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Author Topic: ACLU hijacked by Right-Wing
lem
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We all know that the ACLU is just an extension of the fundamental religious cooks who have hijacked politics.

I mean really, who else besides a lap-dog for Bush and Rove would sue for an "Anti-Gay Group That Pickets at Troops' Burials."

quote:
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit Friday in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Mo., on behalf of the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church, which has outraged mourning communities by picketing service members' funerals with signs condemning homosexuality.
The ACLU obviously has an agenda. Read these extreme comments by the most right wing group I can think of:

quote:
In the lawsuit, the ACLU says the Missouri law tries to limit protesters' free speech based on the content of their message. It is asking the court to declare the ban unconstitutional and to issue an injunction to keep it from being enforced, which would allow the group to resume picketing.
The ACLU must be bad for America because the are supporting a group I find disgusting. They must be Baptist for taking up a Baptist cause. I am sick of all the religious activist judges forcing their morality down my throat.

Why else would they take such a disgusting case? Why?

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akhockey
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Ummm...could you be more wrong? The ACLU is far from right-wing. That "Baptist" group is far from both the right-wing and Baptists.

Unless you are being sarcastic, and are pointing out the leftist insanity of the ACLU, which would make you a genius.

But I think you are actually just incredibly wrong.

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lem
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Here it comes......it's comming.....getting closer.....and ZOOOOOOM, right over your head.
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Icarus
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[Big Grin]
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akhockey
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Hmmm. I think someone's going to need to spoon-feed me the situation here, because both my Sarcas-O-Meter and my Ability To See The Obvious seem to have taken Sunday off.
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Synesthesia
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I couldn't disagree with them more in any case, but the funny thing about the ACLU is that they defend EVERYONE'S free speech from people who dont want prayer in school to KKK members...
It's egalitarian as all heck, but I think there are some people who don't deserve free speech and need to be shut up.
But who am I to choose who gets to talk and who doesn't? So everyone has their rights as long as they do not hurt people.

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Dagonee
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quote:
ACLU is that they defend EVERYONE'S free speech
This is not true. They defend some people's free speech - probably the vast majority.

They attacked mine, though. Unsuccessfully, but still.

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lem
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quote:
They attacked mine, though. Unsuccessfully, but still.
You can't leave that hanging out there!!! Please elaborate. [Smile]
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Dagonee
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I was a plaintiff in Rosenberger v. University of Virginia.

The ACLU filed an amicus brief against us.

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
So everyone has their rights as long as they do not hurt people.
Depending on who you talk to, speech is the only way to hurt people

From the Human Condition:

quote:
An anecdote, reported by Plutarch, may illustrate the connection between acting and speaking on a much lower level. A man once approached Demosthenes and related how terrible he[the man] had been beaten. "But you," said Demosthenes, "suffered nothing of what you tell me." Whereupon the other raised his voice and cried out: "I suffered nothing?" "Now," said Demonsthenes, "I hear the voice of somebody who was injured and who suffered."

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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by akhockey:
Hmmm. I think someone's going to need to spoon-feed me the situation here, because both my Sarcas-O-Meter and my Ability To See The Obvious seem to have taken Sunday off.

I think lem was making a statement on the obviously widely held belief that the ACLU will only fight for the rights of liberals.

I still think they're doing so in this case because the law as it stands would prohibit war protests during these funerals as well. But hey, I'm one of those psycho conservatives everyone seems to hate [Big Grin]

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TomDavidson
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quote:

They attacked mine, though. Unsuccessfully, but still.

In fairness, they didn't attack your free speech as much as they probably didn't believe that your right to free speech in that context existed. But you were still in the right, IMO.
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Dagonee
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That's a fair way to put it, but I don't think they'd put it that way. I think most free speech cases involving content and viewpoint discrimination in provision of government benefits could be couched in those terms, and those are the ACLU's bread-and-butter cases.

Their brief said that the University's actions were presumptively violative of free speech rights, but that the establishment clause overrode the presumption.

This is the classic way of thinking about constitutional rights in legal terms: The free speech right exists, but the government interest makes the restriction constitutional.

In other words, they thought that the government had a good enough reason to restrict our free speech.

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Dagonee
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BTW, I believe the ACLU has filed briefs opposing similar restrictions on protests at abortion clinics. Most of the funeral protest regulations are modeled after the clinic regulations.

I can't find a cite, but I have found mention on their site opposing the outcome in Colorado v. Hill which allowed such laws.

