Friday, October 7, 2011

The Occupy Movement and the Tea Party - Legal Problem of Viewpoint Discrimination

I had a discussion with some OCCUPY people on the twitter about their "rights" and the ability to protest. I mention of course they had a right to protest and "occupy" as long as they submitted to valid legal time, space, etc laws. If they went beyond that the police had a "right" to arrest them. Beyond that it's civil disobedience which of course they can do if they want.

Time and space regulations can of course be used to hinder free speech in illegal ways and I am against that. We must guard against that. However they also help perform a valuable service in making sure we don't prohibit speech as to comment. Something that is often overlooked.

I mentioned this a good deal in the Wisconsin Capitol protest and the danger the Government was getting into. We now see two interesting cases here of a danger of "viewpoint discrimination" from two different sides of the political spectrum

See Ann Alhouse's post :Boston's response to Occupy Boston: "if there are so many people joining a demonstration that the city doesn’t want to tangle with them, then they will waive the requirements

On the flip side see something from the opposite end of the spectrum. Tea Party Vows to Stay at Senate Office . Well OK

The problem here in both cases we see problems for future VIEWPOINT discrimination which is prohibited.

Both the Tea Party and the OCCUPY movement have some popular backing to do what they do. They have supporters in the "establishment" though each views themselves as anti establishment.

One suspects that the a protest or occupation of public space and use for the "Deportation of Ni*&ers and Jews" would not get such treatment. But precedents are being set and the GOVT cannot treat this racist group differently from the Tea Party or the Occupy folks.

However the danger is since this group would not have backing they very likely would be treated differently. With hardly no public main steam backing no one would care. Thus we have speech being treated differently on the basis of Content. If the Government followed the law then you can your children to the State Capital and have them see racists run amuck all the time perhaps. Thus robbing you in a real way of the use and enjoyment of that public space.

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