An ACLU Lawsuit for Corlyss to Fume About!

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Ralph
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An ACLU Lawsuit for Corlyss to Fume About!

Post by Ralph » Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:17 pm

Agreement reached on controversial yearbook photo

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) -- A school district that initially refused to publish a yearbook photo showing a senior dressed in chain mail and holding a sword has agreed to print it after all, lawyers for both sides said Monday.

School officials still believe their decision to ban Patrick Agin's photo was correct, but they face a $600,000 deficit and couldn't afford the legal fight, said the district's attorney, Stephen Robinson.

"It was strictly a cost-benefit analysis in the matter," he said.

Agin, 17, dressed in costume for his senior photo. He belongs to the Society for Creative Anachronism, a group of 35,000 dues-paying members who stage mock battles, learn arts like calligraphy and conduct demonstrations in shopping malls.

Portsmouth High officials claimed the photo violated the school's "zero-tolerance" policy for weapons. Agin and his mother sued with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, saying the decision infringed his right to free speech.

The school district will also pay $2,000 in legal fees, the ACLU said.

The state education commissioner this month ordered the district to print the photo. School officials can regulate the yearbook's content, the commissioner said, but rules were being enforced unfairly, since past editions of the yearbook contain photos of toy guns, arrows and a knife. The school band's banner depicts a rifle-toting patriot.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/EDUCATION/01/30 ... index.html
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Re: An ACLU Lawsuit for Corlyss to Fume About!

Post by Madame » Tue Jan 30, 2007 6:13 pm

Ralph wrote:Agreement reached on controversial yearbook photo

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) -- A school district that initially refused to publish a yearbook photo showing a senior dressed in chain mail and holding a sword has agreed to print it after all, lawyers for both sides said Monday.

School officials still believe their decision to ban Patrick Agin's photo was correct, but they face a $600,000 deficit and couldn't afford the legal fight, said the district's attorney, Stephen Robinson.

"It was strictly a cost-benefit analysis in the matter," he said.

Agin, 17, dressed in costume for his senior photo. He belongs to the Society for Creative Anachronism, a group of 35,000 dues-paying members who stage mock battles, learn arts like calligraphy and conduct demonstrations in shopping malls.

Portsmouth High officials claimed the photo violated the school's "zero-tolerance" policy for weapons. Agin and his mother sued with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, saying the decision infringed his right to free speech.

The school district will also pay $2,000 in legal fees, the ACLU said.

The state education commissioner this month ordered the district to print the photo. School officials can regulate the yearbook's content, the commissioner said, but rules were being enforced unfairly, since past editions of the yearbook contain photos of toy guns, arrows and a knife. The school band's banner depicts a rifle-toting patriot.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/EDUCATION/01/30 ... index.html
Good lord -- someone needs to get a life.

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Post by burnitdown » Tue Jan 30, 2007 11:55 pm

We're forcing kids to grow up too fast, I think. They shouldn't be worried about lawsuits yet.

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Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:14 pm

burnitdown wrote:We're forcing kids to grow up too fast, I think. They shouldn't be worried about lawsuits yet.
In this case the "kid" initiated the lawsuit...
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Post by Stonebraker » Wed Jan 31, 2007 7:14 pm

At one point in my life, I was interested in joining the SCA. That urge has long passed.

Regardless, this is just another situation where the ACLU makes me wonder:

1. Who supports them, and why?
2. How are they funded, and why?
3. How do they pick their cases, and why?
4. WHY????
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Post by Ralph » Wed Jan 31, 2007 7:35 pm

Stonebraker wrote:At one point in my life, I was interested in joining the SCA. That urge has long passed.

