Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Open Season on Speech

Until the bill is declared un-Constitutional (and it is), you'd better have a lot of spare cash for the lawyers.

[T]he Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, ...which would broaden the protected classes for hate crimes to include sexual orientation and "gender identity," which the bill defines as a victim's "actual or perceived gender-related characteristics" -- passed the House earlier this year as a stand-alone measure. But it's never had the votes to succeed by itself in the Senate.

So the Senate found an acceptable compromise.

Republican Sen. Sam Brownback offered an amendment saying the bill could not be "construed or applied in a manner that infringes on any rights under the First Amendment" and could not place any burden on the exercise of First Amendment rights "if such exercise of religion, speech, expression, or association was not intended to plan or prepare for an act of physical violence or incite an imminent act of physical violence against another."

The Senate passed Brownback's amendment.

The House has other ideas about the 1st Amendment, however.

Then lawmakers made some crucial changes to Brownback's amendment. Where Brownback had insisted, and the full Senate had agreed, that the bill could not burden the exercise of First Amendment rights, the conference changed the wording to read that the bill could not burden the exercise of First Amendment rights "unless the government demonstrates ... a compelling governmental interest" to do otherwise.

That means your First Amendment rights are protected -- unless they're not.

QueenNancy played other games with the bill which you can learn about at the link. And the bill will be declared un-Constitutional, sometime.

It will be interesting to note how Feingold votes on this abomination.


Deekaman said...

it is not possible for the government to have a "compelling....interest" in infringing free speech. My concern is that the courts are so full of "true believers" that this WILL become the law of the land.

Billiam said...

I've believed for a long time that politicians are not to be trusted. I've also believed, for even longer, that Democrat Pols are never to be trusted. If there's one party that believes that Free Speech is only that which THEY agree with, it's the left,which has captured the Democrat party.