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Old 10-18-2018, 03:19 AM
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Today in the courts: civil rights laws may be unconstitutional

The eight circuit seems posed to rule on a case, Telescope Media Group v. Lindsey, in such a way as to essentially make antidiscrimination laws unconstitutional.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/...dia-group.html
Alethea Huyser, Minnesota’s assistant solicitor general, tried to reframe the case as a straightforward application of settled principles. “Minnesota’s law regulates discrimination based on protected status,” she told the court. “It does not regulate message.” Moreover, it doesn’t target any particular kind of speech; in the parlance of Supreme Court doctrine, it’s “content-neutral.” The Human Rights Act isn’t designed to compel pro-gay speech or anti-Christian speech or any speech at all. It merely prohibits businesses from turning away certain customers on the basis of a protected trait.

Stras vigorously disagreed. “In my view, to the extent [the law] touches speech, it prohibits only discriminatory speech. That’s not content-neutral,” he told Huyser. This theory is astonishing. The Supreme Court has long recognized that nondiscrimination laws do not generally implicate the First Amendment because they regulate conduct, not speech. And when the laws do regulate speech, they impose only an “incidental burden” on expression that does not trigger strict scrutiny. As the Supreme Court has explained, a law that bars an employer from hanging a sign that states “White Applicants Only” technically regulates speech. But its purpose is to regulate conduct, and so it should not be subject to stringent First Amendment review.

[...]

Not to Stras. If the court finds that videography is compelled speech, he asked Huyser, “doesn’t the state necessarily lose, because they have no interest in compelling somebody to speak?” This statement has stunning implications. A huge number of activities, from videography and photography to baking, card design, and virtually all wedding services, compel some form of speech. And civil rights measures always compel expression; managers, for instance, must train their employees not to discriminate, promoting the state’s message of equality in commerce. Under Stras’ theory, any law that directs businesses to serve customers equally—and do so in a manner that involves speech—would be unconstitutional. The entire legal framework that supports civil rights laws would come toppling down.

Noteworthy: this interpretation is not new, but rather came from Neil Gorsuch. So if this case goes to the supreme courts, we could, in theory, see a broad uprooting of antidiscrimination laws country-wide.

I'm again reminded of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, where the standard for "compelled speech" was set notably higher, to the point where states can force doctors to lie about abortion, but that's neither here nor there. The important thing here is that we may soon see the end of a great deal of antidiscrimination legislation for minorities. Not just on the basis of sexuality, but also on the basis of race. That seems like a fairly terrible outcome regardless of how well-founded it is in the constitution, and in this case, given past jurisprudence, it really isn't. But given the hard partisan split, I would not be at all surprised to see this outcome, based on a 5-4 split, wreak havoc on LGBT and African-American communities.

Last edited by Budget Player Cadet; 10-18-2018 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 10-18-2018, 10:50 AM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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Do you have a better/less biased source than Slate? The article begins by characterizing the Masterpiece baker case as one where the baker turned away a gay couple, which is untrue.

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Old 10-18-2018, 11:00 AM
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Do you have a better/less biased source than Slate? The article begins by characterizing the Masterpiece baker case as one where the baker turned away a gay couple, which is untrue.

Regards,
Shodan
Would you rather characterize it as the case in which the owner of Masterpiece exercised his religious freedom to turn away a gay couple?
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Old 10-18-2018, 11:13 AM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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I'd rather not characterize it as the Slate article did, because that characterization is untrue. If no better source is available, oh well.

I guess I will wait and see if the case indeed leads to the overthrow of all civil rights legislation in the US.

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Shodan
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Old 10-18-2018, 12:13 PM
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So if I understand right, these videographers believe that if they go into the business of filming wedding videos, they will be required to film such videos for gay couples as much as straight couples, and they want to preemptively be exempted from doing so?
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Old 10-18-2018, 12:25 PM
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The article begins by characterizing the Masterpiece baker case as one where the baker turned away a gay couple, which is untrue.
In what way is that untrue?
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Old 10-18-2018, 12:36 PM
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I guess I will wait and see if the case indeed leads to the overthrow of all civil rights legislation in the US.
Don't get your hopes too high. This decision probably will only overthrow half the civil rights legislation in the US.
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Old 10-18-2018, 12:46 PM
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If photography and videography are not examples of creative services in which editorial control and the ability to tell a story through visual media are desirable skills, then Ansel Adams and Annie Leibovitz have pulled off a masterful con.

