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Free Speech Zones - Unconstitutional?  
User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3861 posts, RR: 34
Posted (11 years 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1450 times:

This article was posted (by me) in a different thread about Jessica Lynch. I'm reposting it here because to continue discussing it in the other thread would be off topic.

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War protester subpoenas top Bush officials for upcoming trial Friday, November 7, 2003

A man charged with entering a restricted area during an October 2002 presidential visit has subpoenaed U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Bush political adviser Karl Rove to testify at his trial next week.

Activist Brett Bursey, 55, said Thursday the men's testimony would show that the Bush administration tries to "sanitize" areas of dissent around the president during visits across the country.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Barton, who is handling the case, did not immediately return a telephone call. White House spokesman Taylor Gross said Rove had not been served with the subpoena and declined further comment. The trial is set for Wednesday.

Bursey originally was charged by local authorities with trespassing when he refused to move to a "free-speech zone" at the Columbia airport. That charge was dropped, but the Justice Department decided to prosecute Bursey five months later under a statute that allows the U.S. Secret Service to restrict access to areas during the president's travels. He faces up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted.

"We intend to find out from Mr. Ashcroft why and how the decision to prosecute Mr. Bursey was reached," said Lewis Pitts, Bursey's lawyer.

Bursey has said he was arrested because he was carrying a sign that read "No War for Oil" and contends others with pro-Bush placards were allowed to stay in the area.

The U.S. attorney's office has said Bursey was arrested not for what his sign said but for where he was carrying it.

Bursey, who began protesting war and inequities in the 1960s, attached $400 checks to the subpoenas for fees and mileage.

source

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My comment from the other thread was "So I guess the freedoms we as Americans have now only apply in designated free speech zones?"

Cfalk responded:

No, just the opposite. There are certain places where excersising your free speech rights is simply not appropriate. Like a hospital.

I worked for a hospital for 5 years and was even a patient there once, but you'd better believe I excercised my right to free speech both as an employee and a patient, so maybe that's not the best example.

I don't really think it was "appropriate" for Fred Phelps (godhatesfags.com) to picket Matthew Shepherd's funeral, but it was obviously legal for him to do so because that's what he did.

At any rate, this was not one of those places. It was entirely appropriate for this man to be there considering everyday citizens who were Bush supporters were allowed to stay in the area. He was doing the same thing that everyone else was doing. Yelling and waving signs. The difference was the other people were yelling (cheering) good things and waving supportive signs. He wasn't.

Cfalk:

In this case he tresspassed into a secured area. There is nothing unusual about secured areas. Secured areas are just that - places that are supposed to be secure in that the VIPs and their security agenets can relax a little bit in order to prepare for the next event (speech, whatever).

That's all well and good, but the secured area he was asked to leave wasn't for VIP's and their agents. It was for anyone -- everyday citizens -- just as long as they were Bush supporters. In other words Bursey didn't trespass - his sign did. This is from another article about the same incident:

Brett Bursey, of South Carolina, attended a speech given by the president at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. He was standing among thousands of other citizens. Bursey held up a sign stating: "No more war for oil."

Bursey did not pose a threat to the president, nor was he located in an area restricted to official personnel. Bursey wasn't blocking a corridor the Secret Service needed to keep clear for security reasons. He was standing among citizens who were enthusiastically greeting Bush. Bursey, however, was the only one holding an anti-Bush sign.

He was ordered to put down his sign or move to a designated protest site more than half a mile away, outside the sight and hearing of the president. Bursey refused. He was then arrested and charged with trespassing by the South Carolina police.

source

Cfalk:

A toilet can also be a secured area. Or do you defend this idiot's "right" to barge in on someone taking a piss?

I don't particulary like someone standing right next to me while I'm taking a leak at the urinal, but If I'm in a PUBLIC airport restroom taking a leak I don't have the right to ask the gentleman at the next urinal to leave until I'm done. If I need privacy that bad I use a stall and lock the door.

In the case of the protester at CAE, I wouldn't have a problem saying ok Bush supporters -- you stand on this side of the street and you Bush opponents stand on the other side of the street. That would have been ok as long as both groups were in the same general area. But to tell this man to go to the designated protest area at least a half mile away is just wrong. It would be like me being in the restroom in Concourse A and telling the gentleman at the next urinal to go to the restrooms in Concourse D.

