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View Diary: SCOTUS OKs Corporate Election(ish) Speech (241 comments)

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  •  Reading Souter's dissent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Trial Lawyer Richard

    I strongly agree with him from a people power persepctive. I would look first at the moving party, The Right to Imprison Doctors and Mothers, Inc. and rule against them. If this were the ACLU or Move On or some other people powered organization, I would rule differently as I am sure Justice Souter would. So, after a careful review of the decision, I am strongly opposed to it.

    •  So some people get free speech rights (0+ / 0-)

      and others don't?  Depending on whether you like what they have to say?!

      •  No (0+ / 0-)

        It's money, not speech.  You could rephrase the question and ask whether some people get more free speech rights than others.  Nothing prevents this folks from advertising in newspapers, doing mailings or handing out leaflets.

        If Hillary Clinton wins, the Democratic Party loses.

        by Paleo on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 11:21:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If that is the case, then the law is simply (0+ / 0-)

          irrational.  If you can spend money on any advertising except TV, then it is irrational.

          I also shudder to think that you are willing to let Coke be less inhibited in advertising its product than a person advertising his political views.  That is simply bizarre.

          •  Rational (0+ / 0-)

            Given the power of the mediums in question, radio and TV, it is quite rational.  To ignore that reality would be irrational.

            If Hillary Clinton wins, the Democratic Party loses.

            by Paleo on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 11:31:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Once again, the purpose behind the (0+ / 0-)

              First Amendment is precisely to allow people to spread their political beliefs as far and wide as they can.  To limit that is antithetical to that.  

              •  Radio and TV (0+ / 0-)

                There are all sorts of restrictions when it comes to radio and TV.  They are owned by the public.  Speech on them is not a right, but a privilege.  Now, if you want to open up the airways so anyone can exercise their right of free speech, I'm with you.  But I doubt that would be practical, or realistic given the profit making ventures involved.

                If Hillary Clinton wins, the Democratic Party loses.

                by Paleo on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 11:40:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  No... the First Amendment was to spread ALL (0+ / 0-)

                speech... it doesn't say "political"... so, we can now abolish hate laws, obscenity laws, and every other law restricting speech... right?

                The "rule of law"; it applies to you and me, but not the rich, the Republican or the celebrity. Welcome to America!

                by MotleyPatriot on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 11:42:05 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't even know what "hate law" is (0+ / 0-)

                  The point is that political speech is at teh very heart of the First Amendment.  To strike at that is to eviscerate the amendment.

                  •  it's right here (0+ / 0-)

                    The law, SB1234, classifies as "hate speech" any public expression that makes certain favored citizens feel "unwelcome" or "intimidated." Anyone found guilty of using such expressions could face six months in prison and a $25,000 fine.

                    California law signed by Arnold... totally restricts the First Amendments rights of a persons "free speech".

                    The "rule of law"; it applies to you and me, but not the rich, the Republican or the celebrity. Welcome to America!

                    by MotleyPatriot on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 11:46:46 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Patently unconstitutional. nt (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Adam B
                      •  Not according to the Supreme Court (0+ / 0-)

                        WASHINGTON--The Supreme Court, rejecting the notion of national laws against "hate crimes," struck down a federal measure Monday that gave battered spouses and victims of rape and other sexual violence a right to sue their attackers.

                        The 5-4 ruling is the latest in which the court's conservative majority has narrowed the federal government's power--including over civil rights.

                        The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 is unconstitutional, the court declared, because the federal government has no right to regulate a private act, such as rape, that is neither part of interstate commerce nor caused by state officials.

                        Congress has no power over "noneconomic, violent criminal conduct" that does not cross state lines, said Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. "The Constitution requires a distinction between what is truly national and what is truly local."

                        The decision throws out a lawsuit brought by a former Virginia Tech student who says that as a university freshman she was raped in a dormitory room by a football star.

                        After Christy Brzonkala reported the incident to school officials, a hearing was held, and the player, Tony Morrison, was suspended. Prior to the fall football season, however, school officials reversed the suspension, and local prosecutors brought no charges in the case. Her lawsuit against the player became a test case of the new law.

                        States can enact hate crime laws, but Rehnquist's reasoning appears to doom national laws targeted at crimes against blacks, gays, Jews, Muslims or ethnic minorities, legal experts agreed.

                        According to the Supreme Court, STATES can enact hate crime laws...

                        The "rule of law"; it applies to you and me, but not the rich, the Republican or the celebrity. Welcome to America!

                        by MotleyPatriot on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 11:54:22 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Not SPEECH laws (0+ / 0-)

                          States cannot enact laws that ban hate speech.  they can enact hate CRIMES laws, but not hate SPEECH laws.

                          •  ummm... (0+ / 0-)

                            if it is signed into law as a crime... then it becomes a hate CRIME ex post facto...

                            The "rule of law"; it applies to you and me, but not the rich, the Republican or the celebrity. Welcome to America!

                            by MotleyPatriot on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 11:58:32 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Huh?! (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Adam B

                            States cannot ban hate speech.  What they can do is enhance the penalty for a regular crime (arson, murder, robbery, tresspass, etc.) where the victim was targted because of his skin, gender, religion, etc.

                            Speech cannot be prohibited.  No matter how hateful.

