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View Diary: Man Wearing 'Occupy Everything' Jacket Arrested At First Amendment-Free Zone In SCOTUS Building (222 comments)

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  •  The guy should have obeyed the directives (17+ / 0-)

    of the court staff (which includes security) who "repeatedly" told him to cover the message or leave.

    There is a legitimate reason for having a content-neutral restriction on such displays at the Supreme Court.  If people were allowed to use the Court building as a free speech zone, there likely would be people there crowding the inside of the building all the time about political issues that come to the Court.  The pro-life group alone would crowd the building with their "message" any time any case that remotely touched on their issues were raised by a case before the Court.  What would the lobby of the building have looked like in the days leading up to the hearings on the ACA if the building were a free-speech zone?  

    Think of the crowds outside the Supreme Court on high-profile issues.  The Court could not function if those crowds were allowed inside the building, or right outside of its doors, whenever they wanted to be there.  That is not the purpose of that building.  There are PLENTY of places very close by -- right outside -- where people who want to make a statement can be heard.  

    Yes, people have First Amendment rights.  But those end at the point of interfering with rights of others.   The government CAN restrict speech so as to keep one person's speech from interfering with the ability of others to use public buildings, public areas, etc., but that can be done if, and only if, it is a content-neutral, "time place and manner restriction," and there is a reasonable alternative (just outside the building grounds) for people to exercise their rights.    

    Congress has made a decision -- rightly, in my view -- that if protests of this kind were allowed in the Supreme Court building all the time, it would interfere with the functioning of the Court, and Congress has made the determination that there is a reasonable alternative for those who want to express their views to the SCOTUS by protesting on the areas outside the boundaries.  

    Once Congress makes the decision that it is inappropriate and would interfere with the functioning of the Court to allow the building to be a protest zone for all causes and for anyone who wants to make a statement for a cause, then the restriction has to be enforced evenly across the board, whether you are a single person or a group, whether you are promoting the Occupy movement or the Westboro Baptist Church.  You can't say, "well, this is only one guy," or "this is a good cause," because THAT kind of differential treatment of speech in that area would be unconstitutional.  

    I've visited the building on a number of occasions.  They make it VERY clear that the building is NOT the place for protests, demonstrations, displays regarding political issues or causes, etc.  I've seen them ask people to cover up t-shirts that promote some political cause.  This person was "repeatedly" asked the same thing, and should have obeyed that directive.  

    •  Yes, this. Thank you. (11+ / 0-)

      I'm forced to wonder what people here would think if someone wearing a jacket saying "Ban All Abortions Now," or "Gay People Have No Rights," were escorted out of the Supreme Court building.

      My educated guess is that we wouldn't see this level of outrage on this site if such a thing were to happen—and that some of the same people who are attacking this decision as "fascism" would be cheering the move.

      If the Supreme Court is going to have a rule banning messages about political or social issues inside their building—something I don't think is at all inappropriate—then those enforcing the rule have to enforce it fairly and neutrally.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:32:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Those are slogans clearly promoting a cause... (0+ / 0-)
        "Ban All Abortions Now," or "Gay People Have No Rights,"
        "Occupy Everything" is two words, one of which happens to be the same word included in a title for a loosely associated group advocating for small "d" democratic principles only.

        "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

        by markthshark on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 09:27:24 AM PST

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        •  It's clearly a slogan. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib
        •  Occupy is a movement. (4+ / 0-)

          clearly.  It's ludicrous to say, in January of 2012, one who read the words "Occupy Everything" on a shirt would NOT have associated that with the Occupy movement.  That's just a ridiculous position.  

          •  Of course Occupy is a movement... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TheMomCat

            But what's ludicrous is the presumption that using the singular term "Occupy" paired with another word not included in any part or subsidiary of that movement is indicative of a movement as well.

            "Occupy the SEC" is indicative.

            "Occupy the Banks" is indicative.

            "Occupy" is not.

            "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

            by markthshark on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:23:03 AM PST

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            •  That is absurd. Really. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Villanova Rhodes, Catte Nappe, Smoh, VClib

              If you saw someone wearing a shirt with the words "Occupy Everything" at the height of the Occupy movement, you WOULDN'T have interpreted that shirt to be support for the Occupy movement?????????

              If you saw someone wearing this shirt, would you you think, "wow, that person just strung two words together for no purpose or meaning whatsoever,"or would you think "Ah, the Occupy movement."    

              You mean all the shirts for sale on the Internet with the words "Occupy Everything" are just shirts with two words randomly put together and have nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that there's an "Occupy" movement out there?

              The words "Occupy Everything" are in no way associated with the Occupy movement?  Seriously?

              •  Ebay? Really? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TheMomCat

                You don't think that by using those words the seller is just someone with the clear intention of making money, and not someone associated with the Occupy movement?

                Now that's a reasonable assumption.

