Thursday, April 26, 2007

We Have Lost Sight of Free Expression

Amendment I

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.

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black once said, "No law means no law."

The words "no law" seem rather straightforward and impossible to confuse, but in the history of the court, only Justice William O. Douglas routinely joined Black in this literal interpretation.

It's easy to defend the speech of those with whom we agree, and it's difficult to defend the speech of those with whom we most vehemently disagree. But this country is far poorer when we fail to do so.

But too often these days, we seem to fail to do so.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

ACLU has been taking so much heat these days just for that one reason--we disagree with everything you say but we'll fight to death for your right to say it?

But where does one draw the line though? I mean, think of ACLU and NAMBLA. If you're advocating civil liberties and free speech, can you pick and choose who you wanna support? In that sense, the KKK's best supporter has to be ACLU.


3:50 AM  
Anonymous Sam said...

This is my almost no justice has supported a "no law" interpretation.

NAMBLA, for example, can advocate relationships with minors. However they cannot incite someone to commit a crime (which such relationships are).

Perhaps the best part is that idiots usually do a good job to discredit themselves. When we lived in Ohio, Klansmen kept wanting to march in Toledo. The best thing to do is to let them march and let everybody see them. Usually this is enough to dissuade would be sympathizers.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Sam said...

That should read:

"This is why almost no justices ..."

10:54 AM  

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