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Can the Secret Service Tell You To Shut Up?
Townhall.com ^ | March 15, 2012 | Judge Andrew Napolitano

Posted on 03/16/2012 5:35:04 AM PDT by Kaslin

The First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the government from infringing upon the freedom of speech, the freedom of association and the freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Speech is language and other forms of expression; and association and petition connote physical presence in reasonable proximity to those of like mind and to government officials, so as to make your opinions known to them.

The Declaration of Independence recognizes all three freedoms as stemming from our humanity. So, what happens if you can speak freely, but the government officials at whom your speech is aimed refuse to hear you? And what happens if your right to associate and to petition the government is confined to areas where those of like mind and the government are not present? This is coming to a street corner near you.

Certain rights, like thought and privacy and travel, can be exercised on their own. You don't need the government to cooperate with you; you just need to be left alone. Other rights, like those intended to influence the political process, require that the government not resist your exercise of them. Remember the old one-liner from Philosophy 101: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there, does it make any noise? Here's the contemporary version of that: If you can criticize the government, but it refuses to hear you, does your exercise of the freedom of speech have any value?

When the Framers of the Constitution wrote the First Amendment, they lived in a society in which anyone could walk up to George Washington or John Adams or Thomas Jefferson on a public street and say directly to them whatever one wished. They never dreamed of a regal-like force of armed agents keeping public officials away from the public, as we have today. And they never imagined that it could be a felony for anyone to congregate in public within earshot or eyesight of certain government officials. And yet, today in America, it is.

Last week, President Obama signed into law the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. This law permits Secret Service agents to designate any place they wish as a place where free speech, association and petition of the government are prohibited. And it permits the Secret Service to make these determinations based on the content of speech.

Thus, federal agents whose work is to protect public officials and their friends may prohibit the speech and the gatherings of folks who disagree with those officials or permit the speech and the gatherings of those who would praise them, even though the First Amendment condemns content-based speech discrimination by the government. The new law also provides that anyone who gathers in a "restricted" area may be prosecuted. And because the statute does not require the government to prove intent, a person accidentally in a restricted area can be charged and prosecuted, as well.

Permitting people to express publicly their opinions to the president only at a time and in a place and manner such that he cannot hear them violates the First Amendment because it guarantees the right to useful speech; and unheard political speech is politically useless. The same may be said of the rights to associate and to petition. If peaceful public assembly and public expression of political demands on the government can be restricted to places where government officials cannot be confronted, then those rights, too, have been neutered.

Political speech is in the highest category of protected speech. This is not about drowning out the president in the Oval Office. This is about letting him know what we think of his work when he leaves the White House. This is speech intended to influence the political process.

This abominable legislation enjoyed overwhelming support from both political parties in Congress because the establishment loves power, fears dissent and hates inconvenience, and it doesn't give a damn about the Constitution. It passed the Senate by unanimous consent, and only three members of the House voted against it. And the president signed it in secret. It is more typical of contemporary China than America. It is more George III than George Washington.

The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to assure open, wide, robust, uninhibited political debate, debate that can be seen and heard by those it seeks to challenge and influence, whether it is convenient for them or not. Anything short of that turns the First Amendment into a mirage.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial
KEYWORDS: firstamendment; freespeech; freespeechzones; napolitano; secretservice; usss

1 posted on 03/16/2012 5:35:06 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

They can TELL me whatever they want to tell me. Will it happen or not is another story!


2 posted on 03/16/2012 5:36:25 AM PDT by rfreedom4u (Just because someone thinks it's a good idea doesn't make it legal.)
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To: Kaslin

Now that will certainly go to court as I am sure someone is going to test it.


3 posted on 03/16/2012 5:36:30 AM PDT by sigzero
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To: Kaslin

Yes.


4 posted on 03/16/2012 5:37:10 AM PDT by allmost
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To: sigzero
Now that will certainly go to court as I am sure someone is going to test it.

Would that be the same court which ruled in favor of both Campaign Finance Reform and Eminent Domain?

5 posted on 03/16/2012 5:38:39 AM PDT by SIDENET ("If that's your best, your best won't do." -Dee Snider)
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To: Kaslin

The Secret Service can do whatever it damned well pleases and there’s not a thing we can do about it.


6 posted on 03/16/2012 5:40:27 AM PDT by Roccus
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To: Kaslin
This law permits Secret Service agents to designate any place they wish as a place where free speech, association and petition of the government are prohibited. And it permits the Secret Service to make these determinations based on the content of speech.

"Any place"?

Could that be a big place, you know, like the whole country?

7 posted on 03/16/2012 5:41:45 AM PDT by SIDENET ("If that's your best, your best won't do." -Dee Snider)
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To: rfreedom4u; All

I agree...

Telling a S.S. agent “F.U.”, in the long run, cannot be construed as a refusal to obey a lawful order...

They might not like the term, and you might take a ride challenging it, but they are hoping enough sheeple comply and not cause any problems...

