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Soon to be banned in Tennessee?
A Republican bill to criminalize union picketing has been moving through the Tennessee state House, with a committee vote coming up soon. But it may be running into a snag: Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper says the bill violates the First Amendment.
“HB1688 presents a content-based restriction upon speech. It would criminalize ‘any form of mass picketing activity in the context of a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute’,” the opinion says.

It notes the bill "includes labor-dispute-specific proscriptions on conduct that do not apply in non-labor contexts. Furthermore, the injunction provision of HB1688… would establish a different standard for business and private-property owners who are the targets of labor-related mass picketing.”

The question, of course, is whether likely unconstitutionality is enough of a reason for Tennessee Republicans to back off of limiting speech because they don't like who's speaking or what they're saying. An early response from state Rep. Jeremy Durham, the bill's sponsor, suggests he's not backing down without a fight.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 02:10 PM PDT.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks, Nashville KosKats, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting development. (12+ / 0-)

    Should the bill pass and the governor sign it, the AG is bound by oath to defend it should it be challenged in court (that'll take about 30 seconds from the first arrest).

    Wonder what Mr. Cooper will do then.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 02:21:30 PM PDT

  •  Union Picketing (15+ / 0-)

    The very idea that the Tennessee legislature would even consider such a bill says volumes about Republicans, not only in Tennessee, but those in the entire country. The lack of empathy and humanity expressed by these creatures of the night is nothing less than astounding. How anyone with any sense of decency who's not a raving psychotic can vote for people is beyond me. Are the majority of voters in Tennessee this out of touch or that vile or crazy?

    •  My daughter lives in Tennessee (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deeliberate

      And I really like the people around her town, but when looking for the sharpest pencil in the backpack, the closest even moderately sharp one is in Virginia, 30 miles away.

      Now, she was educated in the North, and isn't one of the dull ones, but she chooses to live amongst them.  Sadly, her uncle is a retired schoolteacher, former coach of the Tennessee state champion HS basketball team and a Faux Noise fan.

  •  Thanks for following up (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MartyM, elwior, thanatokephaloides

    on this story. During the first diary on this proposed law, several Kos commentors thought the law sounded fine, to my dismay.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 06:44:48 PM PDT

  •  When it goes through the courts and gets (9+ / 0-)

    struck down, staple the legal costs to the foreheads of TN Republicans.
    If the Dems were diligent and insistent about making the gop own the costs of the various idiot bills they pass, we'd be looking at a nationwide Dem majority this year.
    It's a no-brainer.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 08:24:33 PM PDT

    •  Soon, you'll see this before red State (9+ / 0-)

      legislatures across the nation. They don't care if other states strike it down, any more than they care about holding Obamacare repeal votes every Tuesday before Happy Hour. It's all about recalcitrance and resisting "Socialism" to "restore America" to its biblical roots.

      Welcome to the new normal. Few here will agree with me, but a logical upcoming waypoint along this path is a Statewide referendum in a red state for succession that passes. It will force an armed standoff between the feds and at least one state. Many here just refuse to understand these people are this far gone. I'm here to tell you they are.

      I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

      by pajoly on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 08:35:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They are this far gone, but in reality they're a (9+ / 0-)

        minority, that has effectively leveraged its power by turning out the vote reliably,  and they can't legally secede. They can create a lot of problems, but there's a point where that's going to create a lot of problems for business, etc. and then they're going to be very  unpopular.

        Really, if Dems just showed up at about 70% on a consistent and reliable basis, we would eventually send these people into the dustbin of history.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 08:49:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No one said anything about succession being legal (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, jedennis, thanatokephaloides

          These people repeatedly forward bills they know will not stand up in the courts -- yet (they are still busy trying to stack the courts just as they have done to school boards and state houses).

          On your final point, that's definitely true.

          I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

          by pajoly on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 04:15:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We definitely have work to do, even if we were to (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, pajoly, thanatokephaloides

            win the House back and keep the Senate, and have another 8 years with a Dem President, of "retiring" all the kooks and "unfit to serve" in the judiciary as well as the armed services that came in since Bush was elected.

            You can't make this stuff up.

            by David54 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:32:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  spot on (3+ / 0-)

              Especially the military angle. As a vet, I should have pointed that out too. Really scary stuff giving religious extremists the fire power of a global superpower. That part of the the Dominionists long term infiltration of power plans freaks me out the most. Lots of nuts wearing bars and clusters, and a few with stars. It is not hard to imagine them conspiring "for Christ," in fact, I am certain some are.

              I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

              by pajoly on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:12:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is the unspoken horror of our time. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                David54

                The Dominionists have just about co-opted the Air Force.  The Army and Marines aren't too far behind.  I have little doubt that if push comes to shove these traitors will side with the secessionists.  We may have already lost the war without fighting a single battle.