So, while I disagree with them on a significant subset of cases, (abortion and establishment v. free speech for the most part), they are fairly consistent with respect to their articulated principles, and I'm glad they exist.

Even more so now that there are credible organizations that oppose them on those issues. [Smile]

Edit: Yes, they did file a brief opposing this Colorado law:

quote:
In 1993, Colorado’s General Assembly enacted a statute designed to regulate protest activity outside "health care facilities" within the state.2 The critical provision now before the Court establishes an eight-foot floating buffer zone or bubble that surrounds people walking within one hundred feet of the entrance to a health care facility.3 Anyone who "knowingly aproaches" closer than eight feet to someone within the designated area without consent is subject to both civil and criminal penalties if, but only if, the purpose of the person approaching is to hand out a leaflet, display a sign, or engage in "oral protest, education, or counseling." C.R.S. §18-9-122(3).

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Kwea
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Honestly Dag, I still have trouble figuring out why giving you funding, even if that funding is provided to other non-religious groups, isn't the same as funding religious speech.


Not trying to make trouble, but it is a very thin line to parse. I feel sorry for schools. If they DO allow these types of things they get sued....if they don't they STILL get sued.

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Dagonee
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The basic premise: when government funds private speech (i.e., speech whose content is not designed to accomplish a government function), it should not base denial of that funding on the content. If government looks at the content and denies a benefit based on that content, it is suppressing free speech.

It's called viewpoint and subject-matter neutrality.

My preference is to severely limit the situations in which government will fund private expression, precisely because of the difficulty. But, if they do, then I want it to be viewpoint neutral.

The government would have to violate either the free speech or the establishment clause here if the establishment clause is defined as "no money to religious groups, ever." The classic test for establishment clause is called the Lemon test, after a 1971 case:

quote:
First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster "an excessive government entanglement with religion."
In this case, the purpose of the magazine funding was to provide educational experiences as far as writing and publishing a magazine - a secular purpose. The primary effect is to neither inhibit nor advance religion if it is content neutral. Finally, by not examining content, the school actually prevents entanglement, because other wise the school would have to review each issue to see if any religious content is "too much."

Note, also, that all the comparison was to the 15 other student publications that received funding, three of which had published articles about why God was a myth or why Christianity was bad in the previous two years. It was not comparing to all groups.

Finally, the organizations were called "contracted independent organizations" and were required to have a notice that the views were private views not representing the University, so there was little danger of lending authority to religion as there would be with teacher-led prayers, for instance.

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Juxtapose
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Bikers Guard US Military Funerals Against Protesters

This is an interesting response to the protests.

[ July 23, 2006, 11:50 PM: Message edited by: Juxtapose ]

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Bob_Scopatz
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I remember the ACLU stopping the Koch Administration in NYC from forcing homeless people into shelters when the temperature got below a set amount. I can't recall what their reasoning was (other than it violated the homeless people's right to be in any public space any time it was open to the public).

The problem, of course, was that people were dying and it was a huge problem for the EMS and police agencies.

The City lost that case, IIRC.

The upshot was that for many years the homeless could not be removed from any facility (e.g., a ferry terminal) since the thing basically struck down the vagrancy and loitering laws in the City. It was a weird situation. And basically the City was forced to inconvenience EVERYONE in order to ensure that public spaces didn't become places where the homeless simply lived year round.

Facilities had to close, and then reopen, and close and reopen, for example.

And while I might believe the ACLU took the legally correct stance (obviously the court agreed too), I think they condemned a lot of people to death and made the City a much crappier place to live for everyone else.

Of course, the City needed better ways to work with and for the homeless, but in the meantime, it was a really bad situation that got much, much worse.

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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:

Note, also, that all the comparison was to the 15 other student publications that received funding, three of which had published articles about why God was a myth or why Christianity was bad in the previous two years. It was not comparing to all groups.

Finally, the organizations were called "contracted independent organizations" and were required to have a notice that the views were private views not representing the University, so there was little danger of lending authority to religion as there would be with teacher-led prayers, for instance.

Believe it or not I made it through the whole legal document you linked to. I found it a little confusing, probably because I wasn't familiar with most of the legal precedents they quoted.

I did try to apply their reasoning to real world situations though, and that is where it seemed to fall flat IMO. I am not commenting on the legal aspects, really, but why I felt there was a problem applying this decision to the world outside a courtroom.