                Those websites sell t-shirts for a freakin' living. T-shirts with ALL kinds of different phrases on them. I expect any phrase that could make money. (unless there's a group of protesters advocating a "Beast Mode" movement)

                Nobody but Scott knew his own true intentions for painting those words on his jacket. He wasn't caught in the act of protesting in the SCOTUS lobby. He wasn't preaching the gospel of Occupy to anyone. He wasn't holding hands with a group of people singing Kumbaya or reciting poetry about days of yore with the Occupy movement.

                Unless you know Mr. Scott or know of him or any of his past exploits, any assertion that his jacket was clearly advocating the Occupy movement is a presumptive extrapolation.  

                "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

                by markthshark on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:39:45 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Scott's "intentions" are irrelevant (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Villanova Rhodes, VClib

                  the question is, would someone looking at a shirt with the words "Occupy Everything" read those words and associate those words with a "movement" (the words used in the law)?  

                  And it's absurd to think that, if you see someone wearing any of those shirts I linked to, you wouldn't think "Occupy movement."  That's WHY people sell them -- because that phrase is associated with the Occupy movement.

                  It doesn't matter who makes them.  If I take a white t-shirt and write "Down w/ Prop 8" in a black marker, and wear it to the SCOTUS, it doesn't matter what I "intended" to say, or whether I "intended" that to be a commentary on a particular issue, or whether I intended it to be in support of any particular movement.  Same if I write "Abortion kills" or "Nobama" or anything that's associated with conservative causes or movements.  

                  The sole question is whether someone seeing that would think, "Occupy movement."  And clearly they would.  Why do you think people sell all those t-shirts I linked to that say, in various forms, "Occupy everything"?  Because people like the sound of the two words?  No -- it's clearly because people associate that phrase with the Occupy movement.  And that's what makes it in violation of that statute.  

                  •  Look, it's clear we're not going to agree on this. (0+ / 0-)

                    I just can't see how "Occupy Everything" is any kind of issue.

                    Wearing a jacket stating...

                    "Down w/ Prop 8"
                    ... is advocating for a specific issue: "Marriage Equality."

                    Where is the issue when someone is wearing a jacket stating "Occupy Everything?" Even if you do support OWS and wear that jacket you're not explicitly stating your support for the organization itself just by wearing it.

                    To me, it'd be similar to wearing a jacket stating "Eat your peas" or "Kiss a Frog" or "I'm too sexy for this cheap, crappy jacket" or whatever. Would I be ostensibly advocating vegetables, amphibians or vanity? That would be a stretch. And who, other than myself, is qualified to make those determinations? Those phrases might just strike my fancy as being humorous or artsy.

                    We are rapidly devolving in this country when decisions are made capriciously and arbitrarily about what we're wearing -- especially when that clothing isn't offensive to anyone other than the plutocratic establishment.

                    People can make their own decision whether to make a perceived free-association. We don't need authorities to do it for us. That's a form of "censorship."

                    Now that's an issue for which I refuse to advocate.

                    Hey, how 'bout "Stop censoring me" on a jacket? Would that one that get me eighty-six'd as well?

                    Anyway, thanks for the debate. It's been real.

                    "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

                    by markthshark on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 05:59:30 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Ludicrous presumption? You think (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Catte Nappe

              the SCOTUS police (not the Capitol police, as you repeatedly misstate) weren't aware of this:

              NATIONWIDE: Day of Action ~ Occupy the Courts!
              Friday, January 20, 2012 - 1:00am to 11:45pm
              Find an Occupy the Courts event near you
              ...
              Jan 20, 2012: Occupy the Courts!Call to Action
              Inspired by our friends at Occupy Wall Street, and Dr. Cornel West, Move To Amend is planning a bold action to mark the second anniversary of the infamous Citizens United v. FEC decision!

              Occupy the Courts will be a one day occupation of Federal courthouses across the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Friday January 20, 2012.

              Move to Amend volunteers across the USA will lead the charge on the judiciary which created — and continues to expand — corporate personhood rights.

              I thought all that DHS coordination was controlling every police department everywhere, so I'm pretty sure they knew this wasn't a random wish on a random day. Really, whatever the merits of complaining about a charge that was actually dropped, this is a very weak line of argument you're pursuing.
        •  It requires some serious mental gymnastics... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Villanova Rhodes

          ...to suggest that "Occupy Everything" isn't a reference to the Occupy movement.

          And in terms of whether the reference falls under the Supreme Court's rules barring the advocacy of movements or organizations within the Supreme Court building, exactly which principles Occupy is advocating for don't matter one lick. All that matters is that they are advocating for one stance over the other on matters of public or social controversy.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:13:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  So your argument that the slogan should not be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Villanova Rhodes

          banned inside the court is that the movement's cause is incoherent and/or nonexistent? Okey dokey.

        •  Semantic games (0+ / 0-)

          Your bias is showing. Biases are OK to have but still no one side is above the law.

    •  Thanks for your cooperation and support. (0+ / 0-)

      - The Management

      When 1% take 121% of the gains from "recovery", people actually recovering from lost employment are trading down on wages and benefits. Current strategies by moderates don't even consider winning the Class War.

      by Words In Action on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:41:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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