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Bush’s attempts to stifle free speech

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April 16, 2007

Lawyers in Denver are arguing that President Bush has the right to remove from an audience people who disagree with him.

The case involves two people ejected from a taxpayer-funded Bush speech two years ago.

Leslie Weise and Alex Young were removed from a Bush address on Social Security after a staffer for Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., pointed them out as suspicious because they had arrived in a car with an anti-war bumper sticker.

Weise and Young sued, arguing that the ouster violated their First Amendment right to free speech.

Attorneys for Michael Casper and Jay Klinkerman, who were involved in removing them, have filed an appeals brief saying the ouster was legal.

“The president’s right to control his own message includes the right to exclude people expressing discordant viewpoints from the audience,” says the brief, filed by attorneys Sean Gallagher, Dugan Bliss and others representing Casper and Klinkerman.

The White House declined comment, citing the ongoing lawsuit. Three White House staffers have also been sued in the case for ordering the ouster.

Gallagher said the White House was not involved in developing the argument.

The appeal centers on “whose speech is at issue — the president’s or the plaintiffs’?” the brief says.

Weise responded, “My read of the Constitution does not give the president free speech rights greater than the citizens he serves.”

Martha Tierney, attorney for Weise and Young, described the argument as “pretty amazing.” She said it claims her clients’ mere attendance forced the government to adopt their views.

Casper’s attorneys cited a case, Sistrunk vs. City of Strongsville, involving the first President George Bush. There, an appeals court supported the removal of a person with a Bill Clinton button from an event organized by the Republican Party.

The speech organizers were trying to “convey a pro-Bush message to the media by use of pro-Bush speakers and largely pro-Bush attendees,” they quote the case. They wanted to ‘send the media a message’ that Bush would win; to convey the message that ‘Strongsville Trusts George Bush.’ ”

But Tierney said that the cited case doesn’t apply because it was a Republican Party event, “and a private party can control speech.” The Denver speech was open to the public and paid for by taxpayers, she said.

If the argument that the government can exclude people based on their views is supported by the appeals court, “it guts the First Amendment,” Tierney said.

Alan Chen, a University of Denver law professor, agreed.

“The whole purpose is to protect dissenters from the government,” he said. “That’s an inherent element of the democratic process.”

–ANN IMSE

(Reach Ann Imse at imsea(at)rockymountainnews.com)

11 Responses to Bush’s attempts to stifle free speech

  1. Cashel Boylo

    April 17, 2007 at 3:38 am

    Hitler’s financiers provided free beer for anybody who would attend a Nazi Party Beer Hall Rally but tolerated no opposition or even discussion. Nazi Stormtroopers severely beat any dissenters.
    In the 1923 “Munich Beer Hall Putsch” Hitler stormed an opponent’s rally with 600 SA Stormtroopers, set up a machinegun aimed at the exit doors, fired a shot and declared the Munich and Berlin governments deposed.
    The Munich Putsch failed, but Hitler held to the free beer and thuggery tactic, by 1933 it succeeded and the whole world paid the price.
    As the Bush Dictatorship further unravels, we may see some similar tactical development at his meetings.
    Not to mention a Bush Putsch.

    Cashel Boylo

  2. Carl Nemo

    April 17, 2007 at 4:25 am

    I must compliment you Cashel on your posts. I’ve focused on them for some time and you are always on-the-mark with your analysis. As far as censorship and crowd/audience control is concerned it’s been going on for quite some time, with each presidential convention becoming more restrictive and folks either being arrested or expelled from gatherings where these elected mattoids speak. If we could go back to 1880 or so if these elected candidates or those running for office pumped out their screed to the gathered audience they would be assaulted with rotten fruit, maybe even dung and if they were bad enough they might have been run out of town either on foot or tarred and feathered on a rail. I’m not kidding either; that’s the kind of starch Americans had within that made this country great both through their sacrifice and labors. Nowadays everyone is a politcally correct, overly polite, over-educated “wimp”…! We as a nation are going down hard, an ugly scenario indeed! Most people will be living by the railroad tracks in tarpaper shacks, spearing rats with fire-hardened sticks, wondering where they went wrong…! :|

  3. Roadapple00

    April 16, 2007 at 9:40 am

    Leslie Weise and Alex Young shouldn’t feel too bad about this, after all ‘W’ has done this time and time again. If someone on his staff or in his cabinet disagrees with him, he just fires them and gets somebody who will agree with him.