It seems crystal clear to me that wedding photography and videography is creative speech. A law that compels a person to provide creative speech is violative of the compelled speech doctrine, in my view.

Last edited by Bricker; 10-18-2018 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 10-18-2018, 01:23 PM
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In what way is that untrue?
In a narrow sense, he is correct. They were free to purchase a "Congratulations on Your Retirement, Grandpa!" cake instead, then scrape off the frosting putting green and adorn it with two plastic grooms, but they had to be bitchy bridezillas about it.

It's important that we always focus on the narrowest definition so we can discount liberal rags like Slate out of hand.
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Old 10-18-2018, 02:26 PM
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The eight circuit seems posed to rule on a case, Telescope Media Group v. Lindsey, in such a way as to essentially make antidiscrimination laws unconstitutional.
Uh, no. The notion that this case, if a ruling is made as suggested, would "topple the entire framework of civil rights law", is typical of the hysteria and misrepresentation that I expect from Slate these days.

Civil Rights law, it should be recalled, is mostly about smacking down state and local governments. In the segregated South, the Democrats dominated every level of government and created laws requiring strict segregation in stores, buses, schools, businesses, government offices and virtually everywhere else. Those governments also blocked blacks from voting, protesting, getting fair trial by jury, or exercising other basic rights. The main purpose of civil rights law was to stop governments from doing any of that. Since this case is only about small businesses seeking protection from government forcing them to do something, it would not overturn any law preventing the government enforcing segregation. So right there, Slate's headline is clearly off the rails.

Further, at the most, such a decision would affect a very small number of businesses, such as printers and videographers. So the vast majority of businesses such as restaurants and stores would not be affected, and civil rights law would remain exactly the same for them. Another dishonest mark for Slate.

And for the small number of businesses affected, they would not get unlimited license to discriminate, but only to make their own choices in issues that involve their own speech or expression, such as choosing what to videotape. The third paragraph that you quoted gives a far-fetched claim of how a hypothetical ruling could have more far-reaching consequences, but that won't happen.
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Old 10-18-2018, 03:08 PM
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In what way is that untrue?
They declined to make a cake that matched what the customer was looking for. They weren't booted from the location.

If someone came to your paint shop and asked you to draw a painting of a woman being tortured and mutilated, and you said, "Sorry, we don't do that, but do you want to purchase one of my paintings of kittens?" Would you characterize that as "being turned away?"

Personally, I'd call it a polite turning away, but still a turning away. But I can see how one can technically make the case that that's not true. But I would generally be suspicious of their intentions when choosing to be so technical. And I say that as someone who agrees with the Mastercake verdict. Being racist, sexist, etc. is a right and cakes aren't a necessity of life. If they won't provide someone with life-saving surgery, then I'll say that the right to be a dick goes away. But in the realm of cake and arts, sure.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 10-18-2018 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 10-18-2018, 03:52 PM
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It seems crystal clear to me that wedding photography and videography is creative speech. A law that compels a person to provide creative speech is violative of the compelled speech doctrine, in my view.
Is providing an abortion creative speech? Are abortions protected by the First Amendment? Would laws restricting abortions be a violation of free speech?
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Old 10-18-2018, 04:37 PM
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Is providing an abortion creative speech? Are abortions protected by the First Amendment? Would laws restricting abortions be a violation of free speech?
According to the Supremes, abortion isn't protected by any amendment in particular - it emanates from penumbrae.

So it is a mistake to look for it anywhere in the actual text.

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Old 10-18-2018, 05:06 PM
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According to the Supremes, abortion isn't protected by any amendment in particular - it emanates from penumbrae.

So it is a mistake to look for it anywhere in the actual text.

