Tuesday, November 29, 2011

High-schooler "Harasses" Gov. Brownback

Our blogger is reluctant to share this link because he doesn't condone the language used in the story. But free speech is free speech. Did you hear about the high-schooler Emma Sullivan who tweeted some disparaging remarks about Gov. Brownback?

So Miss Sullivan was called to the principal's office and told to apologize.

What? Did Gov. Brownback seek an Injunction against Harassment? And who does the principal think he is? Judge Kenton Jones?

See, this is the mindset of those on the Left. They'll tell you that you have a First Amendment right to free speech. But what they really mean is that THEY have the right to free speech. They can even cuss in your face. But if you say anything they don't like, they'll tell you it's wrong. (Or run and get an Injunction Against Harassment against you.) Remember the DemocRATS telling the Republicans about devise speech and then immediately turning around saying "Let’s take these sons of bitches out"?

Indeed, that's what cheating Judge Mary Hamm did with our blogger. If you read Melody Thomas-Morgan's petition for an Injunction against our blogger, she quotes, out of context, that Judge Hamm said our blogger was "dangerous."

Here's the full context, quoting from the court transcript. In fact, what the cheating judge said was that the First Amendment is dangerous.

See, our blogger had sent letters to the late Mrs. Bodine's pastor and future son-in-law, warning them, in part, about the late Mrs. Bodine. Gasp! Not legally "acts directed at a person"—nor ever entered into evidence—but who cares about the law when you're a cheating judge anyway? Judge Mary Hamm said writing such letters was "dangerous."

We agree. The First (and Second) Amendment is(are) "dangerous." To tyrants.

They're so "dangerous" that the Founding Fathers thought it wise to protect these rights. Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court and even the Ninth Circuit still uphold our right to free speech, even if offensive to some.

From our bloggers federal lawsuit against Judge Kenton Jones,
In March 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that "Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and—as it did here—inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker. As a Nation we have chosen a different course—to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate." (Quoting Justice Roberts in Snyder v. Phelps, et al. 562 U. S. ____ (2011)) The case cited involved religious free speech. (The infamous Westboro Baptist church.)

27. Similarly, in mid-July 2011, the Ninth Circuit reversed a criminal conviction of a man who blogged about 50 caliber bullets and a presidential candidate. Ostensibly real, serious "death threats." But as Chief Judge Kozinski wrote, "Taking the two message board postings in the context of all of the relevant facts and circumstances, the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Bagdasarian had the subjective intent to threaten a presidential candidate . . . given any reasonable construction of the words in his postings, those statements do not constitute a “true threat,” and they are therefore protected speech under the First Amendment." United States v. Bagdasarian, 2011 WL 2803583 (9th Cir. July 19, 2011)

28. Taking the blog That Woman Jezebel in the context of all of the relevant facts and circumstances, given any reasonable construction of the words in the postings, the statements in the blog do not constitute a “true threat,” and they are therefore protected speech.

29. It is not necessary for the court to make this determination, for ironically, while crafting this complaint, I received a Cease & Desist letter from Thomas-Morgan's attorney. In the letter (Exhibit 3), Thomas-Morgan, through her attorney, acknowledges the blog is First Amendment protected speech, stating ". . . you certainly have the right to blog about your various fixations with Ms. Thomas-Morgan . . . "

30. And earlier, in her petition, she consistently puts the word "death" in quotes, making it clear that even she understands the word is not to be taken literally and knows there is no true threat.

31. Considering the popularity of blogging and micro-blogging (i.e., Twitter) in American society, it is in the public interest for this court to rule that blogging is protected speech and cannot be considered harassment.
So high-schooler Emma Sullivan was within her rights to tweet her comments about her Governor. The only good thing from the story is that Gov. Brownback's office apologized for overreacting.

We don't expect the late Melody Bodine will ever apologize. She's dead. Likewise, we don't hold any hope for Miss Melody Thomas-Morgan.

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