  4. gene

    April 16, 2007 at 10:28 am

    Dam, shit, f**k, lawyers? argueing this idiot (a public servant…laughing) has the right to do WHAT? Talk about over!! Called my sister and told her and I think her reaction was….”brother have you been drinking again?”.. Yes!! and what does THAT have to do with THIS?

    Dam, have to say I truely am impressed (the wrong kind) with this bit of news. WOW!!!!!!!a thousand times.

  5. Bill Jonke

    April 16, 2007 at 10:31 am

    It doesn’t matter; bush is an idiot, but he doesn’t want people telling him so.

    Pleasure of the president, my ass!

  6. Sandy Price

    April 16, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    If they were trying to outshout Bush, then they should have been removed. We must remember that Bush also has freedoms to make his points (so matter how foul they may be). I do not believe in civil disobediance but carrying a few signs or passing out information should remain legal.

  7. geyser

    April 16, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Taking One Day at a Time

    Didn’t those people know they had to be there early to get the phrase when to applaude, when to laugh and Standing Ovation? They would be out of sync with the rest of the crowd.
    Every day we get closer to a Dictatorship. Did Sen Allard ask them if the car was theirs or just borrowed, was it recently purchased, with the Bumper Sticker still attached? How does one prove to be a bush supporter? Maybe they went to the speech to decide if they wanted to be a bush loyalist. Sen. Allard, did he get a Door Prize for his picking out a possible subversive or did he just get points, to add to his number. He wants the cheney Shotgun that blew the face off the lawyer, it’s worth 5000 points, Allard only has 3000.
    It must be so nice to be a Republican and think of ways to support the Ego Maniac and give it in the ass to a fellow American. Something like the Germans, pointing out their Jewish use to be Friends.
    It is getting very dark my friends, bush becomes more dangerous day by day. We must pound it into the Democrats and have them Impeach bush, before they lose that freedom and power.

  8. SEAL

    April 16, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    Alan Chen, a University of Denver law professor, agreed.

    “The whole purpose is to protect dissenters from the government,” he said. “That’s an inherent element of the democratic process.”

    I don’t see this as having anything to do with the “democratic process” nor do I like referring to it as “free speach.” It is about tyranny. That word you see so often when you read the Declaration of Independence, and all the historical documents, letters, and so forth of the people who founded this nation. Tyranny by a government or a majority or a religion or any thing else. Being free of tyranny was basis for the revolt. If the courts grant Bush’s people the power to remove dissenters from a public meeting simply because the disagree with him they will be reestablishing tyranny in the United States Of America.

  9. Razor

    April 16, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Fraid your too late Seal. Tyranny is alive and well since 2000 when the tyricanal party took the reins. And looking at the way that Homeland Security is entwined with military and mercenary forces, its about to get alot worse.

  10. mooseman

    April 17, 2007 at 12:19 am

    Don’t we ever learn; we certainly forget!

    There was a similiar scene over 60 years ago at Madison Square Garden in New York City where protesters were forcibly removed for protesting the speaker and his message.

    The difference? The “security guards” wore Nazi armbands! Yes, here in the U.S.

    We know that Bush and his cronies were afraid to go into the armed forces. What are they afraid of now?

  11. SEAL

    April 17, 2007 at 1:54 am

    Razor, the difference is that the court’s decision would make it official fact. A precedence to be used against anyone in much more serious events. A matter of a court ruling becoming law. Tyranny would become legal. and with their stacked courts they would use that precedence to expand tyranny to other matters.

    This is why it is imperative that we not lose this case.