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Old 10-09-2013, 04:56 AM
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What's the rationale for allowing the immigration rally on the closed national mall?


We've been hearing of all these areas in Washington being shut down. Even the war memorial to elderly visiting veteran groups. But an immigration rally was allowed to go on. There were port-a-potties set up the day before, there was a band that poled and thousands of attendees. This appears to be partisanship at its worst. Is there another explanation? A NY Times article offers this:

Quote:
In a statement, the Park Service said it had allowed the immigration rally as an expression of “First Amendment rights,” the same rationale it had provided for opening the war memorial.
The two instances are not even close. One allowed visiting vets to pay their respects, the other is a political rally. I could see them allowing people to access the area, but the setting up of bathrooms and allowing a band to set up, and then have to clean up after everyone seems to go against the notion that federal parks, etc. had to be closed. But Obama made an exception for this:

Quote:
From the stage, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader, thanked the White House for giving permission for the rally to proceed.
This stinks to me. It's an example of the worst type of partisanship by Obama. Now, I'm no fan of his, but even those of you who are, isn't this just the type of thing that makes people disgusted with Washington/politicians/politics, and Obama himself. If not, what's the justification in light of all the other stories we've been hearing?
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:03 AM
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Like it says in the article, "First amendment Rights". And if Obama is in control of some devious plot, why did the Democrats get arrested?
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:09 AM
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You're right. It is bullshit that veterans were allowed to visit a closed memorial under the fig leaf of "First Amendment rights". They weren't expressing anything. And the administration caved and gave them a special dispensation solely because of PR grandstanding by some Congress blowhard.

On the other hand, how is a political rally (one that probably was planned and scheduled long before the shutdown) not a First Amendment thing ?
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by magellan01 View Post
WThis stinks to me. It's an example of the worst type of partisanship by Obama. Now, I'm no fan of his, but even those of you who are, isn't this just the type of thing that makes people disgusted with Washington/politicians/politics, and Obama himself. If not, what's the justification in light of all the other stories we've been hearing?
Nope. Unless you have evidence of the administration NOT allowing some rally to take place concerning an issue that Obama does not favor.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:55 AM
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This stinks to me.
I'm sure it would stink less if it were an anti-Obamacare rally by white old guys wearing teabags on their head.


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It's an example of the worst type of partisanship by Obama.
Which is nothing compared to the worst type of partisanship by the Republicans.


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Originally Posted by magellan01 View Post
Now, I'm no fan of his, but even those of you who are, isn't this just the type of thing that makes people disgusted with Washington/politicians/politics, and Obama himself.
No. Holding the US economy hostage because you are sad that a law was passed is what makes people disgusted with Washington/politicians/politics.


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If not, what's the justification in light of all the other stories we've been hearing?
The First Amendment.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:33 AM
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This stinks to me. It's an example of the worst type of partisanship by Obama.
You're right on the money. I hope Obama keeps it up.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by magellan01 View Post
We've been hearing of all these areas in Washington being shut down. Even the war memorial to elderly visiting veteran groups. But an immigration rally was allowed to go on. There were port-a-potties set up the day before, there was a band that poled and thousands of attendees. This appears to be partisanship at its worst. Is there another explanation? A NY Times article offers this:



The two instances are not even close. One allowed visiting vets to pay their respects, the other is a political rally. I could see them allowing people to access the area, but the setting up of bathrooms and allowing a band to set up, and then have to clean up after everyone seems to go against the notion that federal parks, etc. had to be closed. But Obama made an exception for this:



This stinks to me. It's an example of the worst type of partisanship by Obama. Now, I'm no fan of his, but even those of you who are, isn't this just the type of thing that makes people disgusted with Washington/politicians/politics, and Obama himself. If not, what's the justification in light of all the other stories we've been hearing?
You are absolutely 100% correct.
He is a non-Republican President.
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:29 AM
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Like it says in the article, "First amendment Rights". And if Obama is in control of some devious plot, why did the Democrats get arrested?
Because that is why one goes to this sort of rally, of course!
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:50 AM
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I'm sure it would stink less if it were an anti-Obamacare rally by white old guys wearing teabags on their head.
AS noted in the story, a number of the immigration protesters were arrested. If the hypothetical Tea Party protesters were arrested under identical circumstances, this would be taken as evidence of Obama clamping down on First Amendment rights.