I can guarantee you that no democrat will understand, much less be throttled for breaking this law...

Somehow you’d think SCOTUS would step in and take care of this fantasy for the Administration, but when you got only 4 that would side on the BOR’s and the Constitution, this will never see the light of day in that chamber...


8 posted on 03/16/2012 5:45:47 AM PDT by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus' sayin')
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To: Roccus

Actually there is...It depenbds on what you are prepared to do about it, and what you are willing to sacrifice for it...


9 posted on 03/16/2012 5:47:11 AM PDT by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus' sayin')
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To: Kaslin

Praetorian Guard?


10 posted on 03/16/2012 5:53:29 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: stevie_d_64

Be careful what you say here, FRiend.


11 posted on 03/16/2012 5:55:05 AM PDT by Roccus
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To: Kaslin

lemme see...wasn’t their a previous incarnation of an SS with such authority? .....Europe ...Germany....70 years ago....


12 posted on 03/16/2012 5:57:34 AM PDT by mo (If you understand, no explanation is needed. If you don't understand, no explanation is possible.)
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To: Kaslin

Enforcement of this law will be the problem. I’m pretty sure law enforcement will not be willing to enforce it the way the lawmakers envision. Just as surely the law will be tested; Americans are not accustomed to being silenced, on either side of the political divide.

This fiasco has backfire written all over it. It’s an invitation to break the law, and makes it more likely, not less, that chaos and riot could ensue from benign and peaceful gatherings.


13 posted on 03/16/2012 5:58:14 AM PDT by wayoverontheright
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To: sigzero
My sister was silenced several years ago for a peaceful protest against then President Bush during his visit to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She went to court and was awarded $50,000 three years later. Of course were talking about a Republican President.
14 posted on 03/16/2012 6:03:05 AM PDT by Huskrrrr
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To: Kaslin

Come on they will just be “following orders” from das fuhrer and “fearless Reader”. You all remember how well that worked out the last time.

And NO, we cannot count on the USSC to issue a brilliant decision based solely upon the US Constitution as they have shown themselves to be NOTHING but political hacks with their endless stream of 5-4 decisions.

The USSC judges must have all gone to public school hence the inability to agree on the meaning of a rather short document describing the limits of government and the supremacy of citizens over that government. It takes a lawyer to screw things up this bad.

A computer, with a download of the US Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and the Federalist papers would do a much better job of making Constitutionally based decisions than these black robed traitors to all of us. If these morons cannot agree on our most basic founding document then how in the hell are we as average citizens (aka honest non-lawyers) supposed to know what the hundreds of thousands of pages of obscure legal hieroglyphs mean?

If 4 of the USSC judges cannot figure out the constitutionality of a law then, IMO, ignorance of the law is a very valid excuse.


15 posted on 03/16/2012 6:08:04 AM PDT by Wurlitzer (Welcome to the new USSA (United Socialist States of Amerika))
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To: Kaslin

Napolitano is right.

Coming from a Commissar near you.

Keeping the barrel clean.


16 posted on 03/16/2012 6:08:14 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Pray Continued Victory for our Troops Still in Afghan!)
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To: Kaslin
Photobucket
17 posted on 03/16/2012 6:15:40 AM PDT by baddog 219
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To: Kaslin

Free speech does not mean the government is obligated to provide you a venue nor an audience. It can be argued that what many view as free speech today is a product of “evolving constitutional standards”. Something we conservatives don’t generally like.

It’s difficult to believe that free speech is not mostly about protesting, but rather mostly about advocacy, the former is about abusing decorum to gain quick notoriety while the latter adheres to decorum for civil discourse.

In any course, I don’t know if the law being talked about is good bad or indifferent with regards to free speech. I do think that such laws come about because somebody was abusing the process and probably gaining traction against the opposition.

It’s likely the new laws will be used more to stifle somber and deliberate conservatives, only to be called into question when used versus hysterically radical leftists.


18 posted on 03/16/2012 6:20:02 AM PDT by Usagi_yo
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To: mo

The elite want to turn the USA into a concentration camp of isolated colonies with the only news being state propaganda with an immobile society for all except the elite. They will dictate the collective gene pools of each colony to achieve the desired effect. When one becomes ill, they become disposable. There will be no religion as we know it. This could all happen if the people remain stupid. The government needs to be declawed.


19 posted on 03/16/2012 6:20:15 AM PDT by Surrounded_too
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To: stevie_d_64

“I can guarantee you that no democrat will understand, much less be throttled for breaking this law...”

But wasn’t that the point of hussein signing this into law? Democrats will be given as much free speech as they want, but conservatives will be tossed in the brink and there won’t be a darn thng done about that.


20 posted on 03/16/2012 6:22:25 AM PDT by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
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To: Kaslin

Now, where were the RINOs when this travesty occurred?


