(TeaParty.org Exclusive) – It’s become common place these days for the federal government, seemingly infested with progressives who are bent on the destruction of our constitutional republic, to violate the God-given rights of the citizenry in the United States, a point put on full display by the fact that an organization in Florida that fights on behalf of Americans to protect their constitutional rights is now in court trying to fight back against government officials for censoring people’s speech.
According to WND, the current court battle is not over the censorship itself, as that has already been declared to be illegal. No, it’s concerning how a court has allowed the officials involved in the situation to escape accountability.
Freedom of speech is, of course, a foundational right that is guaranteed to all Americans in the Bill of Rights contained in the Constitution, having its roots in the Creator, thus making it something that no man or government has the authority to take away. The American Bar has pointed out that speech is protected regardless of whether it is considered to be offensive or not.
“This neutrality principle borrows from a stirring maxim often attributed to Voltaire: ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,'” the group remarked.
The organization also pointed out, “Great stuff, but it illustrates how much of what we think we know about free expression is incomplete. Voltaire didn’t even write the saying—it was written about Voltaire’s beliefs by biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall (writing under the pseudonym S.G. Tallentyre). Its confused origins aside, this poetic pledge provides no guidance about how to defend what some would call the indefensible.”
The case in Florida involves signs saying, “F*** Biden,” which many have called offensive, that were posted in a violation of a city sign ordinance in the town of Punta Gorda. A state court ruled that government officials acted unconstitutionally when they fined two individuals, protesters, who had the signs, a total of $3,000.
However, the court did not hold the officials accountable financially for their violation of the two protesters’ First Amendment rights of political expression. And therein lies the problem. You know for a fact if this would have happened to two liberals and was an act carried out by conservative government officials, those involved would have paid a hefty price for their actions. It’s a double standard and it needs to be done away with.
“The Rutherford Institute now, with the case on appeal to the the state’s Sixth District Court of Appeal, warn that shielding the government from accountability for its wrongful actions will only ‘encourage government entities to believe they can freely violate the constitutional rights of its citizens without having to pay a penny or suffer any consequences,'” WND noted.
“The right of political free speech is the basis of all liberty. No matter what their political persuasion might be, every American has a First Amendment right to protest government programs or policies with which they might disagree,” constitutional lawyer John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People, went on to explain. “As the Supreme Court recognized, laws of this sort empower the government to suppress unpopular ideas or information and manipulate the public debate through coercion, which is exactly the kind of tyranny the First Amendment was intended to prohibit.”
The city of Punta Gorda made changes to its sign rules in order to slap a ban on anything that contains “indecent speech.” Whenever a law like that is put in place, the most pertinent question to ask is who will be determining what is “indecent,” because if it’s a bunch of radical leftists, you can guarantee anything that questions their official narrative will be immediately put on that list.
Not long after the laws were changed, Andrew Sheets got cited four times by law enforcement officers for violating the ordinance by displaying the signs. Richard Massey was also given citations for violating the new rules.
“Rutherford obtained a First Amendment victory when a lower court ruled against the city and said the ordinance was ‘designed to cause the preemptive self-silencing of speakers whose messages are entitled to constitutional protection,'” the report stated.
However, the court has still refused to make the city reimburse the more than $2,000 in costs for filing fees and other expenses.
Rutherford issued a warning stating that protesters being forced to pay large fees in order to protect their First Amendment rights “could create a significant chilling effect, causing others to silence themselves or just pay the unconstitutional fines for exercising their freedom of speech against the government.”
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