Let's remember:
Immigration protesters arrested = Obama giving special treatment to liberals despite the government shutdown
Tea Party protesters arrested = Obama violating the First Amendment
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:23 AM
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The two instances are not even close. One allowed visiting vets to pay their respects, the other is a political rally.
I'm pretty sure it was political when a Republican Congressman went to the war memorial and screamed at a park ranger, but that was also allowed. It sounds to me that the rule made a point of allowing protests just so they wouldn't be accused of stifling them. That includes people protesting the closure of memorials or this.

If this is political bias, it makes no sense. Immigration reform was dead in the water anyway, but even if it wasn't, absolutely nobody is going to pay attention to it while the government is shut down. And I don't think Obama would want people to be distracted from the shutdown right now.
Quote:
This stinks to me. It's an example of the worst type of partisanship by Obama.
The shutdown and the default fight are the worst kind of partisanship. Complaints like this are what you see when Republicans realize this is going badly for them.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:34 AM
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Asked in another thread, relevant here as well: where is the Tea Party? Why aren't they bringing their massive popular support to bear?
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:38 AM
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The two instances are not even close. One allowed visiting vets to pay their respects, the other is a political rally.
Exactly. And the First Amendment is only there to protect the latter.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:51 AM
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There's a real simple solution to the situation the OP is so offended by. The republican congress-toddlers can get over their tantrum and pass the damn budget already.
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Old 10-09-2013, 12:13 PM
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There's a real simple solution to the situation the OP is so offended by. The republican congress-toddlers can get over their tantrum and pass the damn budget already.
Alternatively, the senate can sign one of the bills the house sent over that fully fund the government. If the closing of the government is so bad, then why not agree to fund it fully and delay one aspect of Obamacare for a year?
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Old 10-09-2013, 12:38 PM
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Alternatively, the senate can sign one of the bills the house sent over that fully fund the government. If the closing of the government is so bad, then why not agree to fund it fully and delay one aspect of Obamacare for a year?
Why should we think that Republicans won't pull the same shit a year from now?
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Old 10-09-2013, 12:42 PM
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Alternatively, the senate can sign one of the bills the house sent over that fully fund the government. If the closing of the government is so bad, then why not agree to fund it fully and delay one aspect of Obamacare for a year?
Because blackmail is wrong?
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Old 10-09-2013, 12:50 PM
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Because when toddlers throw tantrums, it's really poor parenting to reward them by giving them what they want.
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Old 10-09-2013, 12:53 PM
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Alternatively, the senate can sign one of the bills the house sent over that fully fund the government.
There hasn't been one. All they've passed is can-kicking bills that fund a bit less than the full government - as you must know. The Senate has already passed and sent to the House multiple bills that fund all of the government, including ones that do more than kick the can.
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Old 10-09-2013, 02:56 PM
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. . . Immigration protesters arrested = obama giving special treatment to liberals despite the government shutdown
tea party protesters arrested = obama violating the first amendment
"kane elected"
"charles foster kane defeated, fraud at polls!"
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:48 PM
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I don't understand the First Amendment argument. Why couldn't the organizers simply change venues, or postpone the event? Neither of those options seems like any kind of infringement on freedom of speech, as long as the rules were applied fairly to all groups wanting to hold rallies given the current shutdown.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:17 PM
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I don't understand the First Amendment argument. Why couldn't the organizers simply change venues, or postpone the event? Neither of those options seems like any kind of infringement on freedom of speech, as long as the rules were applied fairly to all groups wanting to hold rallies given the current shutdown.
A related question is why doesn't the first amendment argument hold if I want to stage a rally in a Smithsonian museum at 3:00 a.m.? Are my first amendment rights being violated when they lock the doors at 5 pm?
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:24 PM
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I don't understand the First Amendment argument. Why couldn't the organizers simply change venues, or postpone the event? Neither of those options seems like any kind of infringement on freedom of speech, as long as the rules were applied fairly to all groups wanting to hold rallies given the current shutdown.
It is clear that that was an option by the organizers, but then they got the permission on First Amendment grounds.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:26 PM
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A related question is why doesn't the first amendment argument hold if I want to stage a rally in a Smithsonian museum at 3:00 a.m.? Are my first amendment rights being violated when they lock the doors at 5 pm?
Because public parks are different from museums for the purposes of the First Amendment, just like the sidewalks outside abortion clinics are different from the insides of those clinics.

