Friday, August 20, 2010

I Can See The First Amendment From My Front Porch: Palin's Botched Defense of Dr. Laura

Sarah Palin recently defended Dr. Laura Schlessinger after she had a sudden bout of N-word diarrhea during her radio show. After the public outcry, Schlessinger ended her radio program, but she screamed foul play, arguing that her constitutional rights were violated.

Professor Palin offered her trademark "common sense" advise to Schlessinger in a series of Twitter posts. In so doing, Palin proves, yet again, that common sense is merely an excuse for not reading.

Palin sent the following message to Schlessinger:
“Dr.Laura: don't retreat ... reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence"isn't American,not fair")"
She then posted a follow-up:
“Dr.Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles,so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice, America!)"
Apparently, the Bloggacuda does not know much about the First Amendment, because Schlessinger's right to free speech remains fully intact. The First Amendment Center, a nonprofit organization devoted to free expression, has fully rebutted Palin's botched constitutional analysis. The organization also makes the interesting argument that while Palin often criticizes the government for trampling upon the Constitution, it is clear that she lacks a basic understanding of some of its central principles.

As a Professor of Constitutional Law, I could write more on this issue, but the First Amendment Center does a great job. Here is a clip from the article:
• The First Amendment protects us from the government, and not from other Americans who disagree with what we have to say. “Congress shall make no law” — the first five words of the First Amendment — say it all: No government body can limit our rights to speak out. In this case, there’s no government action, just public outrage and pressure.

• Boycotts are also protected by the First Amendment. Dr. Laura complains about being “bullied” by those who might pressure her radio affiliates or advertisers, but boycotts are a time-honored use of the First Amendment. . . .

• Efforts to punish controversial speech comes from the right and the left. It’s true that liberal organizations are attacking Dr. Laura for use of the racial epithet, just as conservative organizations burned Dixie Chicks CDs when Natalie Maines told a London audience that she was embarrassed that President Bush came from Texas. . . .

• Dr. Laura’s First Amendment rights are alive and well. Although she’s leaving her radio show, she says she’ll continue to share her views through public speaking, TV interviews, in print, online, and in a new book due in January, all made possible by the First Amendment.
So, is Palin wrong again? You betcha!

6 comments:

ProfessHer! said...

Professor Hutchinson: the name of this post alone is worth the price of admission. Simply BRILLIANT!

Alessandro Machi said...

I don't think Dr. Laura did anything wrong. I think the caller, "Jade", (as in Jaded?), was a race baiter.

However, seeing how Dr. Laura has reacted after he fact has been very interesting, and very, very disappointing.

AngelaD said...

Love it! Brilliant. I agree with ProfessHer!

cmugirl said...

Cute title. But it needs correcting - it was Tina Fey (as Sarah Palin) who said she could see Russia from her house- not actually Palin!

Hippi Chicki Niki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hippi Chicki Niki said...

@Professer H & ProfessHer:
Brilliant, both of you.


@CMUGirl:
Yes, the exact phrasing "I can see Russia from my house" was a Tina Fey parody of Palin. But good parody is based on fact, and that was good parody. Palin's actual word's did not reference her house, but were right along those lines.
In response to a question asking what insight the proximity of Alaska to Russia gives her into Russia's invasion of Georgia (admittedly, the question itself deserves mocking], Palin responded, "They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."

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