[RD] Marty Walsh versus the Bill of Rights

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by BvBPL, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    Obviously emboldened by President Trump, Marty Walsh has issued his own unconstitutional executive order. The mayor has declared that space savers* with nasty notes will be removed. Those without nasty notes or those with non-nasty notes are presumably safe, at least until Zombie Menino returns from the grave to take them all away.

    This executive order is in clear violation of the First Amendment as a content-based restriction on speech. No word on when the Massachusetts ACLU, flush with power after pulling down a ridiculous amount in donations, will sue the mayor for his overreach.

    *Space saver: A folding chair or the like set out on a Boston street to "save" a parking space one has shoveled out following a snowstorm.
     
  2. Arwon

    Arwon

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    Space savers sound like a pretty unpleasant social norm to begin with.
     
  3. metalhead

    metalhead Angry Bartender

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    You really don't understand the concept of prosecutorial discretion?
     
  4. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    As far as I can tell, the citizens of Boston have no inherent right to leave crap lying around in the streets, but may be permitted to do so at the toleration of the municipal government under certain conditions. What Walsh appears to be doing is restricting the conditions of that toleration, so it's not at all clear how this constitutes a violation of the First Amendment.

    You might seem it as inconsistent with principles of free speech in a very general sense- although even the most ardent civil libertarian might struggle to define a credible threat of harm or harassment such as "I will key the ---- out of your car and slash all your tyres" as an example of free speech- but that doesn't seem sufficient to mount a legal challenge when Bostonians are not, as a general rule, already permitted to leave angry notes in the street without interference by municipal employees.
     
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  5. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    Its because the choice to take action against the space saver is based solely on the content of the speech in the note. That makes a content-based restriction, and therefore generally unconstitutional.
     
  6. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Deity

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    Not if the content of the note is a threat, as TF already pointed out. Trying the "my threats can't be treated differently than other forms of speech" defense has never worked, and never will.
     
  7. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    So is taking a parking space that someone else worked to clean out.
     
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  8. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Deity

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    I thought most people just put their space saver in the spot they pulled out of as if their car catching the snow that would have fallen there made it theirs by right.
     
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  9. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    Space savers are such a bleeding-heart solution to the problem. In the old days we'd torch the car without warning.
     
  10. Sommerswerd

    Sommerswerd Shades of the Sun Supporter

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    Everyone worked to clean their car out... The person who takes "your" space does so, because they already drove past "their" space that they cleaned out... and guess what? Somebody else took that space... because the space that the particular somebody else cleaned out to get their car out was taken by a different person who got home a little earlier... and so on. No one has any moral high ground to claim any particular space on the street as "theirs" just because they shoveled their car out of it... You spent 30 mins this morning shoveling your car out? Yeah, so did everyone else... so you don't have any special entitlement to park in that same space when you get home...parking spaces on city streets are first come first serve always have been... that's what public street means.

    That's without even getting into the fact that "your" space is on a public street that everyone pays taxes to maintain, including people who don't live anywhere near your street.

    I've lived in a big city and had to shovel myself out in the AM and then shovel myself back in in the PM because I worked late and all the spots that were already shoveled were taken. It sucks, but that's city life... I live in the suburbs now and I have my own driveway so I don't have that problem anymore... instead I now get to spend 2-3 hours clearing it of snow...
     
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  11. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy syntax error

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    Oh don't be so harsh now. It sounds sort of like functional IP law sorta. You shovel the space out? You get it for two days. If you'll be using it for two days? You'll do it well enough that it doesn't piss you off. Consider it an incentive program!
     
  12. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    Has no one noticed that the "victim" is not losing life, liberty or property? He's merely having his chair moved off public property. What legal action can he bring?.
     
  13. Commodore

    Commodore Deity

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    Yeah, pretty much this. It is more or less universally accepted that the right to free speech does not include the right to make threats.
     
  14. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Creator

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    People shoveling their car in/out of a space. And just as i was beginning to again contemplate migrating to Canada :D
     
  15. metalhead

    metalhead Angry Bartender

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    Can you point to Supreme Court precedent that equates tone with content? Or that vests a right to speech in an illegal means of expression like taping a note to an illegal obstruction of a public way?
     
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  16. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    As far as I can gather, the municipal authorities have the right to take action against any space savers at any time, but that in practice they tolerate it; that the use of space savers is a recognised custom, but not a legally-protected right. It's possible that the municipal authorities may therefore retain the right to take action against specific space savers as and when they see fit, and that is what seems to be happening here.

    It might be possible to argue that it was an infringement of free speech if these powers were being used in a selective and discriminatory way, but even the most ardent Social Justice Warrior is unlikely to see "people who threaten to slash other people's tires" as a protected class.
     
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  17. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Deity

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    Make the world a better place:

    Step one, remove space saver with note threatening to slash tires.
    Step two, park car.
    Step three, watch for person to come along and retrieve their space saver.
    Step four, kill them before they can slash tires, whether those tires belong to you or someone else.
     
  18. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    Well that's just it, space savers are in fact recognized by official city policy. It becomes an issue when people are treated differently based upon the content of their speech, as Walsh states he will act.
     
  19. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Deity

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    What part of "making threats has never been considered protected speech" is it that you are still not catching even though it has been said in half the posts in this thread?
     
  20. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    The part where people think that's a full statement of the law. True threats aren't protected. Things that may appear to contain a threatening element but are obviously hyperbolic or otherwise do not show an intent by the writer to carry out the alleged threat are protected. This would be the case here.
     

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