I'm not saying the First Amendment isn't being used as a political fig leaf here, since I haven't looked closely at the issue, but it is true that certain public places cannot be closed to First Amendment activity even if they are otherwise closed to all comers.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:35 PM
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Because public parks are different from museums for the purposes of the First Amendment, just like the sidewalks outside abortion clinics are different from the insides of those clinics.

I'm not saying the First Amendment isn't being used as a political fig leaf here, since I haven't looked closely at the issue, but it is true that certain public places cannot be closed to First Amendment activity even if they are otherwise closed to all comers.
So I can cross the barricades at all the monuments during the shutdown as long as I carry a sign saying "NObamacare"?
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:42 PM
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So I can cross the barricades at all the monuments during the shutdown as long as I carry a sign saying "NObamacare"?
It depends on a lot of facts I don't know. Generally, the rule is that public parks, streets, and sidewalks are considered "traditional public forums." Speech in such forums can be regulated as to time, place, and manner, but cannot be categorically prohibited. I doubt there is any precedent addressing whether closing traditional public forums during a government shutdown constitutes a reasonable time, place, or manner regulation.

My guess is that a lot of the monuments don't count as traditional public forums anyway, for various reasons having to do with their legal status under statutes and facts concerning how open they are to the public during normal hours, etc. etc. Obviously, the park on the National Mall is pretty much going to count as a park.

But your suggestion that reference to First Amendment law is obviously and unavoidably a partisan fig leaf is just wrong. There are real issues here.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:56 PM
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But your suggestion that reference to First Amendment law is obviously and unavoidably a partisan fig leaf is just wrong. There are real issues here.
I'm not suggesting that. I'm trying to understand this. The WWII memorial was originally closed to the vets. According to Rep. Pallazo Interior initially refused his request that the vets could visit the WWII memorial. The vets went around the barricades and park police didn't stop them. Seems like optics is what allowed the vets to be able to visit the monument...not the first amendment.

Before the shutdown the park service spokeswoman said:
Quote:
We’re also contacting anybody who has a permit to let them know that in the event of a shutdown, all permits will be canceled,
Now, I assume any rally or protest requires a permit. Looks like they were planning to cancel everything. Did the entire administration forget about the first amendment when that was decided?

Of course, the monuments were not closed during the 95/96 shutdowns. Sure, the information booths were closed but people were allowed to walk on the mall and climb the steps to the Lincoln memorial, etc. What's different this time?

Last edited by yorick73; 10-09-2013 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 10-09-2013, 06:06 PM
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The WWII memorial was originally closed to the vets. According to Rep. Pallazo Interior initially refused his request that the vets could visit the WWII memorial. The vets went around the barricades and park police didn't stop them. Seems like optics is what allowed the vets to be able to visit the monument...not the first amendment.
Yeah, I think that might well be true, especially since the planned activity does not seem especially First Amendment-y. But I don't think that suggests anything about whether the decision to let the immigration rally proceed was similarly political or not.