21 posted on 03/16/2012 6:45:01 AM PDT by jennings2004 (President Hayes, Mount Rushmore, telephone, Dear Leader...what a mix!)
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To: sigzero
Now that will certainly go to court as I am sure someone is going to test it.

And that somebody will most likely be OWS. Pass the popcorn.
22 posted on 03/16/2012 7:04:06 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Kaslin

If the SS (coincidence here?) is holding the gun, you betcha.
If I’m the one holding the gun, not so much.

.


23 posted on 03/16/2012 7:20:43 AM PDT by flatfish
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To: Kaslin

“only three members of the House voted against it”

Anyone know who?


24 posted on 03/16/2012 7:34:32 AM PDT by nuconvert ( Khomeini promised change too // Hail, Chairman O)
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To: Kaslin
Judge Andrew Napolitano belongs on the Supreme Court.
25 posted on 03/16/2012 7:37:10 AM PDT by drypowder
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To: freeangel; Rocco

Welcome to the new normal...

Like I said before, and got some very welcomed cousel on my comment...

“What are you prepared to do about it, and what are you willing to sacrifice for it?”

It is your own personal line in the sand...No need to broadcast what you think you are going to do about it, if the line is crossed...

It is the ultimate gut-check question, one that is rhetorical, and does not need to be answered in a public forum...That has always been the intent of that statement/question, to illicite a personal, introspective look at yourself, and what is important to yuo and what you believe in...

All of us need to decide when enough is enough...And honestly, you may not know it till it happens...

The enemy of freedom has always been at the gates...We are losing the people we thought we had confidense in, to man the walls and that gate...

Time for us to ready up, and prepare to do what other do not have the guts to do...I believe we can still take care of the problem at the ballot box...When we totally lose that capability, I’m sure some folks will take an objective view of the situation at that time...

Just my opinion...


26 posted on 03/16/2012 7:44:48 AM PDT by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus' sayin')
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To: freeangel; Rocco; Roccus

Muh bad on the mis-direct...Sorry Rocco...But hey, you still might like the ping...


27 posted on 03/16/2012 7:46:17 AM PDT by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus' sayin')
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To: Kaslin; All
More details: H.R. 347: Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011

IMHO, we can blame the administration all we like, but why was this introduced by a Republican Congressman (Rep. Thomas Rooney [R-FL16]) and why did it pass a Republican dominated House?
28 posted on 03/16/2012 8:20:19 AM PDT by dmartin (Not the 'Change' you were 'Hoping' for?)
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To: Kaslin

Now, not only can they tell you to shut up, they can use deadly force against you if you don’t. And when they do wag after wag on this forum will opine and post that you got what you deserved and how heroicaly they shot you down. And for good measure they take out your wife, children and dog


29 posted on 03/16/2012 8:44:58 AM PDT by sport
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To: Kaslin
Thus, with no constitutional adherence, and a warped view of their job...They can bring their "restricted area" to any of their enemies and then silence them.

The SS needs to abide by their constitutional oathe....

30 posted on 03/16/2012 9:53:14 AM PDT by Paul Ross (Ronald Reagan-1987:"We are always willing to be trade partners but never trade patsies.")
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To: nuconvert

Ron Paul was one of the three. Don’t remember the other two names. They were both Republicans though.


31 posted on 03/16/2012 11:46:40 AM PDT by My hearts in London - Everett (Gingrich or bust!)
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To: My hearts in London - Everett

Paul Broun, and Justin Amash.

May God guide our course.
Tatt


32 posted on 03/16/2012 11:49:55 AM PDT by thesearethetimes... ("Courage, is fear that has said its prayers." Dorothy Bernard)
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To: Kaslin
(Article)
And the president signed it in secret. It is more typical of contemporary China than America. It is more George III than George Washington.

It's more George III than George III. This is Star Chamber stuff.

Cardinal Torquemada, call your office.

33 posted on 03/16/2012 11:56:37 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: jennings2004

Huh? What a dumb post


34 posted on 03/16/2012 12:06:46 PM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: rfreedom4u

Ya beat me to it!


35 posted on 03/16/2012 12:58:52 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: thesearethetimes...
May God guide our course.

47,000,000 doubt that it will occur...

36 posted on 03/16/2012 1:02:50 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: Kaslin

Why? See #28.


37 posted on 03/16/2012 3:59:14 PM PDT by jennings2004 (President Hayes, Mount Rushmore, telephone, Dear Leader...what a mix!)
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To: blueunicorn6

“Praetorian Guard?”

Janissaries.


38 posted on 03/16/2012 10:19:59 PM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: Kaslin

” - - - The First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the government from infringing upon the freedom of speech, the freedom of association and the freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Yep. Now who has the guts to enforce it? Certainly not the US House RINOs who voted for the FRBGI Act.


39 posted on 03/16/2012 10:30:49 PM PDT by Graewoulf (( obama"care" violates the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND is illegal by the U.S. Constitution.))
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