Regards,
Shodan
I would still argue that it comes from the 1st Amendment, they just wanted to avoid saying so to avoid having that argument.

Murder doesn't suddenly become legal so long as you do it in the privacy of your home, so the "basic expectation of privacy" argument doesn't hold muster, unless there's an implicit, unvoiced assumption before hand that a fetus is not a human - which would come from secularist, scientific understandings of the development of life. (Not to imply that the secular view is consistent, just that there's reasonable doubt.) And that would come from the 1st Amendment's demand for secular government.

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Old 10-18-2018, 05:28 PM
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Civil Rights law, it should be recalled, is mostly about smacking down state and local governments. In the segregated South, the Democrats dominated every level of government and created laws requiring strict segregation in stores, buses, schools, businesses, government offices and virtually everywhere else. Those governments also blocked blacks from voting, protesting, getting fair trial by jury, or exercising other basic rights. The main purpose of civil rights law was to stop governments from doing any of that.
I love the "mostly" and "main" parts of this because you're trying so hard to somehow minimize or ignore all the public accommodation laws in Civil Rights Acts. Anti-discrimination laws weren't just for government, but also businesses too, just as they were meant to be.

It amuses me also because I just dealt with another conservative poster who claimed anti-discrimination laws were mostly about business. I guess they're just whatever you want then to be.

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Since this case is only about small businesses seeking protection from government forcing them to do something, it would not overturn any law preventing the government enforcing segregation.
Like a small business (lets say a lunch counter) seeking protection from government forcing them to do something (let's say, I don't know... serve food to black people?)

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And for the small number of businesses affected, they would not get unlimited license to discriminate, but only to make their own choices in issues that involve their own speech or expression, such as choosing what to videotape.
Or their right to free speech by putting up a "Whites Only" sign. Or their right to association by not allowing Jews. Or their right to free speech to only address men and exclude women. Or their right to free expression of religion by requiring them to serve blacks, which would make them support the integration of the races against their religious belief. Or their religious rights to pay women less because they should be subservient.

I'm always leery when rights are wielded like swords to allow discrimination.
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Old 10-18-2018, 05:35 PM
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How about the idea that if you want to operate a service business in this country, then you should be required to serve anyone who is lawfully in the country, and if you aren't willing to do that and are for example, cake makers, then you can instead use your artistic abilities to make decorative cakes purely as works of art, put them in galleries, and try to make a buck that way? In this scenario, cake makers, and anyone else for that matter, are free to pursue their creative endeavors, and in addition we all get to buy yummy cake.

Win, win!
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Old 10-18-2018, 05:40 PM
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If photography and videography are not examples of creative services in which editorial control and the ability to tell a story through visual media are desirable skills, then Ansel Adams and Annie Leibovitz have pulled off a masterful con.

It seems crystal clear to me that wedding photography and videography is creative speech. A law that compels a person to provide creative speech is violative of the compelled speech doctrine, in my view.
We've been in these threads a few times, and I generally support the rights of the cakeshop/wedding shop in these cases, but how it is compelled speech? I'm trying to see it, but I just don't.

If I am a videographer, and you hire me to put together a montage of videos from your kid's birthday party, what speech am I giving or what message am I conveying? I mean, if I go back to the store and tell everyone that I think that Bricker's kid is a little shithead, how did me making that video prohibit my speech? Is there a danger that when the label "Ultravires Productions, Ltd." is seen on the video that people might get the impression that I like your kid?*

*and ftr, I don't even know your kids, but I started the analogy and didn't feel the energy to change it.
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Old 10-18-2018, 05:45 PM
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How about the idea that if you want to operate a service business in this country, then you should be required to serve anyone who is lawfully in the country, and if you aren't willing to do that and are for example, cake makers, then you can instead use your artistic abilities to make decorative cakes purely as works of art, put them in galleries, and try to make a buck that way? In this scenario, cake makers, and anyone else for that matter, are free to pursue their creative endeavors, and in addition we all get to buy yummy cake.