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Now, I assume any rally or protest requires a permit. Looks like they were planning to cancel everything. Did the entire administration forget about the first amendment when that was decided?
It is entirely plausible that they didn't seriously consider the First Amendment implications of revoking all permits until after that announcement. I can't tell you the number of times I've been involved in cases where governments (usually local governments) tried to close down public spaces for one reason or another and, when presented with the issue, realize they just hadn't fully considered the First Amendment implications.

It could also have been a bluff, and they never intended to try to actually cancel all the permits. I don't know.

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Of course, the monuments were not closed during the 95/96 shutdowns. Sure, the information booths were closed but people were allowed to walk on the mall and climb the steps to the Lincoln memorial, etc. What's different this time?
I don't think your premise is true. AFAIK, most of the monuments were indeed closed.
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Old 10-09-2013, 06:11 PM
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Of course, the monuments were not closed during the 95/96 shutdowns. Sure, the information booths were closed but people were allowed to walk on the mall and climb the steps to the Lincoln memorial, etc. What's different this time?
Lincoln Memorial during the 1995 government shutdown.
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Old 10-09-2013, 06:17 PM
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I don't think your premise is true. AFAIK, most of the monuments were indeed closed.
According to this article the open air monuments were still open.

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Tourists were free to wander the halls of the Capitol, touch the walls of the Vietnam Memorial and climb the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to read the Gettysburg Address – those and other similar sites don’t require supervision by federal employees.
Now, the Capitol being closed I can understand. But the open air memorials? What's changed?
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Old 10-09-2013, 06:22 PM
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Now, the Capitol being closed I can understand. But the open air memorials? What's changed?
Given the photo evidence of the closure of the Lincoln memorial, I'm not sure I find that news account persuasive. According to the Congressional Research Service, the last shutdown resulting in the closure of 368 National Park Service sites including "closure of national museums and monuments (reportedly with an estimated loss of 2 million visitors)."

But to the extent there have been differences, I see a lot of plausible possibilities, including politics.
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Old 10-09-2013, 06:28 PM
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According to this site it was closed for a portion and open for a portion. There should be an easier way to get an answer to this question.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:03 PM
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I don't get the First Amendment argument either. Sure, people can come together and protest. But do they have the right to do it 1) where and 2) when they want. If someplace is closed, it seems that they then have the right to go exercise the first amendment rights someplace else.

The answer, I'm sorry to say, appears to be much simpler. If you're on Obama's side, "Sure, we can make an exception for you".


By the way, is that a construction barricade on the left side of that picture?

Last edited by magellan01; 10-09-2013 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:06 PM
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I don't get the First Amendment argument either. Sure, people can come together and protest. But do they have the right to do it 1) where and 2) when they want.
Well, not to Godwinize this thread, but the Supreme Court has previously ruled that the Nazis could march in a heavily Jewish suburb on Yom Kippur. So, um, yeah.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:19 PM
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I don't get the First Amendment argument either. Sure, people can come together and protest. But do they have the right to do it 1) where and 2) when they want. If someplace is closed, it seems that they then have the right to go exercise the first amendment rights someplace else.
And that's a fine opinion, but it's not the law.
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:26 PM
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I don't get the First Amendment argument either. Sure, people can come together and protest. But do they have the right to do it 1) where and 2) when they want. If someplace is closed, it seems that they then have the right to go exercise the first amendment rights someplace else.

The answer, I'm sorry to say, appears to be much simpler. If you're on Obama's side, "Sure, we can make an exception for you".


By the way, is that a construction barricade on the left side of that picture?
It does look like work is being done on the site. Notice the signs don't reference the government shutdown. This picture shows no barricades and a sign referencing the government shutdown. Notice the sign says the national park sites are temporarily closed to visitor services.
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:23 PM
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The two instances are not even close. One allowed visiting vets to pay their respects, the other is a political rally.


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Exactly. And the First Amendment is only there to protect the latter.
Doesn't the first amendment also guarantee "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

IMHO, the peaceful assembly clause is the relevant portion of the First Amendment that should apply equally to Immigration protesters and to visiting WW II vets.

