Droopy (All the flavor, but half the calories!) wrote:
What I said is exactly what your OP implies, Loran.
My OP mentions nothing about political differences.
Nor does my comment. This is what I said: "Let's note the underlying assumption of the OP: an elected official of the United States government should be subject to ecclesiastical discipline for taking political positions contrary to what church leaders think he should be doing in the scope of his office." You are proposing that Harry Reid should be ecclesiastically disciplined because church leaders would find his political actions to be sinful.
In fact, your rant about life not being a cabaret or a circus tent or whatever is all in the context of what public policies a person supports. The meaning of what you are saying is that recognizing a person's freedom to make choices you do not agree with is the same as endorsing the choices they make with that freedom. In other words, people only have the right to act in accordance with your cherished beliefs and religious dogma.
But I would be thrilled to hear all about how protected political speech under New York Times v. Sullivan and its progeny is a felony. (Hint: you're suggesting that it's a crime for Harry Reid to exercise his right to freedom of speech---"who may himself have committed a felony in so doing.")
And I would also love to hear how political speech by a person who is not a member of the executive branch is in any way relevant to the presumption of innocence in a criminal case, and in what way Mitt Romney is being deprived of due process of law because of Harry Reid's political gamesmanship. Fire away, Droopy!
Reid can exercise all the free speech he so desires, but if Reid is lying about Romney, and is aware of his doing so, then the person at Bain, assuming he exists, who is the source of his claims, if he is lying about Romney, is a felon, and Reid is now an accomplice. This is on top of both very serious public slander (spoken and broadcast character defamation)
Yes, someone claiming I've committed felonious acts publicly is actionable. Nothing changes regarding free speech, but free speech, like all freedoms, has limits. When you yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, or incite a riot, you are liable for that speech and its effects. If you defame someone publicly, and especially if you claim someone is guilty of felonious actions, and you are lying.and your purpose is to defame, you are liable for that action.
You are changing your assertion now. At the beginning of this thread, you claimed that Harry Reid's political speech may be criminal:
"Reid has committed a serious crime if he is knowingly lying to slander Mitt Romney in public, as is the person at Bain, if such exists."
Now you've decided that actually Harry Reid committed a tort. This is amusingly ironic, by the way. You have no evidence that Harry Reid's statements are false (because you don't have Mitt Romney's tax records). So if your assertions about the lawfulness of Harry Reid's statements were correct, then by your own standard Harry Reid could sue you for libel per se.
The irony of Droopy's OP is compounded because he is arguing that people should be able to go to court to quash political statements that they don't like, rather than letting political speech stand or fall on its own in the proverbial public square. That is certainly an odd position to take for someone who is so vehemently opposed to the procedure over substance and Socratic inquiry he facetiously imagines to be the rule in a courtroom. Hardly the position we would expect from a self-styled conservative.
But in what I'm sure is a surprising turn of events for readers of this board, Droopy's assertions are not correct. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment protects even false, defamatory statements about public figures. For a public figure to prevail in a defamation case, it is not sufficient to show merely that the statements are false and defamatory per se (i.e., stating that someone has engaged in criminal conduct). The public figure must also show that the speaker acted with actual malice. The reason such speech is protected is to prevent a chilling effect on what Droopy likes to call the "free marketplace of ideas." New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964) Thus, we consider this case against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials. See Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1, 4; De Jonge v. Oregon, 299 U.S. 353, [p271] 365....
Authoritative interpretations of the First Amendment guarantees have consistently refused to recognize an exception for any test of truth -- whether administered by judges, juries, or administrative officials -- and especially one that puts the burden of proving truth on the speaker. Cf. Speiser v. Randall, 357 U.S. 513, 525-526. The constitutional protection does not turn upon "the truth, popularity, or social utility of the ideas and beliefs which are offered." NAACP v. Button, 371 U.S. 415, 445. As Madison said, "Some degree of abuse is inseparable from the proper use of every thing, and in no instance is this more true than in that of the press." 4 Elliot's Debates on the Federal Constitution (1876), p. 571. In Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 310, the Court declared:
In the realm of religious faith, and in that of political belief, sharp differences arise. In both fields, the tenets of one man may seem the rankest error to his neighbor. To persuade others to his own point of view, the pleader, as we know, at times resorts to exaggeration, to vilification of men who have been, or are, prominent in church or state, and even to false statement. But the people of this nation have ordained, in the light of history, that, in spite of the probability of excesses and abuses, these liberties are, in the long view, essential to enlightened opinion and right conduct on the part of the citizens of a democracy.
Droopy's OP positing that tort law (or criminal law---he can't quite decide) should be used to chill political speech that includes allegedly defamatory statements is exactly the opposite of what the Free Speech clause was meant to protect. Again, certainly an odd position to take for someone who fancies himself a lover of the Constitution. But of course this is the same Droopy who is directly contradicting President Monson as to whether a person can take a political or legal position contrary to that of the Church regarding same-sex marriage and still remain a member of the Church in good standing.
Besides all this, I am still excited to see Droopy's explanation of how Harry Reid is depriving Mitt Romney of the presumption of innocence in a criminal proceeding. I mean, besides him showing how that presumption is in any way at all relevant to political speech, Droopy frequently harangues about how case law has corrupted our pure Constitution, as if the principle of stare decisis is a leftist counterculture plot that arose in the 19660's. E.g.,
I've never said that you don't understand constitutional law, at least as presently understood within many of our law schools. What I've said is that you have little understanding (or, more likely, have no intention of understanding) the constitution. You're entire past gay marriage schtick is evidence enough of that.
Two very different things, the constitution and constitutional law, depending upon one's approach to "constitutional law." viewtopic.php?f=3&t=21619&p=531148&hilit=+constitutional+law+#p531148
And yet the presumption of innocence, which Droopy has suddenly and irrelevantly become concerned about, is found nowhere within the text of the Constitution. It is instead a procedural right afforded to criminal defendants that has arisen out of case law expanding the rights guaranteed to people beyond those which are articulated in the Constitution itself.
Anyway, I'm sure we will be treated to the informed, well-reasoned response that Droopy has conditioned us to expect.