Regardless, this is just another situation where the ACLU makes me wonder:

1. Who supports them, and why?
Many people committed to constitutional values that the ACLU defends. I'm one of them. Supporting the ACLU, or any organization, doesn't mean being in agreement with all policies and acts.
2. How are they funded, and why?
Contributions and benefits.
3. How do they pick their cases, and why?
The national ACLU only takes cases believed to have major significance. Local cooperating attorneys take cases that involve constitutional issues, usually First Amendment matters.
4. WHY????
Why not? :)
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Post by burnitdown » Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:48 pm

living_stradivarius wrote:
burnitdown wrote:We're forcing kids to grow up too fast, I think. They shouldn't be worried about lawsuits yet.
In this case the "kid" initiated the lawsuit...
Yes, I know.

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Post by Stonebraker » Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:00 pm

Ralph wrote:Why not? :)
NAMBLA?

Edit: need i say more?
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Post by Ralph » Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:33 pm

Stonebraker wrote:
Ralph wrote:Why not? :)
NAMBLA?

Edit: need i say more?
*****

Sure. NAMBLA as an organization has the same constitutional rights as the Ku Klux Klan. No more, no less.
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Post by jbuck919 » Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:47 pm

Ralph wrote:
Stonebraker wrote:
Ralph wrote:Why not? :)
NAMBLA?

Edit: need i say more?
*****

Sure. NAMBLA as an organization has the same constitutional rights as the Ku Klux Klan.
And it is in about the same state of Tithonus-like decrepitude as the KKK, and has about as much as that to do with the case at hand.

Amplifying slightly, the ACLU has a very long and distinguished history, including having funded Clarence Darrow (who was not afraid to collect fat fees on other cases) in crucial court tests such as the Scopes Trial and the Leopold Loeb case, which he argued (successfully) as an anti-death-penalty case approximately seventy years before the death penalty was abolished in the US as uncivilized. Oh, I forgot, it wasn't.

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Post by RebLem » Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:55 pm

Stonebraker wrote:At one point in my life, I was interested in joining the SCA. That urge has long passed.

Regardless, this is just another situation where the ACLU makes me wonder:

1. Who supports them, and why?
2. How are they funded, and why?
3. How do they pick their cases, and why?
4. WHY????
They are funded partly by the dues of their members. I am proud to say that this coming November, I will celebrate my 40th anniversary as an ACLU member. They are funded party by bequests in wills, and by the Roger Baldwin Foundation. Roger Baldwin was the founder of the ACLU back in the teens of the 20th century. He was, I understand, a rather prosperous fellow, and some of the ACLU's needs are met by his foundation and estate.

People who support the ACLU are people who believe in the rule of law. That is our motivation. They pick cases on the basis of whether or not a particular case presents an issue of rights or not. For example, if you burn an American flag which you own, the ACLU will defend your right to do so against all comers. However, if you burn someone else's flag, and you are charged, not with flag desecration but with vandalism and destruction of the property of another person or entity, the ACLU will not defend you--unless, of course, there is substantial evidence that the charge is bogus.
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Post by jbuck919 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 4:25 am

(I would just like to add to Rob's statement that according to the flag code private burning is considered the proper way to dispose of a US flag that has become soiled or tattered to the point where it can no longer be decently displayed.)

I am reminded of a scene from the very problematic but classic movie The Manchurian Candidate in which the "good" senator tells the hero that the wife of the "bad" senator (who wants to do to the US what the current president of Venezuela is doing there) that the latter is after him because he once won a defamation lawsuit against them and gave the entire award to the ACLU.

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Post by Stonebraker » Sat Feb 03, 2007 11:17 am

Ralph wrote:
*****

Sure. NAMBLA as an organization has the same constitutional rights as the Ku Klux Klan. No more, no less.
I just don't see why it's necessary to spend money and man hours to help defend the rights of an organization that supports abusing children.

Then again, I didn't see why we had to spend millions of dollars saving Barbaro. I think an organization with the resources that the ACLU has would be much better served to use those resources in many other arenas, and I don't see why that is such a hard thing to understand. It's hard to argue with "constitutional rights", but I think it's easy to understand the logic behind why organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and NAMBLA do not contribute to the overall advancement of human beings. Again, it's hard to argue with "constitutional rights", but our forefathers weren't correct on everything, and I assume they expected the human beings in the United States over two hundred years later to use reasoning to interpret the constitution.

