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Wait ... Did they just say UNANIMOUS???

Yup, that's right. The Supremes just made a unanimous decision. All nine justices of the Supreme Court of the United States just agreed on something.

When is the last time THAT happened?? Actually, so far in 2024 it has happened quite a bit. Over 80% of cases so far this term have been unanimous. You didn't know that, did you? Not that consensus by itself is evaluative of function, but I think the Court is working fairly well here.

So what was this most recent case about, you ask? It was about my favorite subject of all: The Freedom of Speech (expression) and more specifically the prohibition against any government infringement on the People's pre-existing Right to Free Expression.

Specifically, in this case, the NRA was "harmed" as a result of actions taken by the State of New York. Those actions were taken openly by the State because it did not like the politic expression coming from the NRA, specifically it's stance in favor of the individual right to keep and bear arms.

And guess who took up the NRA's case and argued it before the Supremes?? I hope you're sitting down for this: The ACLU. Yup, the legal bastion of the left took up the right to free speech of the flag bearer of the right. No wonder the Supremes were unanimous here.


I've written often on here about the fundamental right of all people to free expression unimpeded by government interference.

And I've asked you several times if you support the right to free speech. My litmus test to supporting this fundamental right is this: Do you support and defend the right of people with whom you vehemently disagree to speak their ideas no matter how strongly you disagree?? Or do you seek to silence the opposition?

Well, the ACLU defended the NRA's right to free speech.
Justice Sotomayor voted for and defended the decision.

What about you? Do you support and defend the fundamental right of everyone across the political spectrum to free expression??
OliRos18-21, F
I agree that your Constitution grants the right to free speech to every citizen (and non-citizen, I presume, though I don't know offhand if this has ever been tested - I can imagine a situation in the future where it might have to be).

Noble though that is, it is a construct. It is a "right" conjured up and codified by a group of humans, at one period in time, when it was not universally recognised.

I am not at all sure that, outside the confines of the US Constitution, and later constitutions which took it as a guiding light, the right to free speech is "fundamental", in the way, for example, that belief in "religion" (creator(s), gods, spirits, an energy beyond ourselves, however we define/experience it) is fundamental, manifesting independently and in many forms in disparate cultures.

I am not surprised by this verdict, nor by the fact that the case was brought by the ACLU. You should never let a precedent be established that, no matter how much you support its implementation now, may in the future be used against you.

And thank you for another interesting post. 馃尮
sarabee199526-30, F
@OliRos Actually, no, the Constitution does not grant the right to free speech, or to anything for that matter. If you read the Constitution, you'll find not one single right conferred by it to anyone.

Rather, you will find certain enumerated "Rights" of the People that the government is prohibited from infringing. And you will find the statement that those enumerated rights are not to be considered all the rights of the People.

Important distinction. The Rights of the People, pre-date and supercede the power of governments.

"... never let a precedent be established that ... may in the future be used against you."
I cannot disagree with this sentiment more firmly. Justice, and therefore the Law, must be blind. We all must stand before our government on equal footings. Therefore, if I want the protections afforded me under our system of jurisprudence, then I must fight for them to be afforded to those I oppose. This means that sometimes the precedents I fight for today will someday cloak my political opponents. And that is fine with me.

You, as a free man (person) were born with all the Rights of all free people. The question is whether you allow your government to step on those rights. Or whether you allow your Sovereign to pretend he bequeathed them unto you.

Elessar26-30, M
Regardless of the case, it's unanimous solely because the NRA benefits of this ruling; had the roles been reversed here, this would've been a 6-4 ruling at the very best, or even 4-6. Change my mind.

This only proves that democrat leaning judges can be impartial. It says absolutely nothing about conservative judges, who in other cases abundantly demonstrated to be incapable of that. :/
sarabee199526-30, F
@OliRos Well, the idea of an individual right to free expression without fear of governmental retribution dates back to the Greeks. The concept of the "Natural Man (person)" possessing pre-existing rights independent of any government grant was fleshed out by John Locke. And of course my country's Declaration of separation from yours attributed the fundamental rights of the People to the Divine.