In De Jonge v. State of Oregon (1937) the SCOTUS wrote "the right to peaceable assembly is a right cognate to those of free speech and free press and is equally fundamental."

Of course it is not being applied equally at the present.
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:12 AM
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I don't get the First Amendment argument either. Sure, people can come together and protest. But do they have the right to do it 1) where and 2) when they want. If someplace is closed, it seems that they then have the right to go exercise the first amendment rights someplace else.
Right. So the veterans should have been kindly but firmly told to toodle on. Wouldn't you agree ?

You can't have it both ways. Either both crowds have the right to suck it, or both have the right to proceed. If you make a specific distinction between them then that would, in fact, be shamelessly partisan.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:10 AM
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It does look like work is being done on the site. Notice the signs don't reference the government shutdown. This picture shows no barricades and a sign referencing the government shutdown. Notice the sign says the national park sites are temporarily closed to visitor services.
Yes. And people seem to be walking in the area. Which makes sense to me. Closed down the services (information) but allow people to just walk about.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:15 AM
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Right. So the veterans should have been kindly but firmly told to toodle on. Wouldn't you agree ?

You can't have it both ways. Either both crowds have the right to suck it, or both have the right to proceed. If you make a specific distinction between them then that would, in fact, be shamelessly partisan.
No. It's one thing to allow individuals to visit the memorial, it's another thing for the government to facilitate that. So, if there were no barricades, the vets could have just visited as they planned to. Same with non-vets of any stripe. But if you want to hold a rally and you need the government's assistance and have to bring it toilets, sound equipment, etc., "Sorry, you'll have to come back when we're up and running."

But nice try, though.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:18 AM
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And that's a fine opinion, but it's not the law.
So, what is the law? Can people go anywhere they want at any time they want to exercise free speech? Of course not. I can't come to your living room. I can't demand to go into the White House at 3 AM. I think you're a lawyer, I'm not, so what are the restrictions. Also, aren't there a different set of rules for large groups?
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:20 AM
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Whose permission did they need? Why? By the tenor of some in this thread I'm led to believe that a group can exercise their free speech rights willy-nilly, whenever they want, wherever they want.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:31 AM
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I'm still trying to figure out what universe you live in where people looking at a monument should be afforded greater access to public spaces than people gathering to ask the government for a change in laws.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:31 AM
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Magellan, as I explained upthread, a traditional public forum (which is a small subset of public spaces) can have reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on speech. What it cannot do is be closed to speech entirely, even if that rule is applied neutrally.

The question is whether a shutdown of the park during a lapse in appropriations is a reasonable time-based regulation. I can see arguments for and against, and notably the arguments against are similar to the ones conservatives are making about the Lincoln Memorial.

It is true that large groups generally need permits. But the issuing of the permit or not is still just a question of whether it is a reasonable regulation of the time for speech.

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Old 10-10-2013, 08:39 AM
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No. It's one thing to allow individuals to visit the memorial, it's another thing for the government to facilitate that.
Not seeing how it did from the article. Unless "letting it happen" constitutes "facilitating" ?

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So, if there were no barricades, the vets could have just visited as they planned to. Same with non-vets of any stripe.
Yes. And if Macy's didn't close at 8pm, I could shop there at night. What's your point ?

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But if you want to hold a rally and you need the government's assistance and have to bring it toilets, sound equipment, etc., "Sorry, you'll have to come back when we're up and running."
But it seems that, per first amendment (and, I'll underline again, because they had their hands twisted into allowing the vets in the first time around) they simply couldn't deny the rally from taking place.

And if the rally itself can't be prohibited, they're kinda forced to provide it with hygienic necessities - assuming for a minute that gvt officials brought in the toilets, and not the rally's organizers. The article doesn't make it clear either way - because it's that or people shitting on the lawn.

Would you rather the government had let people shit on the lawn ?