Whatever happened to the right to own another human being? Slavery can work wonders for any economy, and it sure helped foster the growth of the USA into the power it is today, but what was absolute over 200 years ago isn't absolute today.
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Post by keaggy220 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:13 pm

The ACLU usually (not always) takes cases that further liberal agendas and the ACLJ usually takes cases that further the cause of conservative values.

I have no doubt in my mind that the ACLU would *not* have defended this child if this chain mail had been a replica from the crusades with a cross on the chest.

The problem I have with the ACLU is that I believe that they are disingenuous about their mission.

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Post by Ralph » Sat Feb 03, 2007 2:59 pm

keaggy220 wrote:The ACLU usually (not always) takes cases that further liberal agendas and the ACLJ usually takes cases that further the cause of conservative values.

I have no doubt in my mind that the ACLU would *not* have defended this child if this chain mail had been a replica from the crusades with a cross on the chest.

The problem I have with the ACLU is that I believe that they are disingenuous about their mission.
*****

The ACLU has defended racists and bigotss and I have participated in several such cases. The key to whether the ACLU accepts a case is whether there is an important First Amendment issue involved relating to speech, public assembly or the press. While the ACLU litigates some First Amendment Free Exercise issues, that part of the constitutional spectrum is well represented on the liberal side by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and on the conservative side by the Rutherford Institute.
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Post by keaggy220 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 4:19 pm

Ralph wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:The ACLU usually (not always) takes cases that further liberal agendas and the ACLJ usually takes cases that further the cause of conservative values.

I have no doubt in my mind that the ACLU would *not* have defended this child if this chain mail had been a replica from the crusades with a cross on the chest.

The problem I have with the ACLU is that I believe that they are disingenuous about their mission.
*****

The ACLU has defended racists and bigotss and I have participated in several such cases. The key to whether the ACLU accepts a case is whether there is an important First Amendment issue involved relating to speech, public assembly or the press. While the ACLU litigates some First Amendment Free Exercise issues, that part of the constitutional spectrum is well represented on the liberal side by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and on the conservative side by the Rutherford Institute.
This is one example of many regarding the intentions of the ACLU. With 300 million people in this country and all the issues surrounding all of the poor and downtrodden each and every day the ACLU felt that this case was worthy of their attention. This is what I mean by disingenuous:

In 1934, a gritty prospector named J. Riley Bembry gathered a couple of his fellow World War I veterans at Sunrise Rock. Together they erected the cross, in honor of their fallen comrades. The memorial has been privately maintained ever since, with small groups still occasionally meeting to remember the nation’s veterans.

A wrinkle developed in 1994, when the federal government declared the surrounding area a national preserve. With the cross now located on newly public land, the memorial soon caught the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union. Working with Frank Buono, a retired park ranger turned professional activist, the ACLU demanded that the National Park Service tear down the cross.

Mr. Buono insists that his seeing the monument (”two to four times a year”) violates his civil rights. A federal district court found in his favor, and the decision was subsequently upheld by the Ninth Circuit. Last-ditch attempts to deed Sunrise Rock over to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars were struck down in April. Defenders of the memorial hope to appeal, but their options are narrowing.

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Post by jbuck919 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 4:43 pm

keaggy220 wrote:In 1934, a gritty prospector named J. Riley Bembry gathered a couple of his fellow World War I veterans at Sunrise Rock. Together they erected the cross, in honor of their fallen comrades. The memorial has been privately maintained ever since, with small groups still occasionally meeting to remember the nation’s veterans.

A wrinkle developed in 1994, when the federal government declared the surrounding area a national preserve. With the cross now located on newly public land, the memorial soon caught the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union. Working with Frank Buono, a retired park ranger turned professional activist, the ACLU demanded that the National Park Service tear down the cross.