Of course, that Declaration does not have the force of law here or anywhere. It was simply a statement made to George and to the world out of respect for the opinions of mankind stating the reasons for our separation.

But that concept of pre-existing rights did make it into our Constitution. Not a single fundamental right is granted by the US federal government. Not a single one.

Instead, We the People granted limited authority to our government to manage the affairs of State and prohibited it from infringing on certain of our rights.
OliRos18-21, F
Well, the idea of an individual right to free expression without fear of governmental retribution dates back to the Greeks.

So it is a human construct.

And of course my country's Declaration of separation from yours attributed the fundamental rights of the People to the Devine.

As is the "divine".

In its roots and its attribution, the fundamental right relies on a human construct.

Which is fine and does not diminish it any way but at least recognises honestly that it is something we (humanity) grant to ourselves. It is not something that exists outside our recognition of it.

We the People granted limited authority to our government to manage the affairs of State and prohibited it from infringing on certain of our rights.

Bottom up, as opposed to top down, government. Yes, there is a lot to be said for the idea that authority flows from the people to the government rather than the other way around.
sarabee199526-30, F
@OliRos Typo corrected.

I don't know to what the Greeks attributed the right, be it a human or Divine construct.
SunshineGirl36-40, F
I have never sought to silence the "opposition", not least because I do not view the world in simple binaries. My views have evolved over the years and I acknowledge my debt to the liberal traditions of the institutions that have educated and employed me.

But freedom of speech as an absolute? Protecting the right of the powerful and mighty to bully and intimidate those without the resources or acumen to stand their ground? The extraordinary behaviour of Donald Trump during and after his trial to my mind illustrates the downside of anyone being allowed to say anything they like at any time. (As an aside, I cannot understand why this is not treated as contempt of court, or why the judge was unwilling or unable to act more decisively to the defendant's interruptions and tactics).

The world moves on. We live in a deafening sound chamber where freedom of expression effectively ensures the success of those vested interests who shout loudest or behave most outrageously. The greatest threat to that freedom is not a democratically constituted government, but the worst actors in society.
sarabee199526-30, F
@SunshineGirl The Right to free expression is afforded to the weak and the mighty.

When many people think alike, they have the right to band together and express their beliefs together.

This does NOT afford to anyone the right to bully or intimidate. In fact, here in the States, this has been tested in the courts and bullying and intimidation are not protected speech.

And his behavior actually was treated as contempt of court. 馃し鈥嶁檧锔
SunshineGirl36-40, F
@sarabee1995 I know the judge mentioned the possibility of custody for what was said in the court room. But that did not seem to extend to statements outside of court. Or to the defence counsel who at one stage appeared to forget who he was representing and pursued a personal vendetta with one of the witnesses 馃し鈥嶁檧锔 All a bit chaotic and in hindsight those negative tactics definitely backfired. I was just surprised at how much freedom there seemed to be for the defence to essentially defame prosecution witnesses instead of presenting a coherent case.
The same state that so willfully violated the NRA's 1st Amendment rights has just stepped up and violated the 6th Amendment rights of an ex-president.
sarabee199526-30, F
@TexChik Many of the counts were falsifying business records. That's a charge I understand. As you know I'm now involved in my family's business. And as of this year, I sign many of the tax returns.

Well , when my grandfather was in charge there was not a tax he didn't try to avoid. For the area of the business where I'm now the responsible partner, we will be 100% compliant with all laws and regulations and will have documentation for every deduction. This isn't because I like paying taxes. This is because I do not lie, cheat, nor steal and because even a misdemeanor charge of falsifying business records would bounce me out of the military for conduct unbecoming.

I demand the same code of ethical conduct from my political leaders.