Win, win!
Everyone in the whole country? No dress codes allowed? No rude customers prohibited? How rude?
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Old 10-18-2018, 07:46 PM
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I love the "mostly" and "main" parts of this because you're trying so hard to somehow minimize or ignore all the public accommodation laws in Civil Rights Acts. Anti-discrimination laws weren't just for government, but also businesses too, just as they were meant to be.
I wrote one post with four paragraphs. Everyone who reads my post will easily see what I wrote, and thus easily see how blatantly untrue your response is. My second paragraph stated that civil rights law was mostly about overturning laws and actions taken by governments, which is true. (In the Civil Rights act of 1964, two sections out of eleven deal with private businesses, most of the rest deal directly with government.) My third and fourth paragraphs specifically dealt with civil rights laws concerning businesses, so therefore you are wrong to say that I ignored public accommodation laws.
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:38 PM
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Everyone in the whole country? No dress codes allowed? No rude customers prohibited? How rude?
All the normal conventions as to why it's okay to ask someone to leave your place of business would still apply. So yes, clothing would be a requirement. Not serving someone because you don't like something personal about them is a reprehensible way to behave anywhere, and certainly in this country. If you don't want to deal with people for religious reasons, then become a preacher and get out of sales.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:00 PM
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Is providing an abortion creative speech? Are abortions protected by the First Amendment? Would laws restricting abortions be a violation of free speech?
No. No. And no.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:07 PM
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I wrote one post with four paragraphs. Everyone who reads my post will easily see what I wrote, and thus easily see how blatantly untrue your response is. My second paragraph stated that civil rights law was mostly about overturning laws and actions taken by governments, which is true. (In the Civil Rights act of 1964, two sections out of eleven deal with private businesses, most of the rest deal directly with government.) My third and fourth paragraphs specifically dealt with civil rights laws concerning businesses, so therefore you are wrong to say that I ignored public accommodation laws.
Hamlet response to your post seems pretty spot-on, so maybe back off that "everyone" a little bit.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:08 PM
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If I am a videographer, and you hire me to put together a montage of videos from your kid's birthday party, what speech am I giving or what message am I conveying?
I doubt there's any film director in the country that believes he isn't conveying a message with his films. Even documentary filmmakers. What scenes to shoot, what scenes to cut, what effects and music you add. . . all of these create an impression.

Quote:
I mean, if I go back to the store and tell everyone that I think that Bricker's kid is a little shithead, how did me making that video prohibit my speech? Is there a danger that when the label "Ultravires Productions, Ltd." is seen on the video that people might get the impression that I like your kid?*
Do you focus on my kid sharing his cake with the neighbor kid that no one likes, or do you capture him pouting when he's forced to share his playtoys with his guests? Do you highlight his red faced scream of, "Mine!" as he snatches a toy away from a guest?

All of those are editorial and creative choices.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:31 PM
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I doubt there's any film director in the country that believes he isn't conveying a message with his films. Even documentary filmmakers. What scenes to shoot, what scenes to cut, what effects and music you add. . . all of these create an impression.
Should a lawyer be able to refuse to take on a client who's a member of a protected class?

Should a house painter?
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:37 PM
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No. No. And no.
Why not? All cakes look the same once eaten; all abortions look the same once completed. The act of carrying out the abortion, of course, is performance art.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:45 PM
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Why not? All cakes look the same once eaten; all abortions look the same once completed. The act of carrying out the abortion, of course, is performance art.
So...if you wanted a cake with a swastika on it and I was Jewish, I should just suck it up and make it for you because once you eat the cake it would be in your tummy? What this has to do with abortion is obscure to me, but you think that because a cake is eaten it's all good?
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:48 PM
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Why not? All cakes look the same once eaten; all abortions look the same once completed. The act of carrying out the abortion, of course, is performance art.
It shares no relevant characteristics with visual or creative artistic expression.

I suppose, if the abortion were done for an audience, or a video, or while wearing tap shows and dancing counterpoint to the Eleanor Powell choreography from "Broadway Melody of 1940," then . . .