Mr. Buono insists that his seeing the monument (”two to four times a year”) violates his civil rights. A federal district court found in his favor, and the decision was subsequently upheld by the Ninth Circuit. Last-ditch attempts to deed Sunrise Rock over to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars were struck down in April. Defenders of the memorial hope to appeal, but their options are narrowing.
I doubt very much that "seeing something two to four times a year" all by itself violates anyone's rights. I had to look at "Our Lady of the Highways" on the way up the JFK Memorial Highway (I-95 as it passes through Maryland) three to four times a year for 25 years and it never occurred to me that my rights were being violated. Also, the last I heard, there was no initiative to remove cruciform structures or reliefs on Civil War battlefields. There is obviously something else going on here. Contrary to popular opinion, US courts do not interdict symbols on First Amendment grounds for light reasons.

I do not know if the ACLU was involved in the original school prayer decision (O'Hare v whatever), but if we did not have advocacy for first amendement rights, the United States would at the very best have to pay as much attention to extreme right fundamentalist Christianity as Israel does to ultra-Orthodox Judaism. More likely, our public schools would be open forums for blatant proselytizing with non-Christian students being relegated to second-class status. If the price we must pay is the defense of the right to free speech of a very marginalized group that exists on a monitored and emasculated basis, then it is well worth it.

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Post by Ralph » Sat Feb 03, 2007 4:44 pm

keaggy220 wrote:
Ralph wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:The ACLU usually (not always) takes cases that further liberal agendas and the ACLJ usually takes cases that further the cause of conservative values.

I have no doubt in my mind that the ACLU would *not* have defended this child if this chain mail had been a replica from the crusades with a cross on the chest.

The problem I have with the ACLU is that I believe that they are disingenuous about their mission.
*****

The ACLU has defended racists and bigotss and I have participated in several such cases. The key to whether the ACLU accepts a case is whether there is an important First Amendment issue involved relating to speech, public assembly or the press. While the ACLU litigates some First Amendment Free Exercise issues, that part of the constitutional spectrum is well represented on the liberal side by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and on the conservative side by the Rutherford Institute.
This is one example of many regarding the intentions of the ACLU. With 300 million people in this country and all the issues surrounding all of the poor and downtrodden each and every day the ACLU felt that this case was worthy of their attention. This is what I mean by disingenuous:

In 1934, a gritty prospector named J. Riley Bembry gathered a couple of his fellow World War I veterans at Sunrise Rock. Together they erected the cross, in honor of their fallen comrades. The memorial has been privately maintained ever since, with small groups still occasionally meeting to remember the nation’s veterans.

A wrinkle developed in 1994, when the federal government declared the surrounding area a national preserve. With the cross now located on newly public land, the memorial soon caught the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union. Working with Frank Buono, a retired park ranger turned professional activist, the ACLU demanded that the National Park Service tear down the cross.

Mr. Buono insists that his seeing the monument (”two to four times a year”) violates his civil rights. A federal district court found in his favor, and the decision was subsequently upheld by the Ninth Circuit. Last-ditch attempts to deed Sunrise Rock over to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars were struck down in April. Defenders of the memorial hope to appeal, but their options are narrowing.
******

There is no place on public property for a religious symbol other than as either an historical artifact, which few are, or as part of a seasonal holiday display. True, the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and States have brought many of these lawsuits but the controlling law was pronounced by the Supreme Court. Defendants in these actions are uniformly well-represented by able counsel.

What is "disingenuous" about the ACLU's mission or that of its opposite, The Rutherford Institute? Both proclaim clearly and loudly their values and goals and when litigation is brought courts decide the issue.
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Post by keaggy220 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 5:53 pm

Ralph wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:
Ralph wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:The ACLU usually (not always) takes cases that further liberal agendas and the ACLJ usually takes cases that further the cause of conservative values.

I have no doubt in my mind that the ACLU would *not* have defended this child if this chain mail had been a replica from the crusades with a cross on the chest.