It is time for both of these geezers to retire. Neither of them is getting my vote.
@sarabee1995 You dont demand the same from the socialists in office now. Only from Trump and other than a kangaroo court conviction that won't have no facts in the case to prove Trump did anything other than run for office. No Biden bribe schemes or influence peddling concerns for you? No worry about people being held in jail for 4 years without a trial as political prisoners because they were near the capital on Jan 6 ? The real trial begins on election day.
sarabee199526-30, F
@TexChik I do demand the same from those in office now. This is why I won't be voting for either of them.
Longpatrol31-35, M
It's in your constitution so I guess so. If only they had stronger provisions against hate speech in law, too many claim it as part of free speech when it has a vicious purpose.
sarabee199526-30, F
@Longpatrol What has the NRA said that comes even close to hate speech???
Longpatrol31-35, M
@sarabee1995 Oh no I wasn't referencing this case. Just generally when there's racist speech etc,
sarabee199526-30, F
@Longpatrol Okay, well depending on what you mean by "hate speech" or "racist speech" know that there are limits and protection in law. It is perfectly legal for a person hate all Caucasian people or all African people or all Asian people and to say so. That is despicable but protected speech. However, advocating harm against any group is not protected and is a crime.
HoraceGreenley56-60, M
People only complain when they don't like the Court's decision. People fail to realize that the Court actually functions quite well.
sarabee199526-30, F
Strictmichael7561-69, M
All you have to do is listen to lies of orange man!
So wake up
sarabee199526-30, F
@Strictmichael75 Oh no. I can and do make that distinction very clearly. Your earlier statements seemed to conflate the two and that's why I afforded you the opportunity to clarify.

So if you now agree that they are distinct, can you explain the relevance of your comments about fake news and lies to my post about free expression?? I once again seek understanding of your words and meaning.
Strictmichael7561-69, M
@sarabee1995 If you can鈥檛 understand the difference then it鈥檚 futile trying to explain it to you!
sarabee199526-30, F
Let鈥檚 not confuse freedom of speech and blatant lies and fake news !!
Where or when was it confused by anyone here?
Yes, I would defend the right to freedom of expression even if I didn't approve of the message. As you say below, @sarabee1995 it is a different situation where that speech is inciting harm to specific people. I remember the old childhood saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me".
sarabee199526-30, F
@ArtieKat Yes, inciting criminal acts is not protected speech.
@sarabee1995 In some cases it is a fine line between the two
sarabee199526-30, F
@ArtieKat Yes, for sure.
496sbc36-40, M
I thought the Aclu was against guns. Something doesn't sound right. Not saying ur wrong Sara just i dont get it. Nice post though
496sbc36-40, M
@Bumbles very true tnx u my friend
sarabee199526-30, F
@496sbc They are not "against guns", but they do oppose the individual right to keep and bear arms. But, this case was not about that. This case was about the State of New York threatening regulatory action against third parties because they did business with the NRA. The State opposed the speech of the NRA (where it should have no opinion) and attempted to quelch it.
496sbc36-40, M
@sarabee1995 dam. Tnx u good to know
sarabee199526-30, F
@TexChik On this we proudly stand shoulder to shoulder! :)
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sarabee199526-30, F
@jshm2 Sure they can. But the government CANNOT take sides and that is what happened here. The government must be blind and see all as equal under law.
Bumbles51-55, M
I despise the NRA, but agree with the decision.
sarabee199526-30, F
@Bumbles I'm sure those arguing it's case before the Court felt much as you do.
Bumbles51-55, M
@sarabee1995 The principle is sound: government officials shouldn鈥檛 attempt to punish private institutions for their positions.
sarabee199526-30, F
@Bumbles Agreed. The government, whether for a time liberal or conservative, should always be impartial with regard to the free expression of ideas.
Of course.
sarabee199526-30, F
@BizSuitStacy You say, "of course," but there are many on both sides of the political spectrum who would deny their opponent's right to free speech.
vetguy199151-55, M
sarabee199526-30, F
@vetguy1991 馃憤
pdockal56-60, M
sarabee199526-30, F
@pdockal Yup.
tenente100+, M
god bless america 馃檹馃嚭馃嚫
sarabee199526-30, F
@tenente He has. Greatly.
Musicman61-69, M
Yes I do! 馃檪
sarabee199526-30, F
@Musicman Glad to hear it!
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sarabee199526-30, F
@butterflybaby75 Now now, let's not get nasty here. You and they have an equal right to be heard in the marketplace of ideas.

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