Supreme Court sets up speech zone

By William R. Toler

In a somewhat surpising move, the “High Court” made a decision that would have the justices of the 60s choking on their robes: protests are now banned on Court property.supremecourt-washingtondc111

An addition was made to the Court’s “Building Regulations” Thursday that prohibits “demonstrations, picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding vigils or religious services and all other like forms of conduct that involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to draw a crowd or onlookers.”

According to the Huffington Post, this new regulation comes just two days after a similar law was deemed too broad by a District Court Judge.

From the article:

In her ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said that law was so broad it could criminalize preschool students parading on their first field trip to the high court. She also wrote that the marshal of the Supreme Court “has the authority to prescribe necessary regulations to govern the plaza,” which is what the marshal did Thursday.

Howell was ruling in a challenge brought by Harold Hodge Jr., who was arrested on the Supreme Court plaza in January 2011 while wearing a sign that criticized police treatment of blacks and Hispanics.

He was given a citation for violating a law that makes it a crime to “parade, stand, or move in processions or assemblages,” or to display a “flag, banner, or device designed or adapted to bring into public notice a party, organization, or movement,” at the high court’s building or grounds.

So the final arbiter of justice has set up a “free speech zone” on its own property.

“Free speech zone” is really a misnomer. It’s more like a “no speech zone.”

The First Amendment is no longer allowed at the Supreme Court.

I’m speechless.

(No pun intended.)

Gone is the “fixed star in our constitutional constellation.” It’s faded into the void of tyranny from which it may never return.

A black hole of black robes with black hearts.

The modern Court has been hit or miss (mostly miss) the past decade when it comes to erring on the side of freedom. The “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case and CLS v. Martinez are two First Amendment-related decsions that come to mind where the Court rendered a massive fail.

“I don’t understand what they’re doing,” said John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute. “Harold Hodge still can’t go out there with his sign.”

“We’re going to go after it,” he added. “We’re going to do what we can to challenge it.”

I’m not exactly sure how you challenge the all-powerful wizzards of the Supreme Court, but wish Whitehead luck.

This is a perfect opportunity for a mass showing of civil disobedience. We need to let the men (and women) in robes know, to quote Dee Snider, “We’re not gonna take it!”



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