Saturday, September 18, 2010

It is not hard to understand why there is skepticism about the courts

Last Friday, the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals (and with decisions like this the proper term is Circus) struck down a Hermosa Beach ordinance which limited the number of parlors that could be located in the city limits. (Anderson v Hermosa Beach) Surprisingly the court found that the issue was somehow related to the First Amendment.

Cities have a legitimate responsibility in limiting the numbers of some businesses, for example liquor stores.  Some nimrod judge named Jay S. Bybee wrote the decision (he was a W. Bush appointee).  He was supported by two other clowns from the Circus - John T Noonan (a Reagan appointee) and Richard Clifton (another W appointee).  The braintrust suggested that tattoo parlors fall under expressive speech - “The process of expression through a medium has never been thought so distinct from the expression itself that we could disaggregate Picasso from his brushes and canvas, or that we could value Beethoven without the benefit of strings and woodwinds.”
Bybee also wrote that “the fact that the tattoo is for sale does not deprive it of its First Amendment protection,” and said the ordinance was “not a reasonable ‘time, place, or manner’ restriction because it is substantially broader than necessary to achieve the City’s significant health and safety interests and because it entirely forecloses a unique and important method of expression.”

In the development of the First Amendment it was clearly intended to protect political speech.  But somehow many who read the simple language have never bothered to read the underlying thinking behind the protections.  Too bad.

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