                You will note that the Bill of Rights is now apparently a Bill of Concerns. Charles Pierce, Esquire Magazine Feb 2014

                by spritegeezer on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 12:39:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The indoctrinating of American Exceptionalism (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dave925

                  has led to a host of dangerous side effects, not the least of which is the ridiculous notion that such things cannot here in the good ol' U.S.of A. There is even a large percentage of progressives foolish enough to think this way. The fallacy of such thought is that it pretends that American human beings are not, well, human beings. The good people off Germany circa 1936 were no more or less decent folk than any population today, including our own. The kindest, most gentle soul can be brainwashed into support of genocide and all sorts of evil, and even all the while feel completely righteous about it and still loving and kind to his/her "own" kind.

                  We are on the path. and no amount of scolding from some here that such a thing is just silly is not only naive, but is childishly ignorant of history.

                  We are not special.

                  I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

                  by pajoly on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 01:36:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I Hope You Are Wrong (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dave925

              About the military. America has been blessed with a strictly non political Military almost from the beginning. Washington was lobbied by his commanders to just take over but the measure of the greatness of the man is that he told them NO in no uncertain terms. He could have made himself King George Washington the First. My own knowledge from the past is that the Air Force has more than it's share of liberal thinkers than the other branches with the Navy edging out the Army towards the conservative side. One thing that has always been beyond the pale is politicking while in a position of leadership in our military. More than a few generals have been forced out; MacArthur comes to mind. I certainly hope this proud tradition hasn't become stained. If it is so then we really are doomed to becoming the world's biggest Banana Republic. All over but the shouting. No need for this forum. The Police are a different story; They are becoming more & more Militarized & Right Wing. Lots of full auto assault rifles & surplus armored Humvees (helicopters too when they can afford em). Harder & harder to find a liberal Cop on any force; They just don't seem to get hired.

      •  I am not the "internet grammar or spelling (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thanatokephaloides, Arkenstark

        police" by any means, so no offense intended, but am I assume you meant "secession"?

        If not, I apologize and will re-read.

      •  Secession seems a little far-fetched. (0+ / 0-)

        But there can be no doubt that Republican legislators are SERIOUS about suppressing unions. And one day soon we may wake up & discover that we can no longer count on the courts as a backstop against laws that blatantly violate our fundamental rights.

    •  Easier said than done. (0+ / 0-)
      If the Dems were diligent and insistent about making the gop own the costs of the various idiot bills they pass,
      Democrats can no longer win statewide elections in Tennessee, & they have zero influence in the state legislature. All the diligence in the world doesn't count for a thing when Democrats have no power.
  •  First amendment 'NO!' Second amendment 'YES!' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    spritegeezer

    Tennessee lawmakers appear to be freedom hating nincompoops with guns to back up their prejudices against the working class.

    Their conception of liberty is one amendment shy of a full bill of rights.

     

    "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness," Allen Ginsberg

    by Hermenutic on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 11:32:20 AM PDT

  •  There's really only ONE piece ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... of the Constitution that these Tea-Baggers REALLY like, and it's the second half of the Second Amendment (... the right of Americans to own firearms shall not be abridged.)  The rest of the Constitution, including the FIRST part of the 2nd Amendment (A well-regulated militia being necessary ...), is apparently just so much blather, as far as they're concerned.

    OF COURSE the New Right is wrong - but that doesn't make WRONG the new RIGHT!

    by mstaggerlee on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 01:09:38 PM PDT

  •  Rules (0+ / 0-)

    We don't need no stinking rules about the rule of law.

    We're lawmakers from Tenn., you know, Morons.

  •  Unfortunately.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arkenstark

    conservatives think that the First Amendment and the entire Bill of Rights only applies to them and their views and not to anyone they disagree with.

    •  Witness (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925

      Cristie ordering people who disagree out of 'His' Town Hall Meetings & McConnell having security eject an 'uppity' reporter who dared to ask him hard questions on threat of being arrested. Those Fascist Creeps more than prove the point. Fact is they don't believe in the country; Not fit to call themselves Americans.

  •  Republicans write stupid bills (0+ / 0-)

    It really doesn't matter what level of government that Republicans are submitting their ridiculous bills into the system because their goal is to have them challenged in court. It's all part of their plan to obstruct with no solutions. We must remember that they are the party of the rich and smaller and smaller government and their goal is to fuck up government. In their minds it's power to the fucking rich!

  •  TN did the same thing with horse slaughter (0+ / 0-)

    This is the 2nd time I have seen TN step up and refuse to deal with a scam from extremists.

    Previously, the horse slaughter tax scam was being pushed into TN by a state rep named Andy Holt. TN literally refused to bother with the question of horse slaughter at all. Other states have allowed the fight to go on. TN refused to even have the argument at all.

    TN has Corker and yet, TN appears to be wedded to the usual processes which have been established by law. TN appears to rely on precedent. That is how things are done when law is abided by.

    Other states have allowed extremists to run over law, like Ohio. Our AG is Mike DeWine who has little credibility with Ohioans or any observers from out of state. I have emails from his office which show little familiarity with proper use of English, which surprised me at the time. Law and education in Ohio is not a priority with our tea party GOP members and it shows with these GOP office occupants we currently have, installed by outside money and gerrymandering.

    If the tea party GOP represented TN, wouldn't they have a similar situation? It leads to a casual conclusion that TN is not in line with their tea party GOP extremists. Corker humiliated himself with his typical tea party GOP anti-worker, anti-union behaviors. It looks like a split in state governance in TN. In Ohio, a violation of the 1st amendment would not matter to any of our extremists. These extremist office occupants would actually welcome that.