The problem I have with the ACLU is that I believe that they are disingenuous about their mission.
*****

The ACLU has defended racists and bigotss and I have participated in several such cases. The key to whether the ACLU accepts a case is whether there is an important First Amendment issue involved relating to speech, public assembly or the press. While the ACLU litigates some First Amendment Free Exercise issues, that part of the constitutional spectrum is well represented on the liberal side by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and on the conservative side by the Rutherford Institute.
This is one example of many regarding the intentions of the ACLU. With 300 million people in this country and all the issues surrounding all of the poor and downtrodden each and every day the ACLU felt that this case was worthy of their attention. This is what I mean by disingenuous:

In 1934, a gritty prospector named J. Riley Bembry gathered a couple of his fellow World War I veterans at Sunrise Rock. Together they erected the cross, in honor of their fallen comrades. The memorial has been privately maintained ever since, with small groups still occasionally meeting to remember the nation’s veterans.

A wrinkle developed in 1994, when the federal government declared the surrounding area a national preserve. With the cross now located on newly public land, the memorial soon caught the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union. Working with Frank Buono, a retired park ranger turned professional activist, the ACLU demanded that the National Park Service tear down the cross.

Mr. Buono insists that his seeing the monument (”two to four times a year”) violates his civil rights. A federal district court found in his favor, and the decision was subsequently upheld by the Ninth Circuit. Last-ditch attempts to deed Sunrise Rock over to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars were struck down in April. Defenders of the memorial hope to appeal, but their options are narrowing.
******

There is no place on public property for a religious symbol other than as either an historical artifact, which few are, or as part of a seasonal holiday display. True, the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and States have brought many of these lawsuits but the controlling law was pronounced by the Supreme Court. Defendants in these actions are uniformly well-represented by able counsel.

What is "disingenuous" about the ACLU's mission or that of its opposite, The Rutherford Institute? Both proclaim clearly and loudly their values and goals and when litigation is brought courts decide the issue.
I'm not stating whether this case should be legal or not - really I could care less, because like many people in this country I've lost a tremendous amount of respect in our legal system since most federal judges are only interested in twisting the constitution to fit their beliefs (both liberal and conservative) - and don't even get more started about how I feel about lawyers (I know they are not all bad.)

My point is that the ACLU says that it's mission is protecting first amendment rights, but they take a case like this - with such unbelievably insignificant impact - especially considering the fact that the memorial was established 50 years before the government decided to takeover the property AND it was being maintained privately as a way to honor veterans of Christian faith who died while in service to this country. It seems that the ACLU agenda is to get a good fundraising letter out to the zealots with a good story on how they slapped small town America up side the head with handful of liberal vengeance. This type of fundraising is nothing new, but it's a shame that the ACLU fundraising machine negatively impacts good people, with good intentions, who are really harming no one.

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Post by Ralph » Sat Feb 03, 2007 6:07 pm

No First Amendment claim that has a colorable basis is insignificant. Some have greater impact than others.

There has never been a time in American history when there hasn't been significant dislike of Supreme Court decisions and distrust of the Supreme Court.
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Post by keaggy220 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 6:20 pm

Ralph wrote:No First Amendment claim that has a colorable basis is insignificant. Some have greater impact than others.
I'm assuming you are a lawyer? Only a lawyer could've made the above statement.
Ralph wrote:There has never been a time in American history when there hasn't been significant dislike of Supreme Court decisions and distrust of the Supreme Court.
Agreed, but I said disrespect.

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Post by Ralph » Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:47 pm

keaggy220 wrote:
Ralph wrote:No First Amendment claim that has a colorable basis is insignificant. Some have greater impact than others.
I'm assuming you are a lawyer? Only a lawyer could've made the above statement.
Ralph wrote:There has never been a time in American history when there hasn't been significant dislike of Supreme Court decisions and distrust of the Supreme Court.
Agreed, but I said disrespect.
*****

I'm a lawyer and a professor of constitutional law and history and have been for over three decades. I've litigated many First Amendment cases at the trial and appellate level. And one doesn't have to be a lawyer to understand the role of constitutional litigation in defining, advancing and protecting individual rights. Conservatives and liberals will agree with that. Those whose view of the law, coiurts and judges are essentially political sound bites won't.