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Old 10-19-2018, 05:53 PM
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If you're opposed to Nazis, then you can refuse to make a cake with a swastika on it. And if you're opposed to marriage, then you can refuse to make a cake with "Congratulations on your wedding" on it. But if you happily make many other customers cakes that say "Congratulations on your wedding", then that's evidence that you don't find that message objectionable after all.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:54 PM
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Quoth Shodan:

According to the Supremes, abortion isn't protected by any amendment in particular - it emanates from penumbrae.

So it is a mistake to look for it anywhere in the actual text.
That's OK, because the actual text does say that you shouldn't go looking for rights in the actual text.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:54 PM
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Here's the Cato Institute summary, btw:

https://www.cato.org/publications/le...roup-v-lindsey
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:02 PM
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So...if you wanted a cake with a swastika on it and I was Jewish, I should just suck it up and make it for you because once you eat the cake it would be in your tummy? What this has to do with abortion is obscure to me, but you think that because a cake is eaten it's all good?
Well, I personally see the merit in drawing a distinction between protected and non-protected classes. I'd be a bit hard-pressed to make the argument that the denial of my swastika-cake was flouting any protected status - but if I somehow managed to do so, I'd say you should be forced to make the cake or be censured appropriately for your refusal.

And as for the relation to abortion, I'm just getting less and less impressed with the tendency of some to call anything they want to be able to do freely "speech", even if it's merely an action with an effect (like giving money). If they can do that, why can't I? Carrying out an abortion is a specific act that produces a change in the world. The message of the interpretive dance in question is "this woman shall no longer be pregnant; thus it shall be!"

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It shares no relevant characteristics with visual or creative artistic expression.

I suppose, if the abortion were done for an audience, or a video, or while wearing tap shows and dancing counterpoint to the Eleanor Powell choreography from "Broadway Melody of 1940," then . . .
I say the same thing about decorating a wedding cake, but nobody listens to me.
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:09 PM
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I suppose, if the abortion were done for an audience, or a video, or while wearing tap shows and dancing counterpoint to the Eleanor Powell choreography from "Broadway Melody of 1940," then . . .
You've clearly established the difference between abortions and wedding cakes.
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:22 PM
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If you're opposed to Nazis, then you can refuse to make a cake with a swastika on it. And if you're opposed to marriage, then you can refuse to make a cake with "Congratulations on your wedding" on it. But if you happily make many other customers cakes that say "Congratulations on your wedding", then that's evidence that you don't find that message objectionable after all.
Seems overly tortured as an analogy. If I'm in the business of making cakes with national emblems on them but refuse to make one with a swastika on it that seems like it should be a choice I should be able to make without being opposed to all other national emblems. Or if I make cakes for all occasions but you want one with a confederate flag and two idiots in clan regalia, that doesn't seem like something I should have to make with a choice such as you laid out there.

That said, if I make generic cakes that simply have 'Congratulations on your wedding' I should sell that to anyone who walks in with out asking them who it's for...anyone can buy it after all. But that wasn't the case, was it?
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:24 PM
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So according to conservatives, the following acts are creative speech and should be protected by the First Amendment:

1. Baking a cake.
2. Giving money to a politician.
3. Somebody advocating for a conservative cause in public.

But according to conservatives, the following acts are not creative speech and should not be covered by the First Amendment:

1. Swearing in a song.
2. Appearing nude in a film or on television.
3. Somebody advocating for a liberal cause in public.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 10-19-2018 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:33 PM
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So according to conservatives, the following acts are creative speech and should be protected by the First Amendment:

1. Baking a cake.
2. Giving money to a politician.
3. Somebody advocating for a conservative cause in public.
Agreed. All of those are expressive speech and protected by the first amendment. (To be clear, "baking a cake," is expressive in the context we're discussing: a custom cake for a wedding. The ordinary mechanical baking of a plain cake, or the reproduction of a previously designed cake, would not be).

Quote:
But according to conservatives, the following acts are not creative speech and should not be covered by the First Amendment:

1. Swearing in a song.
2. Appearing nude in a film or on television.
3. Somebody advocating for a liberal cause in public.
You may indeed find conservatives offering up those views, but I'm not aware of any mainstream conservative commentators who would argue any of those are divorced from First Amendment analysis.

