About the First Amendment Principle That It's Fine To Criticize Government Officials Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas

Congress Shall Make No Law Abridging Freedom of Speech

About the First Amendment Principle That It's Fine To Criticize Government Officials

21 May 2019 at 4:16:12 PM

From ABAJournal.com 

One issue involves government officials blocking or removing critical comments online. In a sense, this violates the core First Amendment principle that individuals have the right to criticize government officials. In the landmark free-press/libel decision New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964), Justice William Brennan wrote that there is a “profound national commitment that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”

The paragraph above is specifically talking about government platforms, and social media platforms, including this blog, are private. The  main idea is about whether there is some standard that only nice, agreeable discussion about government officials or that certain procedures have to be followed before one can speak out is permissible. Of course there is not, even though some mistakenly believe that criticism of elected officials must follow some rules arbitrarily believed by a given person.  Social Media platform providers may be, though, in the business of censorship, and, because it is not government speech, they are entitled to do so. For example, I simply will not allow someone to come post here with a white supremacy, racist point of view. I own and run this site and I can do this. And I have freedom of the press. 

The person who decides to run for public office and is elected, and especially where they have control over how money is spent, is subserviant to the citizens they serve. If the citizen doesn't like what the elected one is doing, he or she has every right to speak up, loudly, vehemently, and however critically he or she wants. That can be in a number of venues, to include public comments at an open government meeting or, for example, using freedom of the press to do so (letters to the editor, postings on a blog, comments on a website).  I'm reminded of when Donna Long attended a Somervell County Hospital District meeting and was told by the board president , Ron Hankins, that she was "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" and the very real implication was that if she was going to be there, she needed to keep her opinion to herself. I suppose Ron Hankins would have been happy to have every board member, like rubber stamps, vote with zero disagreement every time. But we elect people who don't necessarily agree. The fact that a person is elected means that there is at least some faction of the public that voted for him or her and likes what they hear. This can, by necessity, create meetings that are messy, spirited, and not ordered according to "Vote: 5/0 everybody agrees". It's up the board president to make sure that the meetings are orderly, which to me means gaveling down people shouting from the audience or otherwise causing disruptions. It doesn't mean shutting up, for conversation, the people on the board or the citizens who come to comment. Their opinions do not have to be the same and it would be arrogant for anyone to assume that they should be. That said, the elected officials, to include Ron Hankins, who behaved poorly at board meetings, ought to have some respect for the proceedings. 

Being able to call out points of view that may or may not be in favor with elected officials is patriotic! 

P.S. Saw this interesting article today from MDJONLINE.com in Georgia

Red Oak man sues Adams County Sheriff's Office for free speech violation

A Red Oak man has filed a lawsuit against the Adams County Sheriff's Office in federal court alleging his free speech rights were violated.

The ACLU of Iowa brought the suit in the Southern District of Iowa Tuesday on behalf of Jon Richard Goldsmith and names the Adams County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Cory Dorsey and Sergeant Paul Hogan as co-defendants. The suit says in July 2018, Goldsmith attended a ceremony in Corning where he observed Dorsey arrest a man her knew. Goldsmith later posted on the sheriff's office Facebook page, criticizing the handling of the arrest. Goldsmith was then charged with third-degree harassment for the post -- a charge that was later dropped. Goldsmith says he is suing because he is concerned with the actions of the sheriff's department.

"It's a matter of free speech," said Goldsmith. "Adams County should be upholding the law, not breaking it. That includes criticizing them, along with the government. I'm bringing this lawsuit because I'm afraid that if they don't get stopped, they are going to keep charging a lot of people and causing a lot of grief."

"They're used to filing harassment charges against individuals, where two individuals are in the middle of some sort of dispute and a person will repeatedly call or email after being told to stop," said Downey. "That's what they're used to and they forget that when the criticism is directed at them, those sorts of usual criminal actions that they are used to filing against, don't apply to themselves. It's this sort of Facebook post that's absolutely protected, unless there was some sort of true, imminent threat. Any sort of criticism is just something they have to get used to, no matter how much they personally dislike it. The First Amendment absolutely protects that sort of criticism."


Permalink Tags:          
     Views: 422 
Latest Blog Post by salon -Video- Somervell County Commissioners Court Special Sessions (2) Dec 23 2019

 You! Leave a Comment! You Know you Want To!
You must be a registered member to comment on the blog.
Your first post is held pending approval to make sure you're not a spammer bot

 Not registered? Or you can login!

LOGON - Name:Password:

New poster comments are moderated, meaning they won't show up until approved... or not.  Be patient-we have lives outside this blog, so it might take awhile You want to be rude? totally stupid? inappropriate? Racist? Bigoted? Flame war baiter? Your post may be deleted. Spammers or people posting pretend interest comments but really wanting to hawk their latest book or sell stuff or govt propaganda flacks won't see their posts published. Comments do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the site owner(salon).
If you have a problem with logging in or registering, please speak up right away. Love your comments. Oh, except spammers
More on commenting


Click Here for Main Page

Today Is  
Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Latest Posts

Paul Harper offered to settle State of Texas ex rel. Best v Harper lawsuit for $68k back in 2016
pharper 12/29/2019 Views 693

Video- Somervell County Commissioners Court Special Sessions (2) Dec 23 2019

salon 12/23/2019 Views 717

Top 100 Posts on Somervell County Salon for 2019

salon 12/22/2019 Views 523

Plans for Somervell County Salon Blog for 2020
salon 12/22/2019 Views 421

Imagine you were called up for jury duty and some people said they'd already made up their mind
salon 12/22/2019 Views 439

National Review on Removing Trump from Office (12/2019)
salon 12/22/2019 Views 436

More Blog Headlines



salon > Quick update on this, via Pacer-Click on pic to see larger (Turk Case Update- Telephone Conference Hearing Set for March 8 2019 )

salon > Lance Been awhile. Send me an email at salon@glenrose.net with the names of who you're talking about, above. Also, the newspaper editor is no longer local, ie officed here, but the paper is run.... (What Happened to Jerry Jacene? )

LanceHall > I'd love to see the Hotel Guest books and see if Jacene's name shows up long before he officially *found* the tracks.  I'd like to know if the Visitor's Bureau has emails wit.... (What Happened to Jerry Jacene? )

LanceHall > I see the land or that part of it is now in the hands of Glen Rose's own Corky Underwood. Is Jacene still involved?   I had already informed the Visitor Bureau manager (who's.... (What Happened to Jerry Jacene? )

Home | Blog Home | About | News | Piazza | Calendar | Audio/Video/Open Rec | Search
Write!  |profile | quotes |
top Daily | top Weekly |top Month | top Year | Top All! | archives | subscribe RSS