Would the Framers’ Allow Signs that Create a Disturbance?

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, a proponent of U.S. President Donald Trump, has adopted a “code of conduct” for a planned  town meeting  tomorrow at the  Mesa Convention Center, near Phoenix.

It is likely that some people in Sen.Flake’s district are upset with his support of Trump’s agenda, particularly that part of the agenda which threatens reasonable labor protections,  meaningful health care for all, and environmental regulations that may just save the world for one more generation. It’s even possible that things will get uncomfortable for Sen. Flake, a former executive director of the Goldwater Institute.

So. Sen. Flake, who was elected to the Senate in 2013, has published a code of conduct for the meeting that contains the following provisions:

  • “Attendees with signs, banners or objects that create a disturbance will not be admitted.”
  • “To ensure a safe, enjoyable, and productive town hall, all attendees must comply with posted and audible instructions and failure to comply will result in immediate removal.”
  • “Constituents may begin to park or line up on the property one hour before the program begins. Doors will open an hour before the program begins.”

A progressive feminist nitpicker might find fault with Sen. Flake’s code of conduct. For one thing, the code seems designed to limit the speech of Sen. Flake’s critics.  It is not likely that he is concerned about signage that applauds his performance in office.

The U.S. Supreme Court repeatedly has  ruled that political signs are entitled to free speech protection under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The government cannot impose “content-based regulations” on political speech. For example, the government cannot decide that signs which approve of the government are admissible but signs that express displeasure about the government are not admissible. The Court  also says it is perfectly okay if free speech creates a disturbance.

In addition, would the original framers of the U.S. Constitution deny citizens admission to a town hall meeting because they carried signs that were critical of government?

Comments

  1. Alice Thomas says:

    Great article

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