    This is interesting in this regard: southern states are portrayed in media as extremist. Yet Ohio, a northern state, has far worse conditions re law.

    Perceptions matter when business looks at investment--is the state stable enough to encourage investment? The effect of having high profile extremists in office discourages business investment due to chaos caused by these same extremists. This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of jobs and state economies. If law is accepted and abided by, investors feel more assurance spending their money there. In general, returns on investment are more predictable.

    This is exactly how having these fringe GOP extremists installed in office costs everyone. What business would be attracted to a state in chaos? Only the worst. In Ohio, costs for everything is skyrocketing. That is the result of having extremists--jobs pay almost nothing and yet our basic needs are now approaching an out of reach cost level. Poverty hit us when Kasich & crew appeared and we are not recovering. TN seems to be more law abiding and therefore, should see more job retention since it appears to be more stable.

    This is exactly why law matters so much for intelligent investing. With an AG who is refusing a violation of law, confidence in precedent encourages some faith in the state government. While business may not care about free speech, it will care about law not being challenged in frivolous ways. State officials are not just animated decorations for ribbon cutting ceremonies.

  •  I Find It Odd (0+ / 0-)

    that conservatives want to criminalize the U.S. Constitution.

  •  Tennessee lawmakers and freedom. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catilinus, Dave925

    I live in Tennessee but am out of here in a couple months.  Memphis is the only blue spot in the state.  Republicans think the damn government needs to keep out of the good law abiding citizens lives.  Those damn feds are always trying to impose their will.  We have just had a new law move through the legislature that allows the state, from our capital of Nashville (see Red, very Red), to decide which charter schools we will pay for in our county school system.  It has always been a local decision. Not now.
    Small government?  At least in Florida I can work in
    swing districts and have some effect.

  •  Nothing like having working people by the balls (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    already, then take away the clout that unions might give them and really put on the squeeze. This attempt to destroy unions has been going on since conservatives met in think tanks and closed rooms for decades now and plotted how to destroy any and all power that Democrats have championed since the thirties.

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 07:39:13 PM PDT

    •  And it's a fight that they're winning. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wildthumb

      They intend to strip working people of what little power they have, every legal protection they have, & all the economic security they have. It's about, you know, the dignity of work.

      But facts are facts: the Republican Party is the party of the white working class. It's become far & away their most reliable voting bloc.

      •  Yep. The left lost the white working class (0+ / 0-)

        starting in the sixties. Remember the hard hats attacking the Viet Nam protestors?

        "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

        by Wildthumb on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 10:41:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Amazing that 2nd amendment "rights" (0+ / 0-)

    seem to trump 1st amendment rights.  That is, how is is that the same people who purport that the 2nd amendment should not be regulated in any way shape or form also believe that the 1st amendment can and should be regulated.

  •  Rethugs Hate the Constitution So They Pass Laws (0+ / 0-)

    that are clearly UNConstitutional and waste money trying to defend the indefensible in court.  When that fails, they simply repeat the process over and over wasting tons of taxpayer dollars.

    Talk about STUPID -- conservative assholes and bigots named their political party correctly.

    (Conservative, fascist assholes and their half-assed NeoNazi, Ku Klux Kristian,  Confederate, John Bircher, secessionist, teabagger values, beliefs, and politics don't belong in this country -- the only freedom conservatives believe in is the freedom to dictate to others what they can't do.)

  •  Repub guide to the Constitution. (0+ / 0-)

    What ever the Republicans like is constitutional.
    What ever they detest in unconstitutional.

    Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

    by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 07:18:57 AM PDT

  •  And once again, we find ourselves debating... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shmuelman, reasonshouldrule

    what we thought it was a settled issue decades ago.

    Evolution, Contraceptives, The right to strike, Voting Rights, the list never ends. Is there anything good that was done during the 20th century that the GOP will not try to destroy?

    Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

    by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 07:22:59 AM PDT

  •  If those proles want free speech rights (0+ / 0-)

    they need to form a corporation and start being real people.  

    The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

    by Beelzebud on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 08:08:31 AM PDT

  •  Ten bucks says this isn't the original bill, (0+ / 0-)

    but that it was revised to protect abortion and tea party protests.

    The first version was probably much more sweeping, but then a dim lightbulb came on over someone's head.

    Now that it's become content-specific, it's doomed, but it'll become part of someone's campaign speech (or plea for donations).

    Yet again the Republican supermajority in Tennessee shows its love for grandstanding.

    People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them. --Eric Hoffer

    by fiddler crabby on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 08:41:05 AM PDT

  •  Duh... First Amendment rights, anybody? (0+ / 0-)

    For the patriotic, Christian party that claims to support following the U.S. Constitution to the letter, the Republicans sure are doing their best to ignore, bypass, curtail or outright abolish those sections of the Bill of Rights pertaining to any person, action or law with which they disagree. Our rights to freedom of speech and assembly are two of the cornerstones of the Bill of Rights, and those rights should be protected and preserved at all costs.

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