Are we about to see Freedom of Speech redefined for Donald Trump?
In a disturbing turn of events, Politico reports that lawyers for Trump filed a brief in court on Thursday in the case against him for inciting violence at a campaign rally last year. What makes it scary? His lawyers claim the protesters, who were assaulted at the candidate’s behest, were actually violating his right to free speech. They allow the protesters’ right to their own speech, but claim it ends as soon as they enter Trump’s rally:
The Pixie-Fingered Premier’s lawyers further argued that, although he did exhort his rabid fans to “get ’em outta here,” he added “don’t hurt them.” I presume they see that as a specific instruction as to how the offenders should be removed. Compounding the difficulty of this ridiculous argument is the fact that the Trumpeteers who assaulted the rally-crashers were cheered. They were never reprimanded in any way for acting violently after Trump’s call to action.
When can violence be disregarded?
In an effort to cover all their bases, Trump’s legal team says that even if he was directing the crowd to violently eject the protesters, he was within his legal rights to do so:
The motion seeks to either temporarily suspend the ruling from last month allowing the plaintiffs’ case to proceed, in order to give them time to appeal, or to dismiss the claims entirely.
Should the Sixth Circuit Court grant the motion, it could signal a terrifying interpretation of the First Amendment. If protesters are not allowed to demonstrate at campaign rallies, how much further will the courts go? Can I put an anti-Trump sign in my yard, even if my neighbor has a pro-Trump sign in his? Can a student wear an anti-Trump shirt to a class taught by a teacher who supports him?
Pay close attention to this one, folks. It could have far-reaching effects that would chill our constitutional freedom of speech.
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