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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Wednesday | May 28, 2003

First Amendment means nothing to Bush

Fresh off his successes in his War on the Bill of Rights (say 'goodby' to those pesky 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments), Bush is now turning his attentions to the King of All Amendments: the First.

According to reports from protestor Brett Bursey and the press, police officers arrested Mr. Bursey for standing with thousands of Republicans welcoming the President at a Columbia, South Carolina airport because Mr. Bursey refused to change or put down his sign. Mr. Bursey reports he was told that if he wanted to protest the President, he would have to go to the designated protest site half a mile away near a highway and outside the sight and hearing of the President. “It’s the content of your sign,” officials said.

Mr. Bursey was arrested and charged by the South Carolina police with trespassing. When that charge was soon dropped by South Carolina authorities, Mr. Bursey was then indicted by United States Attorney J. Strom Thurmond, Jr. for violation of a federal law that allows the Secret Service to restrict access to areas visited by the President. If Mr. Bursey is convicted in the non-jury trial that Mr. Thurmond is seeking, Mr. Bursey faces up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

As Rep. Barney Frank and 10 other House members wrote on a letter to Ashcroft:
As we read the First Amendment to the Constitution, the United States is a ‘free speech zone’. In the United States, free speech is the rule, not the exception, and citizens’ rights to express it do not depend on their doing it in a way the President finds politically amenable ...
Indeed. And for irony's sake, check out who initiated the federal charges against Bursey.

Posted May 28, 2003 02:17 PM | Comments (94)


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