The first and third are unambiguously First Amendment material. The second, to the extent it refers to broadcast television, is still subject to a First Amendment analysis, but that First Amendment right is balanced against the government's power to manage the limited resource of public airwaves. Cable TV and movies have an undeniable First Amendment right to show nudity.

Upon which conservative commentators did you rely for this second summary?
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:47 PM
DavidwithanR DavidwithanR is offline
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If photography and videography are not examples of creative services in which editorial control and the ability to tell a story through visual media are desirable skills, then Ansel Adams and Annie Leibovitz have pulled off a masterful con.

It seems crystal clear to me that wedding photography and videography is creative speech. A law that compels a person to provide creative speech is violative of the compelled speech doctrine, in my view.
Speech is, you know, speech. As a rule, the videographer does not speak on a wedding video. Nobody thinks the videographer is part of the ceremony. Nobody thinks the videographer approves or disapproves. It's their job to take pictures.

By your standard, TV news camera operators would be refusing to cover stories in which they didn't like the topic or didn't like some of the participants in it, and lawyers would be refusing to handle wills in which assets were left to organizations the lawyer didn't agree with.
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:54 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is offline
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Agreed. All of those are expressive speech and protected by the first amendment. (To be clear, "baking a cake," is expressive in the context we're discussing: a custom cake for a wedding. The ordinary mechanical baking of a plain cake, or the reproduction of a previously designed cake, would not be).
And why is the handing of a money to a politician considered speech, again?

Oh, right.
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Old 10-19-2018, 07:06 PM
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I'd rather not characterize it as the Slate article did, because that characterization is untrue. If no better source is available, oh well.

I guess I will wait and see if the case indeed leads to the overthrow of all civil rights legislation in the US.

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No (white) skin off your nose, eh?
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Old 10-19-2018, 07:10 PM
DavidwithanR DavidwithanR is offline
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Because the politician does indeed speak.

If wedding photographers were required to make literal public statements (real speech, in their own words) that they endorsed their clients' religious beliefs, this would be a very different question.

If my will says I leave a thousand dollars to the Republican Party, and my lawyer normally votes Democratic, can he refuse (on that basis alone) to draw up my will?

Last edited by DavidwithanR; 10-19-2018 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 07:19 PM
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Because the politician does indeed speak.
I'll presume you're answering me, and talking about politicians handing over money.

You can assert that the politician speaks, but what does that actually mean? That words are (always) exchanged while they hand over the money? Then the words are protected but the financial transaction is not. That the act of handing over money is itself speech because nowadays the transaction is done via the same channels that communication is done? Then me punching somebody is speech because my fist travels through the air the same way that sound waves do. That the delivery of money makes a political statement? The act of carrying out an abortion definitely makes a political statement. ("I am willing to do abortions.")

I'm thinking that any nonbullshit argument for the handing over of money being speech could also be used to declare that damn near anything that is perceived by another person is speech - particularly if the person carrying out the action has the creativity and foresight to say at least one word verbally while carrying out the action.
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:02 PM
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If my will says I leave a thousand dollars to the Republican Party, and my lawyer normally votes Democratic, can he refuse (on that basis alone) to draw up my will?
I'd put that as a buyer beware sort of thing. If he didn't ask before you died, then that's his problem. He already took your business, so now he's obligated to follow through.

If, on the other hand, your lawyer found out while you were living and declined to continue offering his services to you on that basis, I'd have no real issue with it.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 10-19-2018 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:30 PM
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I'll presume you're answering me, and talking about politicians handing over money.

You can assert that the politician speaks, but what does that actually mean? That words are (always) exchanged while they hand over the money? Then the words are protected but the financial transaction is not. That the act of handing over money is itself speech because nowadays the transaction is done via the same channels that communication is done? Then me punching somebody is speech because my fist travels through the air the same way that sound waves do. That the delivery of money makes a political statement? The act of carrying out an abortion definitely makes a political statement. ("I am willing to do abortions.")

