Thursday, January 31, 2008
I would probably have chosen a different example:
"We are the defenders of democracy, the upholders of the Constitution," said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink. "If it weren't for people like the people in Berkeley, standing up for what they believe, we'd be living under Hitler."Who stopped Hitler? Demonstrators? I need to get new history books.
At the debate, local activists and Code Pink members also promoted a proposed initiative for the November elections that would require the center to obtain a special use permit to remain in Berkeley.Why, yes, they are trying to silence the military recruiters, Ms. O'Malley. All of a sudden, that editorial is looking quite prescient.
Now, we do have a City of Berkeley tradition, not mentioned on the K-D site, of hoping to ignore those constitutional law decisions which say that you can't control the content of speech.Since it's the Code Pink folks doing that, though, no need to stop them. Based on the content of speech. O'Malley wanted to tie it into her whining about the Public Commons thingie, but ouch.
It is accepted legal doctrine that some restrictions on the time, place and manner of speech are allowed, of course. If the marines decided to hire a sound truck and cruise the hills in the middle of the night blasting residents out of bed with John Phillip Sousa marches and their recruiting message, they could be stopped in a hot minute.
The more interesting question is what restrictions, if any, could be placed on their current opponents, who favor, shall we say, more colorful and graphic expressions of opinion. If I were their lawyer, I'd enjoy arguing that because they don't have the same grandiose taxpayer-funded budget the marines do, they're forced to make their point in creative ways.I suppose it might be enjoyable to argue that, but I don't think I've ever seen any caselaw which suggests that poor people are exempt from restrictions on annoying speech.
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