Since I’m not an attorney, my opinion about Trump not suffering a loss of “free speech” even when protested, is unqualified. Here’s a more qualified explanation of what is and isn’t covered by the First Amendment, for the enlightenment of general readers.
First, a disclaimer. Although your Mulligan is an attorney licensed to practice in the district courts of the United States, nothing in here should be taken as legal advise, and is presented for educational purposes only.
Second, we need to talk about candidate speeches and protests. Candidates from all sides of the aisle have seen their political rallies interrupted this election season. Some of these candidates have reacted better than others.
So what are the legalities of this situation? Have a primer.
THE FIRST AMENDMENT
Very few people actually understand what the First Amendment and “free speech” or “free expression” mean. The first, and most important, lesson here is that the First Amendment only applies to government action. That is, no private entity, be it corporation or person, can violate your free speech rights. If your neighbor kicks you out of his backyard barbecue because your speech offends him…
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6 responses to “Protests, Incitement, and You: A Primer”
Since you are my favorite blogger, I posted this on my Facebook page. I will remove it, if it troubles you.
It’s a re-blog. I appreciate the compliment, but you might want to ask permission of the attorney who wrote it. Thanks for reading, as always.
Whether it’s legal or not, even the most despicable of people (and Trump is despicable) should have the right to state their opinion without interruption. It’s not protest if it’s interruption. Otherwise when it’s someone you like and respect you would have to fume and take it and accept the fact that not everyone thinks as you do.
What can I say? Democracy’s messy. People DO have the right (under the First Amendment) to shout, interrupt, sing, play music, wave flags and signs, stand up when others are sitting, dance, and generally express in any non-violent fashion their opposition and disapproval of any political position being presented in a public event.
Yes, it’s disrespectful and impolite. IT’S STILL NOT ILLEGAL. That’s the point. The Trump camp loves to dish it out, trash talking about not being politically correct, but it seems they can’t take it when their rhetoric is opposed in a similarly disrespectful manner.
I am glad you came by to express your vote for better manners, mmtf. I applaud the sentiment!
For me, it’s not about legal rights, Mikey, it’s about what’s right. By all means, judge someone by what he says and how he acts (and also how hypocritical his pronouncements are); don’t stop him from having his say. The Trump camp may like to dish it out, but have they done it at other people’s rallies? Even if they have which side would you say has the moral high ground?
If we’re talking Amendments; how about the second Amendment? You may not agree, but given what I have read about all those massacres in schools, it may be your legal right to carry arms, but I don’t think that it’s right to do so.
I would hope that the majority of your country men and women would have the sense not to vote someone like the Trumpet of doom into office.
Ps. Mikey, I don’t think you are invisible. Your passion (and your willingness to debate an issue) makes you highly visible.
Thanks :). It’s an old joke here on the blog, my “invisibility”. I chose the name because I have a distant past in show biz, a very generic real name, and because we all present one persona to the outside world and another to our loved ones that the world can’t see. Thanks for contributing.