“Never underestimate the ability of a small group of dedicated people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead
“…No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without the due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” U.S. Const. Fourteenth Amendment. § 1.
Hello Everyone, Happy Hump Day.
Many Moons ago, I mentioned how real-life Harvey Specters brought a lawsuit against Mayor Bill De Blasio and his administration to protect against the infringement upon our inherent Constitutional rights. And, today, we have an update.
The Constitution of the United States guarantees the equal protection of the laws for all citizens, both federal and state law. Equal protection of the law means equal application of the law. If x, then y. If the government allows one political group to do an activity that is protected free speech, the government has to allow other political groups to do an activity that is protected free speech. It really is not that hard. That is what free speech means.
Not every speech, though free, deserves or earns a platform—in the private realm. Not all ideas have the same value—though when the government gets involved, it cannot pick and choose, or should not. Capitalism is clearly superior to Socialism, Communism, etc. A Constitutional Federal Republic is clearly superior to tyrannical one-party rule. All you have to do is look to California. Once a beautifully run and prosperous state. And now, for decades, under the supermajority rule of the Democrat Party…and here we are. When people are locked in an echo chamber and other good ideas are shot down, you get groupthink and Commiefornia. People are fleeing.
That’s my rant about California for the day. Sometimes I can’t help it. It’s not hard to run a government. That is actually what the Main Stream Media has proved with their own arguments from the 2015-2016 election cycle. They said it was so hard that someone with only business experience would not know what to do, it requires political “know-how,” and that an outsider with no experience would fail.
The last three years were a lot better than the last 28, in vastly many metrics. Clearly political experience is not a prerequisite to running government properly. Nor to be able to efficiently and effectively execute government’s proper purposes. Or apparently any experience for the job that we have been told is “required.” Must not be that difficult. Seems, from the evidence, a business may be harder to maintain and run than a government. Huh. Interesting. Who would have ever that.
I digress. Back to our Constitutional rights.
Our topic of discussion for today is the egregious trampling on the rights of women being able to express their inherent and protected free speech—by the Mayor of New York and his administration, nonetheless. A little back drop is necessary.
Black Lives Matter, the Marxist organization, was “allowed” to paint murals in eight busy and highly visible streets in New York City. One place being in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Ave. (Do they not know he isn’t there? He’s sort of in the White House.) This happened over the course of many weeks, almost two or so months. With no permit process for other political organizations to properly apply. Which, if there was no permit process, how did BLM get the approval? Odd.
Women for America First, an organization dedicated to “Engaging, Inspiring, and Encouraging Women to Make a Difference!”, a noble and worthy cause, sought to create a mural of their own for the engagement, inspiration, and encouragement of women in America and their rights, abilities, and wonderment. Unfortunately, this organization is not on the Bill De Blasio pre-approved, arbitrary, and capricious list of organizations he likes. Could it possibly be because they differ on some issues with those on the political left? Or at least differ on the modes and methods of achieving shared goals?
What De Blasio is engaging in is a Deprivation of Rights Under the Color of State Law. 42 U.S.C. § 1983, et seq. Which states, explicitly, “[e]very person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State…, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any Citizen of the United States…within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured…”
It seems, at least to me, to be pretty clear cut. Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble. Nor shall any state make or enforce any law, regulation, ordinance, custom, or usage, which deprives Americans of equal protection under the law.
De Blasio has some hoops to jump through to prove there is some substantial justification to allow, without a permit, BLM to paint murals on busy streets; and to deny Women for America First, its right to do the exact same. I am all ears for his argument.
Importantly, the ears of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Women for America First v. Bill De Blasio, et al., 1:20-cv-05746 (LGS), are open too.
To succeed, Specter Squared needs to show irreparable harm done to Women for America First. When it comes to Free Speech, “the loss of First Amendment Freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.” Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373 (1976); Berry v. City of New York, 97 F.3d 689, 693 (2nd Cir. 1996). (Not bad arguments made by Specter Squared.)
Well, there you have it. Though, just a plurality opinion from the Supreme Court, it was used in the Second Circuit, where the USDC SDNY adjudicates cases—and is bound by precedent. Darn that precedent, or stare decisis.
For more than two months, the Women for America First have lost their inherent and inalienable right to exercise their First Amendment Freedoms, the same rights BLM has been afforded. If two months does not count as “even [a] minimal period of time,” I do not know what will. Because during these two months, BLM has been able to paint more and more murals, while Women for America has to spend money to sue De Blasio for the very same use of rights.
That is fine to let BLM paint their murals; you have to also let other groups exercise their God-given rights as well. If you let one political organizations eat the cake, then you have to let other political organizations eat the free speech cake, too.
What De Blasio is doing does not sound much like the equal protection of the laws. Makes sense. It was an overwhelming majority of the Republican Party who drafted, debated, wrote, and ratified the 14th Amendment during the Reconstruction Era, after Democrats started a Civil War over slavery. When the Rule of Law turns into the Rule of Men, individual rights are thrown to the wayside.
As much as I have my personal disagreements with the Black Lives Matter “movement,” the organization and the individuals involved with them are free to express their rhetoric in public or artistic capabilities on the streets. However, the preferential treatment of one group over the other group cannot stand in a country where we are taught, raised, and believe to be “Created Equal.”
And, thankfully, we do have the separation of powers with an independent judiciary who is to be the bulwark against bashful encroachments upon our individual rights by either the executive or legislative branches of our government. It is well established within our judicial decisions that “government regulation may not favor one speaker over another.” Members of City Council of Los Angeles v. Taxpayers for Vincent, 466 U.S. 789, 804 (1984). The government must refrain from “regulat[ing] speech based on its substantive content or the message it conveys” it is an “axiomatic” belief in our justice system. Police Dept. of Chicago v. Mosley, 408 U.S. 92, 96 (1972).
Moreover, the government cannot regulate speech when the “specific motivating ideology or opinion or perspective” of the political organization or speakers is the reason behind the restriction. Perry Educ. Assn. v. Perry Local Educators’ Assn., 460 U.S. 37, 46.
Most recently, the Supreme Court has gone further to state “the test for viewpoint discrimination is whether… the government has singled out a subset of messages for disfavor based on the views expressed.” Matal v. Tam, __ U.S. __ 137 S. Ct. 1744 (2017).
With all that being said, and our rich judicial history of defending viewpoints which are unsavory, disfavored, and disliked—from the government’s discrimination—the case is pretty cut and dry, because of what De Blasio has done and allowed these past two months.
I mean, Bill, what are you afraid of? Is it Women for America First painting murals? Or is it the, potential, BLM backlash for letting other people with differing viewpoints exercise their inherent and inalienable rights in our Constitution, Bill? What about diversity? I know its not an old, old wooden ship used back in the Civil War era, so I wonder then, what the Democrats must be promoting. Hm.
Bill, Let Women for America Paint.