T Nation

No Dissent


The Supreme Court has refused to hear a case of a protestor who was charged for holding a sign that said "No War for Oil" in a location near President Bush.

Federal law allows the creation of secure areas around the President; unfortunately, the law only seems to apply if you disagree with the administration.

Link: http://www.scpronet.com/freespeech.html


If true, and the government is applying a facially neutral law in a manner that effects viewpoint-based discrimination, that's highly troubling.

Unfortunately, you don't get much of the other side of the story from this link. The fact that the USSC refused to hear the case means that the plaintiffs lost at at least one level (the appellate court may have refused to hear the case as well, or the appellate court may have ruled in favor of the government). So something tells me there's more to this than what's put forth on the website.


We know how the jackbooted thugs broke up Cindy Sheehan's encampment and made sure no news of her protest reached our ears.

Oh wait, that never happened.

I think the right to protest stronger than ever.


BB: Agreed... and I wonder why we keep hearing allusions to "free speech zones" in the MSM, and yet no one is taking the issue up seriously.

Obviously, the press is still free, so why is no one paying attention to this, at least to satisfactorily debunk it?

Zap: Sheehan aside, there have been quite a few reports of people being taken to stadiums miles away from the president to voice dissent, while people with pro-Bush signs were left where they were. I'm just surprised how little attention is being paid to the issue.

Perhaps there's nothing there.


I know what you mean. It seems that some of the Bush and war protesters take the civil disobedience thing a bit too far so I understand why they want to keep many of them further away from the president.

Sheehan and others do get closer than the anti-globilist lunatics.


Guilty until proven innocent?


Not really. Just smart handling what can be percieved as a potential threat.

They are not being arrested or anything. Just moved farther away from the president than they would like.

My dad tells a funny story about when he was run off the road by JFK's motorcade. These things happen.


If the only thing a person is doing is holding an anti-Bush sign, and other people around them are allowed to hold pro-Bush signs, then the former has a right to remain. If the policy is applied in a content-neutral way (no signs allowed at all), then fine, although I have a bit of a problem with rules that explicitly seek to protect the president from seeing anything contrary to his policy.


Same thing happened to me in 2004 before the election when Kerry was in town for some function at the Regan library. A column of motorcycle cops came up the road and blocked off the intersections, one cop came and posted up next to my car on the side of the road, I tried to roll down my window and say hi to the cop, make some small talk, but I just got the 'SIR ROLL UP YOUR WINDOW NOW!' I waited something like five minutes before the actual motorcade came by, and another five after. I was pissed, but I did get to see a soon to be failed presidential candidate, albeit through two inch thick windows.


Discriminating between peacefully demonstrating people based on their political beliefs, is troubling. Especially when you are talking about demonstrating outside of the private venue itself.


If someone was really a threat, and wanted to assasinate the President, wouldn't he make himself seem like supporter in order to get closer?

This regime is ridiculous. They pay for stories, Bush won't interview in front of a real crowd, only those hand selected....Unbelievable. This guy is a puppet.

Anyone see the Daily Show a couple of days ago when a girl asked Bush why aid for students was getting cut? His face was awesome... "Shit, who let that bitch in?"


'The protestor was moved to free-speech zone'.

Free speech zone? I thought all of America was a free speech zone. It seems not.


Peaceful is the key word here. Many of the anti-Bush demonstrators have a history of being disruptive.

It is likely that many of the demonstrators that are not allowed near Bush will not be disruptive but the bad apples are ruining it for the good ones. As usual.

It gives Bush's team an excuse to keep people further away.


It has been a very popular tactic of the left to disrupt right wing speeches and shout people down.

Crying about free speech is bullshit. The lefties are infringing as much on peoples free speech as the righties.


Unless you're saying something that (however true) is unPC. In which case you get censored, lose your job, etc.


No - time, place and manner restrictions on speech are perfectly legitimate.

And, to reiterate, the plaintiffs lost this case, and the USSC declined to review -- I'm guessing that it's not quite as bad as the one-sided presentation of the facts from this website makes it out.


Clenis was well know for 'free speech zones' and Bush has used this idea no differently that Clenis.

With that said...'free speech zones' are pathetic.

I completely disagree with shouting down a politican or anyone but the 'free speech zones' are very un-American!

Thanks Clenis and Bush.


No, I don't like the way it's done. You are innocent until you do something wrong or you aren't.

If you can't take that risk, then you don't allow anyone to do it except in the approved zones.

Anyone wanting to cause real disruption can get a group of rabble rousers together and have reversable or multiple signs.


I spoke to a friend this weekend who specializes in constitutional law... her take is that the Supreme Court tends to shy away from any cases involving the restriction of executive power, if for no other reason than because they have no way of enforcing their ruling. She also admitted that she is not acquainted with this particular case.

I don't buy the argument that the USSC ignores executive power issues, but I also don't know enough about the selection process for cases. Is only one Justice's (or his/her staffer's) approval necessary to bring a case before the court?


It seems a bunch of nutjobs are going to stand outside the Captitol Building banging pots and pans to drown out the State of the Union Address tonight.