Friday, June 27, 2008

American Bar Association Statement on Civil Rights Case

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision on the true meaning of the first amendment in a landmark civil rights case. The American Bar Association agrees that the first amendment should be appropriately limited to protect us from ourselves. Their statement is reproduced below:

The American Bar Association is gratified that the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling in District of Columbia v. The American People recognizes the public interests in regulating speech. However, the ruling also specifically confers a right to speak freely in one's home, provided that it is done in such a manner that the neighbors cannot hear it, be offended by it or otherwise be disturbed. That leaves for further analysis, and appears to support, much of the vast body of regulation that has developed over time based on the needs of those in power to protect themselves from the ill effects of offensive speech in the interest of the public welfare. It leaves the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions the ability to adopt regulations that respond to those legitimate public interests, and retain those already in place. The majority opinion allows limiting the speech that individuals can use in public without appropriate, governmentally approved press credentials, and permits restrictions on dangerous and unusual speech of any kind. It upholds press licensing laws, and restrictions on even permissible speech in sensitive places. This is not a signal to rescind regulation or ignore legitimate restrictions on free speech that are grounded in reason and practicality.
Yeah, that's a joke; the ABA would never say that. Why then, would it say this?

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