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Posts Tagged ‘First Amendment’

Attack on Constitution’s First Amendment

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 21, 2017

The U.S. Constitution is a remarkable document, including the United States’ supreme law. The Constitution initially paved the way for 13 diverse colonies to come together and form a Federation by preserving rights of each colony (state). Its fair and stable legal platform played a huge role in the Country’s success.

Amending the Constitution was purposely made difficult to inhibit changes made on the political whims of populists. Amendments require the calling of a Constitutional Convention or two thirds supermajorities in both houses of Congress. Still, the Constitution has been amended 27 times by Congress, including the pivotal Bill of Rights with its 10 amendments made in 1791.

The First Amendment under the Bill of Rights states:bill-of-rights

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment, free speech has come under attack in recent years through the use of political correctness with its social pressures. More recently, some on the Left have been more transparent in efforts to inhibit speech with increased ferocity since Donald Trump’s election.

This Blogger recently discussed the First Amendment with a slightly left-of-center acquaintance who would curtail speech in the name of public safety. In justifying the control of speech, he used the example of crying fire in a crowded movie theater and its risk of creating injury. He equates this example to those who take an anti-illegal immigrant philosophy in America, believing that it leads to attacks on immigrants or aliens. This author believes the comparison is a canard used to curtail the discussion of disagreeable ideas.

Inhibiting free speech, either through social pressures or the legal system, is a slippery slope traveled in the past. McCarthyism was a hammer used by the Right to inhibit the speech of liberals in the 1950s. A similar tactic is now in vogue by the Left, but for a different political agenda. For those who dare to discuss immigration policy, religion security issues, sexual mores, or social benefits, for example, are microphone labeled bigots, homophobic, Islamaphobic, or as Hillary said, “deplorable”.

The key issue with any attack on free speech should be how do we choose who gets to determine what constitutes calling the fire in a theater? Should the curtailing be to the benefit of ones’ political views, they are more likely to agree with the First Amendment attack. However, sooner or later the opposing side gains power and that is why the slippery-slope should concern all, irrespective of political views.

In a relevant example, a few years ago Harry Reid used the nuclear option in the Senate to allow Democrats to use a simple majority to get Obama appointments approved quickly. Previously this required a 60-vote Senate majority. Reid justified this drastic action claiming the Republicans to be the “party of no”, inferring that the step was required to keep government moving. Obama and fellow Liberals were all too happy to go along, irrespective of future consequences. Now, Trump and the Republicans have the use the nuclear option and the Democrats are screaming.

The Senate’s 60 vote requirement was created to make political appointments bipartisan, not easy. Similar to the Second Amendment, this rule had the long-term good of the Country behind it, with the goal of further legitimizing presidential power. The nuclear option has increased polarization and the divide in the Country and government. Instead of looking to Reid’s or Obama’s role in increasing political divisiveness, Trump is demonized for appointments.

Americans on the Left and Right would do well to look at the Constitution is a set of laws created to protect the long-term interest of all. Those that would mold it to fit their short-term agendas do so at the peril of their own future rights.


Posted in Constitution | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Al Sharpton Comes out in Favor of FCC Sensorship

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 29, 2010

Reverend Al Sharpton is at it again.  This time he wants the FCC to look at licenses of stations that carry Rush Limbaugh.  In Sharpton’s own words posted below, he is protesting the fact that these stations “allow people to say what they want.  We just can’t have that in America!

While the obvious concern is Sharpton’s attack on the First Amendment, it also shows how shallow this man is.  If Sharpton was successful in taking the mike from Limbaugh, is he naïve enough to believe that his own outrageous brand of talk would also not be jeopardized?  He obviously fails to realize that the First Amendment offers greater protection for minorities over the majority.

As distasteful as Al Sharpton’s messages are to many, the First Amendment must always protect his right to spew even idiotic dribble.

ED SCHULTZ: Rev. Al Sharpton is fed up with Rush Limbaugh’s blatant on-air racist remarks over the years. Last week he met with the FCC and asked them to take action, take a stand on Limbaugh.  There will be public meetings.

AL SHARPTON: Well, first of all, we’re not talking about censorship.  We’re talking about standards.  [R-i-i-i-g-h-t.] And there are already standards in place.  We’re saying those standards ought to include those that in an explicit or even an implicit way practice racism or sexism or homophobia on the airwaves.  And can you imagine the arrogance of saying federally-regulated airwaves should not be subjected to federal public hearings, so they should just grant licenses, allow people to say what they want?


Posted in Constitution | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Stephanopoulos Would Trample on First Amendment

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 16, 2010

The Liberal press’s is going from outrageous to bizarre.  While they have been in the tank for Leftist politicians for years, the ascendency of Obama to the Presidency took this love affair to a new level.  However, with the self-destruction going on in the White House, the press has slowing been distancing itself from the President, but not from Progressive politics.

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday took the Progressive slant to a new level when in an interview with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer he asked:

“When you think about the internet and when you think about the possibility that, you know, a pastor in Florida with a flock of 30, can threaten to burn the Koran and that leads to riots and killings in Afghanistan, does that pose a challenge to the First Amendment, to how you interpret it?” he then continued: “Does [the threat of the Koran burning] change the nature of what we can allow and protect?”

What an outrageous proposition.  Let’s start with a member of the press suggesting limits to freedom of speech.  If that isn’t wild enough, Stephanopoulos’s proposition would limit free speech dependent on who you might offend.  Where were Stephanopoulos and company when protestors burned the American flag over the years?

Stephanopoulos, like many Progressives, see the Constitution as a tool to use to further their own political agendas.  This is not only a slippery slope but downright dangerous and more in keeping with Fascist regimes than a free democracy.

Posted in Constitution, Press, Progressives | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »