Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Some words on freedom as we pass 200 posts

Yes, the blog passed 200 posts. Not bad, didn't think I would keep it up, but stuff keeps happening.
Just to give you some idea of how the US legal doctrine on freedom of speech and prior restraint looks, compared to the implicit arguments of the Economic Police in the matters concerning and SIA Bizi Team.

The Doctrine of Prior Restraint
Quote are from a website with extracts from decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States.

''Liberty of the press, historically considered and taken up by the Federal Constitution, has meant, principally although not exclusively, immunity from previous restraints or censorship.''
''Any system of prior restraints of expression comes to this Court bearing a heavy presumption against its constitutional validity.''

The United States Supreme Court's first encounter with a law imposing a prior restraint came in Near v. Minnesota ex rel. Olson, in which a five-to-four majority voided a law authorizing the permanent enjoining of future violations by any newspaper or periodical once found to have published or circulated an ''obscene, lewd and lascivious'' or a ''malicious, scandalous and defamatory'' issue. An injunction had been issued after the newspaper in question had printed a series of articles tying local officials to gangsters. While the dissenters maintained that the injunction constituted no prior restraint, inasmuch as that doctrine applied to prohibitions of publication without advance approval of an executive official, the majority deemed the difference of no consequence, since in order to avoid a contempt citation the newspaper would have to clear future publications in advance with the judge. Liberty of the press to scrutinize closely the conduct of public affairs was essential, said Chief Justice Hughes for the Court.

The following quotes may find some favor with BlackHalt :), the miscreant purveyor of scandal :):):) :

''The administration of government has become more complex, the opportunities for malfeasance and corruption have multiplied, crime has grown to most serious proportions, and the danger of its protection by unfaithful officials and of the impairment of the fundamental security of life and property by criminal alliances and official neglect, emphasizes the primary need of a vigilant and courageous press, especially in great cities.

And the Economic Police should translate and put on their desks the following, in even bigger letters:

The fact that the liberty of the press may be abused by miscreant purveyors of scandal does not make any the less necessary the immunity of the press from previous restraint in dealing with official misconduct. Subsequent punishment for such abuses as may exist is the appropriate remedy, consistent with constitutional privilege.

It is no secret that from a European and Latvian point of view, a lot of weird and bad things have been happening to the image of the United States and in the name of the United States. Still, I think there are lessons to learn from the efforts and the ongoing struggle in the US to maintain the highest standards of freedom in the world

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