Artsyman:

LoneStarMike, I am sure that there are more example of what you posted, but they are far from the norm. In the arab world they are the norm

True, but things seem to be changing and more and more of these types of things are happening. I'm just afraid that the way things are going that one day soon these incidents will be the norm.

LoneStarMike

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29813 posts, RR: 58
Reply 1, posted (11 years 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 1439 times:

LoneStarMike, the right for free speech is a lot more restricted then you believe, and you actually want it that way.

I worked for a hospital for 5 years and was even a patient there once, but you'd better believe I excercised my right to free speech both as an employee and a patient, so maybe that's not the best example.

So did that right of free speech apply over to gabbing about patients conditions to people that had no need to know, or could you get sacked for that?

I suspect the latter, sounds like censorship to me!


If I own a peace of property I do have a right to control who says what on it, that is why a lot of stores will kick you off the lot for protesting on it. Scares away the customers.

Sounds like censorship to me!





OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (11 years 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 1421 times:

The first article gave very few particulars about the case. The Salt Lake Tribune editorial gives more, and, assuming that it is accurate and does not omit any key facts (it is an editorial, after all), I would agree that the case against Bursey is excessive.

I would like to know the reasoning behind the the law which is used to enforce this segregation. Is it to prevent public fist fights that might have happened in the past between different groups of protesters? Was the same practise used by Clinton and other presidents? Was it somehow an offshoot of the increased security after 9/11?

But if it were purely Bush or his people saying, let's keep the protesters far away from us so that we can't hear them, I agree that that's not kosher.

Charles


User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3861 posts, RR: 34
Reply 3, posted (11 years 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 1418 times:

Yes, I could have gotten sacked for discussing patients conditions, because that would violate their right to privacy. My right to free speech ends where their rights to privacy begins.

However, I don't believe that President Bush has the right to be shielded from criticism while at a public airport or while travelling in a motorcade on public streets. Therefore, Bursey, excercising his right to free speech was not infringing on President Bush's rights. There's a difference.

And as far as protesting in front of a store, I may not be able to do it right at the front door. I may not be able to protest in the parking lot. But I can protest on the sidewalk between the parking lot and the street (public land owned by the city) and there's nothing the store can do about it. Now granted, if there's a huge amount of people I may need to get a permit from the city, but I can still conduct my protest in sight of the store (as opposed to a half mile away out of sight.)

Suppose everytime folks wanted to protest about Bill Clinton in a public area while he was President, they were told "sorry -- gotta do it out of sight of the cameras and President Clinton. The GOP (which I'm starting to think stands for Grand Old Police State) would have thrown a fit (and I would have agreed with them.) But now, under the Bush Administration this is a problem. Why? Is he really that insecure?

LoneStarMike

User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29813 posts, RR: 58
Reply 4, posted (11 years 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 1414 times:

Right, their right to privacy outweights you right to free speech. So you don't have free speech.

And yes, I never said you couldn't do it from the sidewalk, it is considered public.

But if this guy was setting up to disrupt a speech, does security not have the obligation to remove him. After all the crowd has a right to hear what the speaker...the president had to say right?

I am also sure, but not going to waste my time looking it up that Clinton's goons pulled that stunt that the Bush admin is accussed of.





OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3861 posts, RR: 34
Reply 5, posted (11 years 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 1397 times:

Cfalk:

I would like to know the reasoning behind the the law which is used to enforce this segregation.

I found a partial answer to your question in this interview with Bursey.

Some 30 years earlier he had been arrested for protesting the president. Back then, the commander in chief was Richard Nixon, but the charge was the same — trespassing. Eventually, the state Supreme Court dropped the charges, ruling that protesters such as Bursey could not legally trespass on public property. Months after his October 2002 arrest, this new trespassing charge was dropped by the state.

