's what this should be, a discussion of rights and the laws that pertain to them.  There's no need for invective or insults.  If you disagree with his posts, please do so on the merits.

        •  I thought he made a good point, (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sb, elwior, ozsea1, PeterHug, armadillo

          though perhaps not the one he intended.

          ("[L]imitations on speech at [city council] meetings must be reasonable and viewpoint neutral....")

          It seems the limitation imposed in Pensacola doesn't meet that requirement.

          Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

          by Just Bob on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:10:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Pensacola claims its limitations are VPN (0+ / 0-)

            Their stated policy is that they require civility and prohibit personal attacks.

            There is no doubt that Monk's comments (claiming that the proposed law would have kicked Mary and Joseph out of the park) were a bit over the top.

            I certainly think it is a defensible claim that they were not "civil".

            The problem with this kind of rule is who gets to decide.  But that is the problem with almost any government regulation or law that allows discretion.

      •  Don't understand your argument (6+ / 0-)

        So any city council can terminate any speaker's comment by declaring that their actions are viewpoint neutral?

      •  Your point is taken (9+ / 0-)

        But perhaps some additional insight and context into the case cited above would be helpful:

        The City contends that only certain portions of its meetings are limited public forums and that no members of the public have any First Amendment rights at all once the public comment period has concluded. The City cites no support for this proposition, and there is none.

        In City of Norwalk, we held that city council meetings, once open to public participation, are limited public forums. 900 F.2d at 1425. A council can regulate not only the time, place, and manner of speech in a limited public forum, but also the content of speech—as long as content-based regulations are viewpoint neutral and enforced that way. Id.; see also Kindt v. Santa Monica Rent Control Bd., 67 F.3d 266, 270-71 (9th Cir.1995) ("[L]imitations on speech at [city council] meetings must be reasonable and viewpoint neutral...."); accord Steinburg v. Chesterfield Cnty. Planning Comm'n, 527 F.3d 377, 385 (4th Cir.2008); Eichenlaub v. Twp. of Ind., 385 F.3d 274, 281 (3d Cir. 2004).

        What a city council may not do is, in effect, close an open meeting by declaring that the public has no First Amendment right whatsoever once the public comment period has closed. As we explained in Norwalk, the entire city council meeting held in public is a limited public forum. But the fact that a city may impose reasonable time limitations on speech does not mean it can transform the nature of the forum by doing so, much less extinguish all 976*976 First Amendment rights. A limited public forum is a limited public forum. Perhaps nothing more, but certainly nothing less. The City's theory would turn the entire concept on its head.

        It is the latter action, lamented by the Court, that was taking place at the meeting in the above-referenced video.

        Don't practice. Train.--Brian Harvey

        by luvsathoroughbred on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 10:33:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  dissent is perceived as uncivil (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cory Bantic

        that the 'recipient' of the alleged incivility gets to decide what is civil or uncivil is the heart of the 9th Circuit decision.

        What's legal is not always ethical, or Constitutional. To try to pursuade otherwise is to repudiate Enlightenment ideals of the American Revolution.

        So, the troll in question is a classic Tory, hiding behind what he or she can cite as "the letter of the law"....

        I must quote Dickens, as regards this clumsy and transparently un-American interpretation of the law:

        "'You were present on the occasion…and, indeed, you are the more guilty of the two, in the eye of the law; for the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction.

        "'If the law supposes that,' said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, 'the law is a ass — a idiot. If that's the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience.'"

        citation:

        http://www.texasbar.com/...

        "..rich people (and the) political class..cannot be rich and do politics without us..They have no skills that we depend on; they have no control of anything except through paper. "To keep you is no benefit; to destroy you is no loss." Visceral

        by ozsea1 on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 03:14:56 PM PST

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      •  Doesn't mean they HAVE to (0+ / 0-)

        Nothing there says they HAVE to limit free speech. Better that they don't, IMHO. People seeking to limit freedom will always seek out obscure ways to do so, I guess. Such pro- or anti-free speech behavior helps us sort out who loves freedom and who doesn't, and note that for future reference.

        Wouldn't it be cool to be a teabagger named Balzac?

        by armadillo on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 06:22:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It may be illegal... (7+ / 0-)

      ...in some states to sing "My Pal Foot-Foot" anywhere but in the shower.  

    •  Recced for Shaggs reference (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1

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