Take the time to study our Constitution and its history and then read some opinions. You may well dislike many decisions - I certainly do. But no country has ever benefited more from a constitution interpreted by a high court than ours.
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Post by jbuck919 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:02 pm

keaggy220 wrote: I'm assuming you are a lawyer? Only a lawyer could've made the above statement.
I had to remind myself that when I had 143 posts I probably was also unaware that Ralph is a lawyer. :wink:

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Post by Ralph » Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:37 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
keaggy220 wrote: I'm assuming you are a lawyer? Only a lawyer could've made the above statement.
I had to remind myself that when I had 143 posts I probably was also unaware that Ralph is a lawyer. :wink:
*****

Me too.
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Post by CharmNewton » Sat Feb 03, 2007 10:08 pm

RebLem wrote:
Stonebraker wrote:At one point in my life, I was interested in joining the SCA. That urge has long passed.

Regardless, this is just another situation where the ACLU makes me wonder:

1. Who supports them, and why?
2. How are they funded, and why?
3. How do they pick their cases, and why?
4. WHY????
They are funded partly by the dues of their members. I am proud to say that this coming November, I will celebrate my 40th anniversary as an ACLU member. They are funded party by bequests in wills, and by the Roger Baldwin Foundation. Roger Baldwin was the founder of the ACLU back in the teens of the 20th century. He was, I understand, a rather prosperous fellow, and some of the ACLU's needs are met by his foundation and estate.

People who support the ACLU are people who believe in the rule of law. That is our motivation. They pick cases on the basis of whether or not a particular case presents an issue of rights or not. For example, if you burn an American flag which you own, the ACLU will defend your right to do so against all comers. However, if you burn someone else's flag, and you are charged, not with flag desecration but with vandalism and destruction of the property of another person or entity, the ACLU will not defend you--unless, of course, there is substantial evidence that the charge is bogus.
Your dues in action.

http://www.operationlookout.org/lookout ... nambla.htm

John

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Post by keaggy220 » Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:24 am

Ralph wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:
Ralph wrote:No First Amendment claim that has a colorable basis is insignificant. Some have greater impact than others.
I'm assuming you are a lawyer? Only a lawyer could've made the above statement.
Ralph wrote:There has never been a time in American history when there hasn't been significant dislike of Supreme Court decisions and distrust of the Supreme Court.
Agreed, but I said disrespect.
*****

I'm a lawyer and a professor of constitutional law and history and have been for over three decades. I've litigated many First Amendment cases at the trial and appellate level. And one doesn't have to be a lawyer to understand the role of constitutional litigation in defining, advancing and protecting individual rights. Conservatives and liberals will agree with that. Those whose view of the law, coiurts and judges are essentially political sound bites won't.

Take the time to study our Constitution and its history and then read some opinions. You may well dislike many decisions - I certainly do. But no country has ever benefited more from a constitution interpreted by a high court than ours.
Well, my point isn't that I don't think the role of constitutional litigation is important. Also, since you are a lawyer I am convinced that you believe in the importance of litigating even what many may consider "hair splitting" issues concerning the first amendment - no matter what the cost... Certainly the case I cited would fit this description. The ACLU coming to small town America pointing their well funded satelite guided missiles at this group of people who were just trying to remember the special sacrifice some soldiers made so long ago and they got taught a lesson from the swift hand of the law.

I'm sure the fundraising letter to the zealots was effective that month and the park ranger probably got a good chuckle out of it.

The only thing worse than lawyers is not having lawyers. :)

keaggy220
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:42 pm
Location: Washington DC Area

Post by keaggy220 » Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:26 am

jbuck919 wrote:
keaggy220 wrote: I'm assuming you are a lawyer? Only a lawyer could've made the above statement.
I had to remind myself that when I had 143 posts I probably was also unaware that Ralph is a lawyer. :wink:
If I were a lawyer I wouldn't go spreading it around either... :lol:

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