Dearborn Suspends the First Amendment
The problem and genius of the First Amendment is that it even protects dumbasses and that in defending free speech we sometimes I have to defend efforts at speech that is of truly questionable value.
Dearborn denied a permit Wednesday for Quran-burning Pastor Terry Jones’ planned protest outside the Islamic Center of America on Good Friday.Jones could be arrested if he goes ahead with the protest outside the mosque without a permit, said city spokeswoman Mary Laundroche. She added that the permit had been denied for “public safety reasons.”
The permit denial is just part of the First Amendment problem here. A county prosecutor, citing her fears that the protest will spark a riot, has also filed a petition with the local court to issue an injunction to prevent Jones from protesting. (I always wondered what happens to the lawyers in the bottom third of their class.)
Both of these actions — the permit denial and an injunction, if the court grants it — violate the First Amendment. This is a heckler’s veto. Dearborn and the county prosecutor aren’t saying that Jones will commit any violence. Rather, they expect that the Muslims in Dearborn will be simply unable to control themselves in the face of religious criticism and start a riot.
Right up front, please note that Jones says he’s not going to burn a Koran at this protest; he’s just going to waive signs and make a lot of noise, apparently. His is entirely lawful behavior; it is the anticipated unlawful behavior of Dearborn’s Muslim population that is feared.
This sort of content-based prior restraint is presumptively unconstitutional and has only ever been upheld in seriously limited circumstances (actually, I’m having trouble thinking of one off the top of my head, but I’m sure it’s happened a few times). According to the Supreme Court the Constitution permits this type of prior restraint only where it is both “necessary to serve a compelling state interest” and “narrowly drawn to achieve that end.”
The city and the county prosecutor say that the compelling state interest is public safety and traffic, since they assume that the local Muslims will start a riot in the face of religious criticism from Koran-burner Jones. They’ve also offered to let Jones speak in a “free speech zone” at City Hall.
Assuming that public safety and traffic concerns are more than just mere state interests, but compelling state interests (traffic flow? really?), denying Jones’ permit to protest in the traditional public forum (a sidewalk) across the street from the Islamic center is in no way narrowly drawn because it isn’t Jones’ entirely lawful speech, but the entirely speculative unlawful activity of others that are actually prompting concerns for safety and traffic. Both could also be addressed by increasing police presence and, you know, actually enforcing traffic and public safety laws.
But since that is too much trouble, they have apparently suspended the First Amendment in Dearborn. I also can’t help but wonder if this is a simple attempt to suppress the speech of a despicable guy like Jones masquerading as “public safety” concerns.
the best comments I found,`~~
When Muslims’ sensibilities might be offended and their feelings hurt, there seems to be no problem interpreting the law so as to provide for squelching these religious wackos from expressing themselves. OK, I get it, I guess.
Interesting, however, that when religious wackos decide to disrupt a military hero’s funeral, a bereaved family and friends must all swallow their misery and suppress whatever feelings THEY might have, so as to accomodate the wack-jobs right of self-expression.
This interpretation of the law could conceivably be interpreted as Dhimmitude, or at best, kowtowing and catering to a politically correct group.
Apparently the government realizes that law-abiding men and women such as make up a military funeral won’t go insane and start butchering people over such a loathsome offense, whereas the vacuous, pre-pubescent mindset of the average Middle Eastern muslim renders him or her incapable of controlling their penchant for savagery.
Yep, that’s what it is. Our local Govs are well trained aren’t they?
Posted by: Oldsailor’s poet at April 21, 2011 02:13 PM (cDRYC)
It’s only a short matter of time until Terry Jones is charged with a Hate Crime every time he speaks out against Islam.
“”Jones puts the conflict between western values of free speech and the barbarian values of murder-anyone-who-doesn’t-exhibit-complete-reverence-for-my-sacred-shit front and center. If it causes some of the public to turn off American Idol and start asking uncomfortable questions, that’s a good thing.””
Fuck yeah. Although my dark side wishes he would just get the frigging holy war started, so we can end this shit once and for all.
