Is there a loophole in the 1st Amendment?

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In summary, the city council in Berkeley passed two resolutions, one of which named Code Pink and stated their support for organizations that would impede the recruiting station's activities. Interestingly, the city council waived noise regulations for Code Pink in exchange for this support. I don't agree with the OP - the federal government sponsors the marine corps which in turn sponsors a particular political belief, overtly pro government.
  • #1
russ_watters
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The first Amendment, as we all know, protects against government endorsement or support of a particular religion via the establishment clause. But what of political speach? I'm speaking, of course, of the town of Berkeley endorsing an anti-war protest organization and their message at the expense of a Marine Corps recruiting office. Some of the specific actions of the city council are probably illegal, though unenforceable as I'm sure the Marine Corps won't sue them, but what about the general idea of a government entity explicitly aiding a political action entity? It seems to be pretty straightforwardly against the principles of political freedom on which this country was founded, but how, exactly, is government neutrality toward political entities enforced?

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-02-12-berkeley-marines_N.htm

As a side-note, Code Pink looks to me to be on shaky legal ground anyway. They are listed as a 501(c)3 organization, piggybacking on an environmentalist group for funding purposes. But political non-profits are 501(c)4. I don't know how big of a deal that is, though.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_Pink
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/501(c )

Thoughts?
 
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  • #2
If they pay the rent for the recruiting office, then they're allowed to be there. If the citizens of Berkeley don't like it, they should just, you know... not go in it. Seems like the Marines would just leave if they never managed to recruit anyone anyway.

- Warren
 
  • #3
Yes, I agree, but that's not the issue I'm trying to discuss. The city council passed a resolution officially endorsing the protestors and their effort to drive the Corps out and aiding that effort by providing them a special parking permit for their vehicle directly in front of the office.
 
  • #4
The protestors are allowed to be there, too. I think it's all pretty stupid, and the city council needs better things to do.

- Warren
 
  • #5
russ_watters said:
The first Amendment, as we all know, protects against government endorsement or support of a particular religion via the establishment clause. But what of political speach?
The federal government pays so-called matching poiltical campaign funds.
 
  • #6
I didn't read anywhere where it said the city council endorsed Code Pink. All I read was
The Berkeley City Council drew a deluge of disapproval nationwide in January when it voted to advise the Marines that their downtown recruitment office was not welcome and that they would be considered "uninvited and unwelcome intruders" if they chose to stay.
It didn't disallow the recruiting station, which would be blatantly illegal. Now saying they are "unwelcome intruders" is sort of a gray area. As a government entity, it is discouraging the station, which would seem to be illegal because it creates an environment of hostility towards a viewpoint (which would be stifling freedom of speech, not religion - not sure why you included religion, unless it's to ask why speech isn't treated the same as religion). However, many government institutions endorse/discourage political endeavors (calling for a national day of prayer, funding NEA exhibits which some may consider immoral, etc.), so it's a tough call. As long as they don't create laws which apply only to the station and not others, i don't see a legal reason why they couldn't do (though it is bad form for any governmental office to endorse anything, even if it is done all the time - city governments endorsing an anti-war policy, etc.)
 
  • #7
I disagree with the OP - the federal government sponsors the marine corps which in turn sponsors a particular political belief, overtly pro government.

Why shouldn't the opposing view have equal treatment.
 
  • #8
daveb said:
I didn't read anywhere where it said the city council endorsed Code Pink...

As long as they don't create laws which apply only to the station and not others, i don't see a legal reason why they couldn't do (though it is bad form for any governmental office to endorse anything, even if it is done all the time - city governments endorsing an anti-war policy, etc.)
One resolution did not name Code Pink specifically, but stated support for organizations that would impede the recruiting station's activities. But that is Code Pink they are talking about.

The other resolution does name Code Pink. It gives them a special parking permit -- and does something else I didn't know before: it waives noise regulations for them. That's more clear-cut than what I thought before. It is unConstitutional - the Constitution grants equal protection under the law. The council is waiving the law for one entity for the expressed purpose of infringing on the rights of another entity.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/02/07/berkeley.protests/index.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkel...troversy#_note-DC_City_Council_Passes_Motions
 
  • #9
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.5462.IH:

That was quick.
 
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Related to Is there a loophole in the 1st Amendment?

1. What is the 1st Amendment?

The 1st Amendment is a part of the United States Constitution that guarantees the freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition.

2. Does the 1st Amendment have any loopholes?

Technically, no. The 1st Amendment is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution and cannot be taken away. However, there are limitations and restrictions on these freedoms in certain circumstances.

3. Can the government restrict free speech?

Yes, the government can restrict free speech in certain situations, such as in cases of inciting violence or hate speech. There are also limitations on speech in certain places, such as schools and government buildings.

4. Are there any exceptions to the freedom of religion?

There are some exceptions to the freedom of religion, such as when religious practices conflict with laws or if they pose a threat to public safety. However, the government must have a compelling reason for restricting religious freedom.

5. Can the government censor the press?

No, the government cannot censor the press as it would be a violation of the 1st Amendment. However, there are restrictions on what can be published, such as false information or national security matters.

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