Monday, August 13, 2012

Reality "Bites": Experts Warn Ogden That Profanity Ban Could Be Unconstitutional - Updated

Our take: the Ogden City Council has more important work to do than bringing about an Orwell-style Ogden nanny-state
If you want to prevent something like fighting, then you ban fighting and you send in law enforcement when people do fight. It’s hardly ever constitutional to ban speech to prevent something else. You have to ban the ‘something else.’
BYU law professor Frederick Gedicks
Experts warn Ogden that profanity ban could be unconstitutional
August 13, 1012
I think it will be an uphill battle. One of the major problems is where they are proposing this. Parks are like the Colosseum; they have always been the place where people come together. They are the ultimate place for free speech.
I completely understand where they are coming from, but the solution is not to ban the content of the speech. The focus should be more on the actual conduct they are trying to prevent.
University of Utah law professor Erika George
Experts warn Ogden that profanity ban could be unconstitutional
August 13, 1012

To the Standard-Examiner's credit, they've ferreted out advice (for the City Council's enlightenment, we hope) on Ogden's proposed anti-profanity ordinance from the experts, constitutional law scholars at both of Utah's two law schools:
Hopefully the Ogden City Council will write this down so they don't forget it: "Experts say banning speech is almost never constitutional."
While this morning's S-E story reports that "[t]he city still has some time to adjust the ordinance before the council votes,"  we'll go out on a limb and urge the Council to drive a stake through the heart of City Public Services Director Jay Lowder's bone-headed ordinance, and to do so immediately.

And we additionally hope the Council won't waste valuable time trying to placate Mr. Lowder in a probably futile attempt to craft an ordinance based on the "vestigial" constitutional doctrine upholding bans on "fighting words".  The doctrine's all but dead as far as most informed folks are concerned. "Tellingly, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to uphold any convictions for fighting words since 1946." 

Our advice to the panty-waisted Mr. Lowder:
If fighting erupts any time at any Ogden City-sponsored recreational event or any city-owned recreational facility, advise city employees to adhere to the firm rules of American constitutional jurisprudence, and simply call the cops. 
It ain't that complicated in the final analysis, in our never-humble opinion.

Our City Council has more important work to do than bringing about an Orwell-style, language correct Ogden nanny-state, dont'cha think?

That's our take; and we're stickin' to it.

And with that, what say YOU?

Update 8/16/12 10:00 a.m.: The Standard chimes in on this topic this morning, with this strong, no nonsense editorial, hitting most of the major points we made up-thread:


OneWhoKnows2 said...

Knowing Mr. Lowder, I believe a few choice words are coming from him right now.  One must lead by example.

rudizink said...

What? Pantywaist Jay Lowder uses pottymouth regularly? 

Shocking, simply shocking I/we say!

Ernie the Attorney said...

My advice for Mister  Lowder:

Get a real job; and cease whining whilst you're drawing a fat Ogden City paycheck

Blackrulon said...

It might be something as simple as missing throwing money away on frivolous defense of local officials or ordinances. After all it has been 8+ months since Ogden stopped appealing Jon Greiners Hatch Act violations. What good is taxpayer money unless you can waste it on lost causes. Let those who wish this ordinance to be passed pay their own oney for the inevitable court challenges.

BikerBabe said...

 But ... we got our drug drop-off box.


1st Amendment All The Way said...

A website says this Jay Lowder is the 8 best paid person in our city government, earning 5.3 times as much as the median male worker in Ogden.  How can man who produces such a worthless proposal keep his job, let alone get this much for it?  We need Jay Lowder dismissed from employment.

OneWhoKnows2 said...

One reason and one reason only.....John "Pureheart" Patterson paid back his loyal boy with a fat title and salary.

1st Amendment All The Way said...

Oh my god-frey, I thought getting rid of the corrupt Matthew & John would be the end of it!  Looks like we still have some house-cleaning to do.  I believe this bad performance ( child-like anti-constitutional proposal) constitutes just cause for dismissing Jay.

Ogden Res said...

Holy cow.  The guy is just trying to maintain civility in the parks.  There is no right to use abusive speech in a public place.  Sheesh.

1st Amendment All The Way said...

Wrong.  You are incorrectly trying to entangle abuse with speech.  Most "Abuse" is illegal, and requires an unjust ACTION to take place (and we don't need any new laws to cover that).  Words are not actions, and the noises made by the syllables don't cause harm in and of themselves.  That's why the 1st amendment RIGHT is so good.

The stunning lack of creativity displayed by Jay Lowder in solving such a simple problem proves he isn't competent for his position.

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