                          •  Shouting Fire in crowded room.... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            phenry

                            ....can and is barred by statute.  Accusing somebody of having vile transmittable illness can and is barred by statute.  Libel and Slander carry hefty penalties.  The "freedom" of a defense contractor to speak about his project with Al Qaeda is against the law and should be.

                            Many forms of "speech" are statutorily regulated.

                          •  Point being? (0+ / 0-)

                            Of course many forms of speech can be regulated.  But not political speech.  And not speech expressing opinions that someone happens to find hurtful.

                        •  There's a difference between a "hate crime" (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Adam B, Drgrishka1

                          and "hate speech."  Arnold's law is unconstitutional.  For a reference point, see RAV v. City of St. Paul

                          The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. --George Bernard Shaw

                          by Categorically Imperative on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 11:57:51 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  ok... now that I read the opinion... (0+ / 0-)

                            The fact that the opinion states that I can go burn a cross on the yard of a person whose race is different than mine is acceptable as free speech, but, I can't toss out "fighting words", should, in and of itself, be evidence of the pure BS of the opinion.

                            In essence, it is saying, "we can ban anything we want but, we just don't want to ban THAT"...

                            We can ban obscenity (by the opinion) because it is something "traditionally offensive", but, banning another offensive practice just wouldn't do.

                            Thoroughly disagree with that opinion.

                            The "rule of law"; it applies to you and me, but not the rich, the Republican or the celebrity. Welcome to America!

                            by MotleyPatriot on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 12:17:28 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Not exactly (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Drgrishka1

                            The point of the opinion is that you can't ban some fighting words strictly because of their content.  Any ban on fighting words has to be content-neutral.  Thus, bans on hate speech are generally going to be held unconstitutional, unless they are very carefully tailored.  

                            There's no way the law you cited is constitutional.  Even leaving aside its conflict with opinions like RAV and the Skokie Nazi march cases, the incredibly vague nature of that law surely dooms it.  Banning speech based on other people's 'discomfort' is patently unconstitutional.

                            The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. --George Bernard Shaw

                            by Categorically Imperative on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 12:24:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  obviously it isn't... (0+ / 0-)

                            From 1791 to the present, however, our society, like other free but civilized societies, has permitted restrictions upon the content of speech in a few limited areas, which are "of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality." Chaplinsky, supra, at 572. We have recognized that "the freedom of speech" referred to by the First Amendment does not include a freedom to disregard these traditional limitations.

                            It is merely who deems it offensive and who is in charge obviously.

                            The "rule of law"; it applies to you and me, but not the rich, the Republican or the celebrity. Welcome to America!

                            by MotleyPatriot on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 12:27:33 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If by "who is in charge" (0+ / 0-)

                            you mean "overwhelming societal consensus for hundreds of years" then yes.  The fact that something is "traditional" does not make it inherently evil.  

                            In any case, I think there is a wide gulf between the Court's "of such slight social value..." formulation and a law making it illegal to say something that makes someone else uncomfortable.

                            The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. --George Bernard Shaw

                            by Categorically Imperative on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 12:32:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  as I read it... (0+ / 0-)

                            The Court is stating that they believe something as slight as an obscenity that is "traditionally" something society deemed offensive (and remember, we are talking "traditionally" to religious fanatics here) holds more weight on the public at large (who the majority now could give a shit less about) then burning a cross on a yard.

                            The pure BS in this analysis is staggering considering they are also citing "morality".

                            So, it's quite moral to go burn crosses in their opinion????

                            I guess people just aren't going wake up until the women are forced to wear nuns habits like they did in the 1700's... maybe then people will wake up.

                            The "rule of law"; it applies to you and me, but not the rich, the Republican or the celebrity. Welcome to America!

                            by MotleyPatriot on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 12:40:02 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  They're not talking about an obscenity (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Drgrishka1

                            "Obscenity" is a legal term of art for certain kinds of speech that have no artistic, literary, or societal value.  It is allowed to be banned, 1st Amendment notwithstanding.  It's notoriously difficult to draw the line, and the Court generally has erred on the side of caution.

                            Nor does the Court say that burning a cross is moral, or less offensive than obscenity.  The point is that the law that banned cross burning (which is not, as a general rule, constitutionally protected) did so on the basis of the content of the message as distinguished from other types of "fighting words" (which, like obscenity, can also be banned).  The key is that the Court didn't care that the act of cross burning would be bannable if the law had been written properly.  The fact that the law singled out certain speech based on its content doomed the law.

                            The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. --George Bernard Shaw

                            by Categorically Imperative on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 01:02:52 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  the laws and system are designed (0+ / 0-)

                            to fluctuate with society.  If the laws were etched in stone, there would have been no need to have a legislative branch to write new ones or to have a SC to interpret them.

                            Thus, the opinion is going backwards, not forward with society based on notions that were outdated 50 years ago.

                            The "rule of law"; it applies to you and me, but not the rich, the Republican or the celebrity. Welcome to America!

                            by MotleyPatriot on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 01:13:02 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  People not corporations (0+ / 0-)

                Corporations are a legal fiction.  Every member of the Corporate Board, the CEO and the Comptroller all can place whatever ads they want.  The First Amendment was designed for them, not for Halliburton, Bechtel and Smith & Wesson.

      •  People powered progressive speech should be (0+ / 0-)

        protected. NOT bigoted speech. Our airwaves should be like our classrooms, free to educate and progressively inform, not to push ignorance.

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