Skip to comments.New Court Ruling Could Nullify First Amendment
Posted on 08/21/2013 11:13:04 AM PDT by fwdude
Judge Michael Ponsor has ruled in Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively (2013) that Scott Lively, through his talks in Uganda in opposition to homosexual behavior was in fact aiding and abetting a crime against humanity.
Lively, an evangelical pastor, was sued in a Massachusetts federal court by a foreign group called Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) based on provisions in the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). If this decision is upheld, every foreign group with a grievance will appeal to the ATS and inundate our courts with claims of injustice, and the First Amendment will not offer any protection.
Judge Posnor went on to write in his 79-page ruling that Livelys anti-same-sex views can be compared to that of an upper-level manager or leader of a criminal enterprise. They are, according to Judge Ponsor, analogous to a terrorist designing and manufacturing a bomb in this country, which he then mails to Uganda with the intent that it explode there.
So speaking out against behaviors that only recently in the United States have been deemed lawful is akin to genocide?
Weve seen this type of leftist logic before, and its not surprising that it came from a judge who was supported for the bench by John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and appointed by Bill Clinton. Soon after Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City in April of 1995, some on the left of the political spectrum blamed anti-government rhetoric for the assault. Supposedly hateful speech directed at politicians had incited a cadre of right-wing extremists to put words into explosive action.
A similar blame-game tactic was tried by then Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) after the loss of the Senate to the Republicans in the 2002 mid-term elections. He blamed talk radio, and compared American fundamentalists to Islamic extremists. He claimed that critical talk about certain politicians and their policies could lead to a hostile environment that could spur people to violent acts. Daschle offered no empirical evidence to back up his claim.
On the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, former President Clinton once again tried to make the connection between speech and domestic terrorism. The following is the reaction from a New York Post editorial:
[Clinton drew] implicit parallels between bomber Timothy McVeigh and peaceful if rambunctious political dissent like the Tea Party movement. Like we said: shameless.
What about Judge Ponsors claim that speaking out against homosexual behavior is akin to aiding and abetting a crime against humanity? Is there such a thing in the world today? We kill about 1.2 million pre-born babies in America each year, but this is not a crime against humanity.
Texas State Senator Wendy Davis gets a multi-page spread in Vogue because she spoke passionately in defense of permitting the killing of late term pre-born babies.
The article makes no mention of how, during a speech and press conference last week, Davis called abortion sacred ground and indicated she may run for governor. Later, she indicated she thinks pro-life women dont understand abortion and she showed she has no understanding of the Kermit Gosnell case.
Nothing is said about how the Southern Poverty Law Centers claim that Family Research Council is a hate group influenced a pro-homosexual man to shoot up the organization and kill the employees.
Maybe we can deduce that President Obamas pro-Muslim Brotherhood rhetoric has led to the destruction of Christian churches in Egypt and the persecution of Christians.
Across Egypt, at least 60 churches have been targeted, along with Christian schools, homes,businesses and even an orphanage, according to conservative estimates. In the areas of Minya, Beni Suef, Fayoum and Assiut, Christian homes and businesses have received leaflets warning them to leave or face reprisals by Islamists, Christians said.
A man speaks about the immorality of certain sex acts, and hes aiding and abetting a crime against humanity? Judge Posnors ruling, if it stands on appeal, is one of the most dangerous decisions ever to come from the bench.
The Liberty Counsel has insisted that Lively exercised nothing more than civil, non-violent political discourse in the public square on a subject of great public concern, which occupies the highest rung of First Amendment protection.
If higher courts on appeal disagree, the days of free speech for conservatives are over.
Read more at http://godfatherpolitics.com/12222/new-court-ruling-could-nullify-first-amendment/#mMX2kIGJEGHzMEaL.99
My agreement is not with gdani but tsomer. My apologies for reversing the order, although I am sure it was clear by the end of the post anyway.
A link to the opinion is available in the first sentence of the article’s source page, but here is the URL:
Yes, I give to Liberty Counsel regularly, knowing they do good work. The rage of the sodomites against them is proof.
The trail has already taken place and sentence rendered in Posner's warped mind. Read his opinion. It oozes with contempt for Lively and contains all of the invented homo-fascist empty talking points.
Right you are. The opinion is not work of a sober, impartial judge. It is the argument of a zealot.
Judge Michael Ponsor needs to be tarred and feathered and then run out of town on a rail as the enemy of liberty he is declaring himself to be.
One further point. Assume for the sake of argument ATS applied (which I do not believe is the case). The interaction between tort law and constitutional law is not one of artificial compartmentalization, but of seamless integration. An American citizen, at least in theory, cannot be condemned in tort *by an American court* for exercising a fundamental constitutional right, even if such action is disapproved by a foreign or international body of law.
Furthermore, it is a given that Ugandan law is not the issue, i.e., has not been breached by Lively. The only possible basis is international law, which is basically treaty law, including any relevant UN agreements or “understandings,” and so falls under the precedent of Reid v Covert and similar such cases, which have uniformly recognized positive, fundamental constitutional rights as superior to and unaffected by treaty.
So you cant keep free speech out of it. Tort law requires there to be a duty, a breach of that duty, and a causal, legally proximate relationship between that breach of duty and some real harm in consequence. For Americans under the First Amendment, there is no duty to hide ones viewpoint due to hypothetical harms that may or may not result. Falsely shouting fire in a theatre is not expression of a viewpoint, but a reckless or perhaps malicious misrepresentation of physical facts. Stating that a government should discourage social and legal accommodation with homosexuality, on whatever grounds, is viewpoint expression, and that is protected, and could never be reasonably considered a breach of duty under tort.
Looks like an another attempt to extend the notion of vicarious liability. The allusion to RICO by this judge is interesting. Sure, that law was used to bring down the Italian Mob, so people think it’s a good thing and necessary tool for law enforcement. There have been unintended consequences that have had huge detriment to liberty, and more only now manifesting.
Day by day, the metaphors of the slippery slope and the camel’s nose become more obviously true.
You are wrong. The 1st Amendment is a restriction on Congress.
crowded theater scenario was part of a USSC ruling regarding the first amendment basically saying that the it doesn't absolutely constrain congress. This was in order to justify prosecution of anti-draft literature/fliers in WWI, which is exactly the sort of political speech the founding fathers had in mind. — Basically this ruling is the same thing that Wickard was: refusal to smack down an overreaching Congress.