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DO I HAVE A CASE?

Currently Viewing Posts Tagged freedom of speech

A Presidential Restaurant Stop

It is a Supreme Court case pitting the question of freedom of speech versus a question of safety for the President styled Wood v. Moss  (Washington Post) The losing party’s spokesman voiced the following response to the Court’s opinion, “No one disputes that the Secret Service has an overriding interest in protecting the president, but that does not include the right to shield the president from criticism,”  Does that tell you how the Court ruled 9-0?

As summarized in the case review from my VTLA eBlast, “The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit filed against several Secret Service agents accused of treating critics of President George W. Bush differently than his supporters. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that ‘the agents were immune from a lawsuit because they had good reason to move the protesters farther away when the president decided to dine on a patio after a 2004 campaign event in Jacksonville, Ore.’.”

In October 2004, during a campaign trail appearance in Oregon, President Bush decided to make an impromptu stop at a local restaurant. About 15 minutes after the President was seated, a noisy protest began. Soon, the anti-Bush crowd was moved away by the Secret Service. Those who were deemed as supporters of the President were not asked to move.

Seven protestors filed suit against the Secret Service agents who were responsible for moving them. They were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleging that because they were treated differently from the other pro-Bush demonstrators, that their right to free speech had been violated.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the opinion for the unanimous decision, noting that there was no precedent that says that Secret Service agents in a crowd control situation, have a First Amendment obligation to ensure that different viewpoints be kept at comparable distances. As Justice Ginsburg noted, “Nor would the maintenance of equal access make sense in the situation the agents confronted”.

The opinion of the Court also noted that the pro-Bush supporters could not have endangered the President when looking at their location from maps and diagrams. However, the protesters “were within weapons range, and had a largely unobstructed view of the President’s location”.  Thus, the Court’s finding of immunity for the agents.

DID YOU KNOW that a British man legally changed his name to Tim Pppppppppprice, to make it harder for bothersome telemarketers to pronounce? I guess just not answering the phone was not an option.

And for pic o’ day, a funny slant on the Chuck Norris humor:

Cat Norris

Bible Verses for Cheerleaders

Here is a story from Utah’s Deseret News with an unusual combination. It is a pairing of cheerleaders and Bible verses. Plus, the cheerleaders won.

cheerleaders

A Texas judge has ruled that Kountze High School cheerleaders were not violating the Constitution by displaying spirit banners at football games, that included Bible verses. This ruling occurred after an attorney on behalf of an Atheist group had filed a complaint that originally started the court case.

Judge Steven Thomas ruled that the school district can permit the banners under the establishement clause, but it is not required to do so. The judge left a crack in the door for additional argument after stating that there was still a basis for the school board to exercise editorial control over such displays as banners.

Those responding on behalf of the cheerleaders are calling it a victory because the banners remain displayed. Their attorney added that, “The message that this decision sends is, it is impermissible for the government to ban the private speech of students”.

The opponents of the decision continue to argue that, “In our opinion, this court just said that Christianity is an official school religion”. They also indicate that they may look to Federal Court for relief. For now, the fifteen banner-hanging cheerleaders are the winners.

One final note unrelated to the blog subject; I truly got to celebrate Mother’s Day. I was so fortunate to spend Saturday with my mother and then Sunday with my mother-in-law. As the old proverb/saying says, “A mother understands what a child does not say”.

And for pic o’ day, I am posting one from my Mom… one from the country!

city dog

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