If your paper clearly stated it's purpose was to print Christian articles, or articles supporting a Christian lifestyle, then I don't care if they payed the paper or if they payed the printer for you, it still seems like they were paying for religious speech. If they allowed the athiest view to be printed, of course it would be acceptable to allow a rebuttal...in fact the paper that ran that should have done one, just for balance. [Big Grin]


But an entire paper of it?


The facts in favor of the decision that resonated with me were that fact that you had clearly stated your goals from the beginning, and had been granted CIO status regardless. Also, I thought the wavier they had you sign was very clear, and removed almost all liability from the college.


Were any of the other papers created to provide a completely "God-Free" zone? If so, would you agree that the same protection should have been given to them?

Just trying to understand where the line is being drawn these day in cases like this.

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Nato
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
I was a plaintiff in Rosenberger v. University of Virginia.

The ACLU filed an amicus brief against us.

That's a tough case, but I think I agree with you. The school chose to offer a means for free expression by these CIOs and should honor that regardless of content. I think it's important that students have an opportunity to get their writing in print, for their own education, and for the value of their communication to other students. This is the purpose I see in the policy, and the content is irrelevant.
quote:
Note, also, that all the comparison was to the 15 other student publications that received funding, three of which had published articles about why God was a myth or why Christianity was bad in the previous two years. It was not comparing to all groups.
I don't think this is relevant either. I wouldn't like to see atheist/agnostic beliefs or criticisms of religion(s) defined as religious speech.
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Nato
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
If they allowed the athiest view to be printed, of course it would be acceptable to allow a rebuttal...in fact the paper that ran that should have done one, just for balance. [Big Grin]


I don't think the opportunity for rebuttal should be forced on a paper, although it would be a kind gesture (and I do not think you are saying it should be forced). I just think that papers should avoid this sort of "fairness".
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Dagonee
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quote:
If your paper clearly stated it's purpose was to print Christian articles, or articles supporting a Christian lifestyle, then I don't care if they payed the paper or if they payed the printer for you, it still seems like they were paying for religious speech. If they allowed the athiest view to be printed, of course it would be acceptable to allow a rebuttal...in fact the paper that ran that should have done one, just for balance.

But an entire paper of it?

The ACLU, in emphasizing that the payment being made directly to the printer was important to the outcome, missed the point of that argument. It's not some mechanical thing that allows us to skate by on a technicality. Rather, it means that safeguards are in place to guarantee that the money is only used in a manner consistent with the university's secular purpose for the law: educational experience via the running of and writing for student publications.

So when the Court says, "There is no difference in logic or principle, and no difference of constitutional significance, between a school using its funds to operate a facility to which students have access, and a school paying a third-party contractor to operate the facility on its behalf," it's not just identifying a strange technicality. It's recognizing that the magazine itself "is not a religious institution," and the nature of the payments makes this even more clear. O'connor's concurrence states this outright: "financial assistance is distributed in a manner that ensures its use only for permissible purposes."

The most compelling reason is this:

quote:
Were the dissent's view to become law, it would require the University, in order to avoid a constitutional violation, to scrutinize the content of student speech, lest the expression in question - speech otherwise protected by the Constitution - contain too great a religious content. The dissent, in fact, anticipates such censorship as "crucial" in distinguishing between "works characterized by the evangelism of Wide Awake and writing that merely happens to express views that a given religion might approve."
quote:
The facts in favor of the decision that resonated with me were that fact that you had clearly stated your goals from the beginning, and had been granted CIO status regardless. Also, I thought the wavier they had you sign was very clear, and removed almost all liability from the college.
One thing that should be pointed out: it was crystal clear at the time that had they denied us recognition or access to meeting facilities, they would have been in violation of the first amendment. That much was clear to everyone, which is why we weren't denied recognition as a CIO.

quote:
This is the purpose I see in the policy, and the content is irrelevant.
This is, I think, the key. If the content is not serving a government purpose (such as telling people where to evacuate to or maybe even that they should stop smoking), then the content should be irrelevant.

quote:
I don't think this is relevant either. I wouldn't like to see atheist/agnostic beliefs or criticisms of religion(s) defined as religious speech.
I think it has to be. Remember, the Lemon test bars advancing or inhibiting religion. If the sole content restriction is a prohibition on religious speech and anti-religious speech is allowed, it would certainly have the effect of inhibiting religion, especially on a campus where the primary student-driven academic conversation took place in those publications.
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