Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Tyranny Protection Act: More on SB 150 - Part I

As you can see from this page's title, I thought it appropriate to rename this proposed pap ‘The Tyranny Protection Act’. Yesterday, in the March 23 edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal I managed to sneak a zinger in the Letters to the Editor section, regarding Nevada Senate Bill 150. Since the R-J is now charging to access anything in their newspaper over seven days old, I figured I’d better get it up here for posterity - or is that posterior? Anyway, here’s the copy.

Considering Nevada Senate Bill 150, the proposed legislation to penalize those who make false statements about individuals serving in government, a few questions come to mind.

What recourse would average citizens have when someone tells a harmful lie about them? If SB 150 is deemed sufficient for this segment of the population, why is it not applied to the general public? On what basis should persons who make a living at taxpayer expense be entitled to special treatment? Would this render null and void the constitutional mandate that all of the people are to be afforded equal protection under the law?

This past Monday, Juli Alexander, who has previously contributed on this topic, appeared on Jon Ralston’s Face to Face television program, opposite Las Vegas Metro detective and sometimes maligned Police Protective Association honcho David Kallas to debate this ludicrous legislation. In Nevada, Juli is the most visible person saying no to this bad law and she has been kind enough to share with us the content of her upcoming presentation to the Legislative Committee on the Judiciary. Here goes:

Passing Senate Bill 150 would be a violation of the legislative oath.

A review of the Legislative Oath of Office (NRS 282.020) states that: I, ........................., do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States, and the Constitution and government of the State of Nevada, against all enemies, whether domestic or foreign, and that I will bear true faith, allegiance and loyalty to the same, any ordinance, resolution or law of any state notwithstanding, and that I will well and faithfully perform all the duties of the office of ................, on which I am about to enter; (if an oath) so help me God; (if an affirmation) under the pains and penalties of perjury.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Therefore, Nevada Legislature cannot lawfully pass SB 150. Further, litigated case law applies, which shows that SB 150 is dead on its face:

1. New York Times v. Sullivan (free speech is protected against public officials even when there is intentional disregard for the truth); 376 U.S. 254

2. Falwell v. Flynt (same applies to public figures); 485 U.S. 46; We have therefore been particularly vigilant to ensure that individual expressions of ideas remain free from governmentally imposed sanctions. The First Amendment recognizes no such thing as a "false" idea.

3. Huminski v. Corsones (even judges are not immune from liability when violating a citizens’ free speech) - The First Amendment is the essential right that separates this country from a police state.

Continue to Part II


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