Quote:
Also, aren't there a different set of rules for large groups?
I expect there are different rules for public property, which I understand the National Mall is.
  #45  
Old 10-10-2013, 08:50 AM
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I'm still trying to figure out what universe you live in where people looking at a monument should be afforded greater access to public spaces than people gathering to ask the government for a change in laws.
Tell me, why do you think memorial monuments exist? what is their primary purpose?

And why do public spaces exist? What is their primary purpose?

Of course the answer to the former is to allow people to pay respects and reflect on the sacrifice of others. The answer to the latter is that they create area people can walk through, sit, ponder, meet, gather, etc. Using it as a forum for a group to address the government with grievances is a very legitimate but secondary use. So, with no services offered, both primary uses could still be enjoyed.

And they vets did not get greater access. I have no idea where you're getting that from. Like I said, closing the services makes sense. Closing an open air area like that doesn't. Especially since it cost more money to keep people away than to have them mill about. A large group is different, which is proven by the fact that they had to get some kind of authorization and the gathering had to be facilitated by the government.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:55 AM
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You're saying that a protest/rally/whatever got special treatment. You don't seem to be saying that veterans got special treatment.

Plus, you're saying that it is a secondary purpose for pulic spaces to be used for political speech, and that the primary purpose is milling around. Why do you gloss over the simple fact that milling around isn't a specifically protected activity under the Bill of Rights, and political speech is?

Plus, the government doesn't provide port-a-potties. The event organizers have to rent them from a private company.

Last edited by Ravenman; 10-10-2013 at 08:56 AM.
  #47  
Old 10-10-2013, 08:56 AM
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Looks like the Lincoln memorial was undergoing mural restoration during 1995-1996. It doesn't appear that the photo submitted is depicting the Lincoln memorial closed due to a government shutdown.
  #48  
Old 10-10-2013, 08:57 AM
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But it seems that, per first amendment (and, I'll underline again, because they had their hands twisted into allowing the vets in the first time around) they simply couldn't deny the rally from taking place.
Sure they could have. For the reasons I mentioned. If the group was the NRA, do you think they would have been treated the same. HA!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kobal2 View Post
And if the rally itself can't be prohibited, they're kinda forced to provide it with hygienic necessities - assuming for a minute that gvt officials brought in the toilets, and not the rally's organizers. The article doesn't make it clear either way - because it's that or people shitting on the lawn.
But it can be disallowed. If a group applies for a permit(?) and the permit is denied, then they can't so what they were seeking, correct? Otherwise, what's the function of the permit and the application process?

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Originally Posted by Kobal2 View Post
I expect there are different rules for public property, which I understand the National Mall is.
I don't see how this answers my question: "Also, aren't there a different set of rules for large groups?"—on public property, like the National Mall.
  #49  
Old 10-10-2013, 09:01 AM
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Closing an open air area like that doesn't.
It does. We've had this discussion before on this very board. Look for posts by WreckingCrew in particular, who works at NPS and broke it down for us.

Quote:
Especially since it cost more money to keep people away than to have them mill about.
It doesn't, least not in terms of manpower. Again, we've talked about this before. IIRC the numbers were something like ~30 park rangers to block the entrance, versus multiple hundreds to keep an eye on the crowd when the memorial is open.

Quote:
A large group is different, which is proven by the fact that they had to get some kind of authorization and the gathering had to be facilitated by the government.
... but the vets did have to get some kind of authorization too. Even now, they don't just allow "veterans" in period, but only specific organized tours (Honor Flight I think was the name ?).
And I'm still not seeing in what way the government facilitated the rally, exactly.
  #50  
Old 10-10-2013, 09:03 AM
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Looks like the Lincoln memorial was undergoing mural restoration during 1995-1996. It doesn't appear that the photo submitted is depicting the Lincoln memorial closed due to a government shutdown.
Of course the story was written by Jayson Blair so it could be a complete fabrication
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