Yesterday morning I posted on a reaction to lawmakers dodging town halls in which they are confronted with angry constituents armed with embarrassing questions. I observed that the AZ Senate Republicans have a solution to help out those poor legislators who are so fearful of their constituents: make those citizens criminals.
Quoting from Howard Fischer’s report:
Claiming people are being paid to riot, Republican state senators voted Wednesday to give police new power to arrest anyone who is involved in a peaceful demonstration that may turn bad — even before anything happens.
SB 1142 would expand the state’s racketeering laws, now aimed at organized crime, to also include rioting. It would redefine rioting to include actions resulting in damage to others’ property.
“Wouldn’t you rather stop a riot before it starts?” Kavanagh asked colleagues during debate. “Do you really want to wait until people are injuring each other, throwing Molotov cocktails, picking up barricades and smashing them through businesses in downtown Phoenix?”
“That may turn bad.” “May”?!?! This is an attack on Amendment I of the Constitution of the United States of America which reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
I guess the Founding Fathers should have said “Congress and the Arizona Legislature shall make no law …”
I was wrong about that. It turns out that there are court rulings on exactly that point - that the Constitution applies to the states.
Yesterday AZBlueMeanie also took issue with Kavanagh’s bill published in this morning’s Blog for Arizona, Authoritarian Tea-Publicans criminalize protests. Edward Cizek posted a comment citing court rulings that apply the first and 14th amendments to state governments.
Edward Cizek | February 23, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Reply
Perhaps Kavanagh should go back and read SCOTUS case DeJonge v. Oregon, 299 U.S. 353 (1937).
This case held that the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution explicitly applies the freedom of Assembly guaranteed in the 1st Amendment to state governments via the incorporation doctrine.
Nor can the State even lawfully criminalize the abstract advocacy of law-breaking or violent action unless such speech falls under the limited scope of either incendiary speech or presents ‘clear and present danger’. (Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969)).
Not that they care. Kavanagh & co. will still get their paychecks from the state & their donors, and we the taxpayers will still foot the bill of watching Brnovich attempt to defend a law in laughable contempt of decades of SCOTUS precedent.
And what happened to SB 1142? “The 17–13 party-line vote sends the bill to the House.” Anyone think the House will do any thing differently? Any bets on Guv Doozy signing off on an unconstitutional law?
Yep. Cizek is right. More lawsuits on the way.