Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pop Quiz on the First Amendment in America

Today's First Amendment Pop Quiz: use #2 pencils only.

Please compare these two men:

Chicago City Council Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno

Nakoula Bassily Nakoula


One of these guys is a man who exercised his First Amendment right to freedom of speech by making a video insulting a religious figure.

The other guy is a Chicago government official who violated federal law by denying a man a license to open a chicken restaurant based on the man's political speech-- speech which is protected by the First Amendment.

Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242:

Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law

This statute makes it a crime for any person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to willfully deprive or cause to be deprived from any person those rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the U.S...

Acts under "color of any law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the bounds or limits of their lawful authority, but also acts done without and beyond the bounds of their lawful authority... This definition includes, in addition to law enforcement officials, individuals such as Mayors, Council persons...

For 20 points extra credit on our "First Amendment in America" quiz, please answer:

Which guy is the one getting arrested?


  1. Michael,

    What makes you think that Nakoula was being arrested? He had apparently agreed to accompany probation officers who were investigating whether he'd broken the conditions of his parole. He'd been convicted in 2010 for bank fraud, had served one year in gaol and been released on parole, with one of the conditions being that he didn't use a computer or the Internet for 5 years. It has been alleged that he'd uploaded the trailer for 'the Innocence of Mohammed' which would be a breach of his parole conditions and lead to a return to gaol to serve the remainder of his sentence. He was released.

    1. It was a show arrest. It was in the middle of the night, and the press was contacted by the authorities so they would be there to publicize it.

      People go to talk to their probation officers all the time. In daytime, without a police escort.

      It was a show arrest, and a crime against the Constitution.

    2. Tell me, why hasn't Moreno been prosecuted for violating Cathy's First Amendment rights? It's a slam-dunk case.

    3. Michael,

      Even if it was a 'show arrest', he wasn't arrested. He was released after questioning. It might have had some benefit if it demonstrated to the overseas Islamic fruit bats that he had nothing to do with the American authorities, and if he had anything to do with the video, then it had nothing to do with America in general.

      A forlorn hope...

      It wasn't a crime against the Constitution for someone thought to be in breach of parole conditions to be investigated. Perhaps unusual to be investigated at night, but can you point to anywhere in the Constitution (you're such a Constitutional expert...) where it states that people can only be investigated during office hours?

    4. So you admit that the intent was to use the 'police knocking on the guy's door in the middle of the night' for PR purposes, to mollify violent totalitarians in other parts of the world.

      And you don't have a problem with that?

      You still haven't answered my question: why hasn't Moreno been arrested for violating Title 18 USC Section 242?

      Violating the Constitution is a crime, unlike exercising rights in the Constitution.

    5. Michael,

      I'm an Australian. I don't care if a fast food restaurant owner is stopped from opening one of his franchises. That's for Americans to decide.

      But I am concerned that some crazy Islamist might mistake me for an American and take out his anger on me. Being investigated for a possible breach of parole conditions isn't an infringement of Constitutional rights. Or are you going to point to a part of the Constitution agreeing with you?

    6. Tell me, why hasn't Moreno been prosecuted for violating Cathy's First Amendment rights?

      Because Cathy would need to bring a private action against Moreno. That's how First Amendment cases work.

    7. So when the Federal Criminal Code calls it a "crime", they don't mean that its a... crime.

      Government agents aren't really charged with crimes for violating civil rights of citizens, of course


    8. First Amendment violations are simply never prosecuted under this section. I should point out that if they were, then many people you vociferously support would go to jail for violating the establishment clause.

      I know you don't like establishment clause jurisprudence, but if you are going to scream for the First Amendment to be enforced via criminal prosecution, then the entire First Amendment would get that treatment. Hence, the School Boards of Cranston and Dover (and many other places) would be in jail right now.

    9. You're right. Establishment clause cases-- prayer in school,doubting Darwin, etc-- are never prosecuted criminally, despite the fact that if they are real they violate federal law.

      The reasons why they are never prosecuted criminally:

      1) They are not real.

      2) There would never be a conviction if there were a jury trial-- no twelve peers would convict beyond a reasonable doubt on a school prayer case.

      3) There would be no money in it for the ACLU.

      You scum only bring these cases in civil courts because you would always lose in criminal court, and you wouldn't make any money.


    10. Michael,

      A simple t-shirt with 'I'm not batshit crazy like Michael Egnor' would be more than adequate.

      You forgot 3) above, unless you're like the Spanish Inquisition ('our two weapons are fear and surprise. And a ruthless determination. Our 3 weapons are ... Etc'. not exactly an accurate quote..)

  2. It’s no surprise that Egnor is defending the felonious scumbag who intentionally sowed religious animosity that caused riots and killing around the world, while calling for the arrest of a man fighting to keep a discriminatory company out of his ward.

    I bet Egnor only pretends to worship God while secretly working to please his true master. I can see the headlines now “New York surgeon found eating brains as part of satanic ritual”.


    1. Spoken like a true totalitarian, KW.

      So you support blasphemy laws? Would you support a Salt Lake City official who denied a business license to someone who supported gay marriage?

      Or do you only trash the Constitution when it involves causes you like?