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Showing posts with label Free Speech. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Free Speech. Show all posts

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Free Speech and Clinic Safety

Noah Feldman from Bloomberg breaks down the recent SCOTUS decision which allows anti-abortion activists inside the buffer zones that clinics have created in front of their buildings for safety. He notes that a first glance might reveal a big victory for abortion foes. Yet, a closer examination reveals much more.

The crucial element in the opinion — the element that got the liberals on board and enraged the conservatives — is that Roberts said the law was neutral with respect to the content of speech as well as the viewpoint of the speakers. That conclusion protected the possibility of other laws protecting women seeking abortions that pay more attention to what Roberts said was missing here, namely proof that the law was narrowly tailored.

What would be a real world example?

Consider a law banning sound trucks blaring on your street at night. It would probably be constitutional, because the government has a significant interest in citizens’ sleep, and there would be plenty of other times for sound trucks to operate, leaving ample alternatives for communication. It is this standard that Roberts applied to the buffer zone — and that will therefore be applied to other, similar buffer laws in the future.

Essentially, the details of the ruling give fair warning to abortion foes who may be emboldened to shout or threaten clinic patrons. The constitutionality of a ban or a buffer zone is still there because (surprise!) the freedom of speech is not unlimited.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tough One

The Supreme Court has a tough one in front of it with this case. Does free speech trump possible physical danger?

A couple of mornings a week, Eleanor McCullen stakes out a spot outside the Planned Parenthood clinic here and tries to persuade women on their way in to think twice before having an abortion. But she has to watch her step. If she crosses a painted yellow semicircle outside the clinic’s entrance, she commits a crime under a 2007 Massachusetts law. Early last Wednesday, bundled up against the 7-degree cold, Ms. McCullen said she found the line to be intimidating, frustrating and a violation of her First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday in her challenge to the law.

Yet...

The state’s attorney general, Martha Coakley, who is the lead defendant in the suit, said the 35-foot buffer zone created by the 2007 law was a necessary response to an ugly history of harassment and violence at abortion clinics in Massachusetts, including a shooting rampage at two facilities in 1994.

It's going to be interesting what SCOTUS has to say about this. My first reaction is what difference does a few feet make? Is there some sort of Pavlovian response to having a line drawn the prevents people from committing violence? Before reading their opinions, I say that Ms. McCullen's right to free speech is being violated. It's a public street. People can say whatever they want. If you are tough enough to go get an abortion, you can withstand an extra few seconds of conversation.

Or maybe you shouldn't have been a moron in the first place and used birth control more effectively.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

If you want people to respect your ideas, get better ideas.

Every so often, Kirk Cameron pops up from the "Where are they now?" category and makes derogatory comments about homosexuals. He did this again recently, calling homosexuality "unnatural and detrimental to civilization." With the RushSlut Flap in full swing, he got a little extra attention and, as most right wingers do, played the victim card in the EXACT same way in they bitch about and foam at the mouth.

I should be able to express moral views on social issues, especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years — without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach ‘tolerance’ that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I’m in the public square. 

Ironic that the "underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years" also includes the fear, anger, hate, and ignorance of a male dominated religious and moral system but let's set that aside for a moment and focus on the free speech side of his comment because I get the same rip about tolerance.John Scalzi sums it up quite well.

Well, Kirk Cameron, here’s the thing. You are correct when you say you should be able to express your moral views on social issues, and as a staunch defender of the First Amendment, I will defend to the death your right to say whatever ridiculous, ignorant and bigoted thing that has been fermenting in that cracked clay pot you call a brain pan. But the First Amendment also means that when you say such things, other people have the a right to mock you and the silly, stupid words that have dribbled out of your skull through that word hole above your chin. If you call someone “unnatural,” they might call you an “asshole.” That’s the deal.

To put it another way: The First Amendment guarantees a right to speech. It does not guarantee a right to respect. As I am fond of saying, if you want people to respect your ideas, get better ideas. 

Amen. 

If you are going to run your mouth and be an intolerant d bag, then don't whine about a word sack of hammers busting you across the chops, bitch.

Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.