This is a sequel to the last meeting in August of the City Council and a follow up to my letter mentioning "Lady Justice."
Once again, the heavy hammer of the Council president came down at the Aug. 27 meeting -- kaboom -- on a citizen who, one could say, cried wolf.
One to many times again; not tonight; under hearing of the visitors on an agenda item. It violates the fundamental principles of law in my opinion using past prior restraints. See: Bart v. Telford (7th Circuit, 1982).
Also, it involves consideration of viewpoint, and viewpoint discrimination, an egregious form of content discrimination. See: Rosnberge 515 U.S. at 829.
And how about harassment, as its happens time and time again by the good Council president? That’s even after an objection made by a councilor saying "But Council president, he has a right to speak." The answer was, "not tonight."
There goes the claim of "qualified immunity" that protects government officials from liability for civil damages if their actions did not violate "clearly established statutory constitutional rights, of which a reasonable person would know." See: Pearson v. Callahan (2009).
The effect on freedom of speech may be small, but there is no justification for harassing people for exercising their constitutional rights. It need be great in order to be actionable. See: Bart v. Telford 677 F. 2d 622, 625 (7th Cir. 1982).
Prior restraints have been recognized for many years as forbidden and quintessential First Amendment violations. See: fairly, 578F. 3d at 525 (citing Supreme Court cases from 1976, 1975 and 1919).
Remember actions do set a precedent even if not a matter of law. Could this be about a person who is running for a Council seat and his creditably?
When a board sits in public meetings to conduct public business and hear the views of its citizens, it may not be required to discriminate between speakers on the basis of their speech. See: Mesa v. White (10th Cir. 1999).
It is unethical and underhanded for our Council rules to be stacked against the public, and even the councilor’s words -- like discretion and acknowledge -- are to "overbroad" and verbally and nonverbally are "non-enumerated" rights under the Ninth Amendment. So what foolish person did that one? See: Wright v. Town of South Bridge (Ma. 2009). Non-enumerated rights can be derived from expressed constitutional freedom of speech. See: Texas v. Johnson (U.S. 1989).
My main interest in writing this letter is to present the facts and to bring about awareness to the important issues at hand with the hopes of change and a little fairness from this Council, without playing in the carnival atmosphere with some of the hooligans of the playpen -- no disrespect meant to anyone. It’s only with hope that smarter, calmer minds might prevail, so the dream will live on for another day.