However, U.S. Attorney Strom Thurmond, Jr., an inexperienced prosecutor of little more than 30-years-of-age, filed federal charges against Bursey. The new crime — refusing to leave a restricted area which had been declared the temporary property of the president. This particular law was designed to stop would-be assassins and kidnappers. Bursey is neither. He now faces six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. The trial is set for November 12 in the U.S. District Court in Columbia.

Interview with Brett Bursey

How stupid is that? I mean, when was the last time you saw an assassin or a kidnapper carrying a sign?  Insane

L 188:

Right, their right to privacy outweights you right to free speech. So you don't have free speech.

I think you're missing the point. When we say freedom of speech, we're not talking about releasing confidential patient information or libeling or slandering someone. We're talking about speaking out against the goverment, and regarding that I do have the right of free speech.

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.

That's what this man was there to do.

And yes, I never said you couldn't do it from the sidewalk, it is considered public.

But if this guy was setting up to disrupt a speech, does security not have the obligation to remove him. After all the crowd has a right to hear what the speaker...the president had to say right?

How do we know he wasn't just going to stand there with his sign? We don't and we never will, because he was hauled away. As a matter of fact, according to the interview, he would have been allowed to stay if he'd gotten rid of the sign. He still could have yelled and disrupted the speech and at that point the security possibly could have done something, although I don't see how one man yelling at an outdoor gathering could have drowned out the President at a microphone. How is a sign infringing on other people's right to hear a speech?

I am also sure, but not going to waste my time looking it up that Clinton's goons pulled that stunt that the Bush admin is accussed of.

Oh since your "sure" we're just supposed to take your word for it? I don't think so. At any rate, if Clinton did indeed pull this stunt, then it was wrong of him, too.

LoneStarMike

User currently offlineSeb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11766 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (11 years 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 1380 times:

It seems to be to be all about spin. If the cameras pan across the crowd, they will be showing hundreds of enthusiastic supporters. The administration in power (Dem or Rep) wants things to look like they have ONLY support and no detractors. It makes them look good and, during a campaign, they can go back and say 'look at this speech that was given and see all the support we have'
Since there were no politicians at Matthew Sheperd's funeral, it was 'free speech' to let that person picket there. I forget his name, but the man that was yelling at the prez about AIDS funding was escorted from the room because media was there.
All about spin....

GO CANUCKS!!



Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3861 posts, RR: 34
Reply 7, posted (11 years 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1320 times:

You know its bad enough that we have this crap going on in our own coutry, but now Bush wants British protesters out of sight during his three day visit there.

Yard fury over Bush visit
By Patrick Sawer, Evening Standard
10 November 2003

White House security demands covering President George Bush's controversial state visit to Britain have provoked a serious row with Scotland Yard.

American officials want a virtual three-day shutdown of central London in a bid to foil disruption of the visit by anti-war protestors. They are demanding that police ban all marches and seal off the city centre.

But senior Yard officers say the powers requested by US security chiefs would be unprecedented on British soil. While the Met wants to prevent violence, it is sensitive to accusations of trying to curtail legitimate protest.

Rest of the story

Who the hell does he think he is? If he's that insecure, maybe he should just stay home.

LoneStarMike

User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 8, posted (11 years 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1318 times:

It won't happen like that, LoneStarMike. That's because when Jiang Zemin visited Britain in 1999 protesters were kept away from him, to the point that placards were taken down when people tried to peacefully protest. The public response was furious as you can imagine, the denial of free speech and so on, the police complained that they had been politicised by the government and so on. Essentially, the government had to acknowledge a serious error and make a commitment that it wouldn't happen again. If they tried it with Bush, a protest of a few thousand would likely become one of several million, probably marching on Downing Street.

Having said that, security is going to be a major issue, so precautions have to be taken. But the government has made it clear that peaceful protest is perfectly permissable (like they had a choice) and that protestors should just remember that - and I'm paraphrasing - up until a few months ago Iraqis didn't have such a right.

Believe me, what happens next week will be watched very closely here.

[Edited 2003-11-12 19:46:18]


She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Reply 9, posted (11 years 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 1309 times:

In this particular case, as vague as the law is these days to apply to anyone for any reason as long as there is a justifiable reason discovered long afterwards, we live in a democratically facist society.

Deal with it, life sucks.



The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
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