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Criminalizing Speech June 28, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics, US Politics.
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COURT TURNS THE TABLES ON THE CENSORS

FITSNews – June 28, 2007 – To hear S.C. Rep. Bill Cotty and the editorial board over at The State newspaper (a.k.a. La Socialista) tell it, anybody who doesn’t subscribe to their narrow way of thinking ought to be thrown in jail. Both Cotty and the liberal La Socialista editors went through barrels of ink in recent years demonizing political speech and accusing those who dared to utter it of breaking the law.

Well, it turns out they were wrong. The people who were actually violating our laws – our Constitution, in fact – were Cotty and those of his ilk who sought to illegally suppress our First Amendment freedoms by imposing unconstitutional government regulations.

With the Supreme Court decisively upholding political speech as an essential pillar of our democracy in its recent FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life ruling, the suppression of issue ads and other political speech in the days leading up to an election is now undeniably unconstitutional.

“Discussion of issues cannot be suppressed simply because the issues may also be pertinent in an election,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in issuing the Court’s majority opinion. “Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor.”

The Court’s ruling is a monumental leap forward for our individual liberties. But it’s also a compelling victory for the distinctly American notion of a “Marketplace of Ideas,” an open and unregulated exchange of divergent viewpoints and opinions that forms the basis of democracy as we know it.

As former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote nearly eighty years ago, “the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.”

We’ve been critical on this blog both of Cotty’s perspective and of the frequently amatuerish tactics of groups like South Carolinians for Responsible Government who oppose him, but both sides of this debate have every right to compete in the Holmesian marketplace of ideas – and to do so free from government censorship.

Cotty and his “thought police” would be wise to remember that the next time they seek to criminalize one of the fundamental building blocks of American freedom.

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Comments»

1. b/e/l/i/e/v/e/i/t/n/o/t/n/e/w/s - June 28, 2007

Crackspots who have been in big trouble:
Rush L.- drugs and fired by pro football for racist remarks
Bill O. – sexual harassment – he paid her off for the tapes
Will Folks – DUI, CDV and fired by the governor – what next?

Will, do you have a TRav problem? Just wondering because reliable sources have told us the authorities may not be through looking into things. After all, you are “good friends” and he is a “former client” – well sort of by proxy. And you do lose your temper so easily.

2. Newspaper Hack - June 29, 2007

Seriously – The State isn’t even close to being liberal, much less socialist. But, given the internecine junior high behavior of S.C. conservatives (eg. “You’re not a Republican!” “No, you’re not a Republican!” “Doody head!”), I shouldn’t be surprised by this classification.

And while you’re fellating the Court on this ruling, don’t forget they ruled with the censors on “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.” Because, if satire is allowed in the public schools, the terrorists win.

3. FITSNews - June 30, 2007

NH-

Although we found our clarity awhile back, far be it from us to deny bong hits to anybody – Jesus included. We thought the court’s ruling was wrong on that case, but let’s keep our eyes on the prize. Losing that was like giving up a field goal when you’re up by ten touchdowns.

-FITSNews

4. Newspaper Hack - June 30, 2007

Touche, sir.

5. upstater - June 30, 2007

I want to make sure I understand the significance of this ruling. Maybe I’m off-base, and if so then I’d like to know, but I thought the SC Ethics Commission stance regarding SCRG was that they had to reveal the names of donors to come under the proper rules for political ads or campaign mail. Does the Supreme Court ruling actually deal with such rules? Or are we talking about two different things?

Again, I may not have all the facts squared away on this one, but I’m not entirely sure either that this ruling has much to do with the SCRG business.

6. upstater - July 1, 2007

Will? Any help with this?

Does the Supreme Court ruling speak to the SCRG situation or not? Was Bill Cotty or the SC Ethics Commission in violation of the Constitution?

7. upstater - July 3, 2007

Will?

Your words about all this were pretty strong….I’m just trying to get a little more background to flesh this whole issue out. Any help? SCRG was asked to provide a donor list or somesuch, right? Does that have anything to do with the Supreme Court ruling?


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