I love how Muslims are held to a lower standard of behaviour than the rest of us.
Will he burn a Koran? Will his protest signs have pictures of Mohammad on them? “The Muslims will riot so this must not go on,” they cry…
Eventually girls can’t walk around like uncovered slabs of meat in front of the starving dogs and it goes on and on.
And you’re a better person for me for praying for Dearborn. I had relatives that lived there. I wouldn’t cry if the place was annihilated
Dearborn officials said Jones can still demonstrate at one of two “free speech zones,” including City Hall. Before denying the permit, city officials expressed concern about public safety, traffic and disruptions to nearby churches.
I was under the silly impression that virtually all of America is a “free speech zone”…
What if Terry Jones had planned to hold an anti-war protest outside a recruitment center in Dearborn? Would the permit for that have been denied on such shaky grounds?
last minute update, now the shakedown/free speech payment…..didnt know we had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in the united states to exersize our free speech rights, apparently there’s a fee…
Pastor Jones resisting shake-down in Dearborn
Terry Jones, Qur’an-burning pastor from Florida, is planning a small demonstration on Friday close to Dearborn, Michigan, at a local Islamic centre, (billed as the largest mosque in North America.) The police and mayor have told Jones to pay protection money if he and his companions want to save themselves from a possible riot and physical violence agianst them. Jones claims the city is demanding $100,000.00, a bond, according to the press, or protection money, as it’s called in the neighbourhood where I live. Jones is refusing the shake-down, and now heads to court to have a jury settle the issue of whether Jones et al will be arrested for exercising their rights to free speech in America.
Is Jones causing a likely riot, as the police and mayor of Dearborn argue? Is his demonstration an act of provocation that will lead to violence that he should be held responsible for, and in fact must pay good money to save himself from? Maybe anyone who threatens violence from now on is given free rein to stop anything they dislike the sound of. Why not? Threaten to have a riot if Catholics go to church. Threaten violence in the pots-smokers have another party across the street. Threaten violence against your mother-in-law, and the police will demand she pay for protect– wait. I didn’t mean mother-in-law. You know what I mean.
Where does the extortion and intimidation end? Mulberry and Broome, right? At Umberto’s Clam House. Last time I was there, a clot of shark-skin suited toughs hung around the doorway while the place filled up with mafiosi. That’s where the extortion and intimidation ends. It’s gangster land. It’s no better if Muslims do it.
Oralandar Brand-Williams, “Friday trial will decide if pastor can protest at Dearborn mosque,” The Detroit News. 21 April 2011
Dearborn— A seven-person jury on Friday will decide whether a Quran-burning pastor can legally carry out plans that day to protest at the Islamic Center of America mosque.
Florida Pastor Terry Jones expressed frustration over the prospect this afternoon, telling 19th District Judge Mark Somers that “it will be a problem” if the trial stretches on so long that he can’t carry out the 5 p.m. demonstration against radical Islam.
Somers impaneled the jury of four woman and three men from a pool of 30 this afternoon after ruling that Jones’ protest could endanger the public and would have to pay an unspecified peace bond to demonstrate on a small median outside the Ford Road mosque.
Jones refused to pay the bond and opted for the trial, which initially was believed to occur this afternoon.
The ruling puts into question Jones’ demonstration, which has sparked arguments about the line between free speech and public safety. Prosecutors have sought the unspecified bond — Jones said it was up to $100,000 — for extra police in fear of a riot.
The hearing comes a day after Dearborn city officials denied Jones a permit to protest on public land near the mosque citing public safety concerns. They say he could face arrest if he carries through the protest. Before the hearing, Jones — who wore a leather jacket and jeans — said he planned to proceed with the demonstration despite the permitting issues or peace bond.
“This will not stop us,” Jones said before the hearing that began at 3 p.m.
If the police figure it’s too much trouble to prevent thugs from terrorising the citizens of this nation, then it will be time for the citizens of the nation to defend themselves, which iw what Jones seems to be planning. He’s going to pack a gun. Good on him.
Thanks to Jihad Watch and Stand Up For America for the tips here.