I'm thinking that any nonbullshit argument for the handing over of money being speech could also be used to declare that damn near anything that is perceived by another person is speech - particularly if the person carrying out the action has the creativity and foresight to say at least one word verbally while carrying out the action.
We have a representational democracy. Spending money on the campaign of a politician (which is what I presume you are talking about...if not, sorry, my bad) is 'free speech' because, presumably, said politician will speak for you, i.e. they will represent your views in our system. In theory anyway. Personally, I think paying money to a political campaign is a bad bargain, but that's probably why I'm not a billionaire...
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  #43  
Old 10-20-2018, 12:48 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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I feel that James Madison wanted free speech so ideas could be heard, not sold.

Everyone has a single voice. But some people have a lot more money than other people. When you equate money with speech, you're eliminating a fundamental equality. Rich people can now speak more than poor people. And government officials, who now have the constitutional right to take money from people, will listen more to rich people than they will to poor people.

I can understand why rich people like this system. But it mystifies me why there are so many people who aren't rich who like it. If you're going to put the interests of a small group ahead of the common interest, why do so for a group you're not a member of?
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Old 10-20-2018, 01:57 AM
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I feel that James Madison wanted free speech so ideas could be heard, not sold.

Everyone has a single voice. But some people have a lot more money than other people. When you equate money with speech, you're eliminating a fundamental equality. Rich people can now speak more than poor people. And government officials, who now have the constitutional right to take money from people, will listen more to rich people than they will to poor people.

I can understand why rich people like this system. But it mystifies me why there are so many people who aren't rich who like it. If you're going to put the interests of a small group ahead of the common interest, why do so for a group you're not a member of?
a) Unions spend equally on politics as big business.

b) The wealthy don't create money from the ether. They get it from you. Don't give it to them.

c) Wealthy person buys newspaper. 1st Amendment rights. Boom, whatchagonnado?
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Old 10-20-2018, 02:47 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Unions spend equally on politics as big business.
Pull the other one.

In 2016, the top five individual donors by themselves donated more than the combined donations that all unions donated. If you add up all the money donated by wealthy individuals it comes to over six times that total donated by all unions.

And unions aren't donating as individuals; a union, by definition, represents thousands or even millions of individuals. So when the 1,900,000 members of the Service Employees International Union (the top donating union) donate $19,000,000 and Tom Steyer donates $66,000,000, that six-million-to-one per capita ratio does not represent equality. (And my objection isn't just partisan. Steyer actually donates money to the Democrats.)

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The wealthy don't create money from the ether. They get it from you. Don't give it to them.
I don't object to people being wealthy. I object to wealth determining political power.

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Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
Wealthy person buys newspaper. 1st Amendment rights. Boom, whatchagonnado?
Fine. Let rich people do that. I'm pretty sure political officials are not going to find a newspaper article as persuasive as a million dollar check.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 10-20-2018 at 02:51 AM.
  #46  
Old 10-20-2018, 02:55 AM
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If you publish your views in a newspaper and convince a politician to vote the way you think, that's fine; that's freedom of speech. But if you offer a politician a million dollars to vote the way you think, that should be wrong; it's just legalized bribery.
  #47  
Old 10-20-2018, 03:20 AM
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If you publish your views in a newspaper and convince a politician to vote the way you think, that's fine; that's freedom of speech. But if you offer a politician a million dollars to vote the way you think, that should be wrong; it's just legalized bribery.
One particularly crass example was the recent tax bill. Unpopular, but republican senators were very clear: their donors would abandon them if they didn't pass it. This ceased being an issue of "free speech" long ago; in a country with even remotely adequate anti-corruption laws, this would be grounds for at least Chris Collins to be stripped of his office immediately, and for almost every person who voted for that tax bill to face a serious corruption investigation. But at this point, you basically can't get in trouble for political bribery unless you pretty much admit it outright.
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Old 10-20-2018, 08:23 AM
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There is definitely a difference between speech and an exchange of value. Speech is given free, and one is free to do what they want with it. Bribery carries with it the requirement to perform an action.

Where you get into a weird line is where you pay, but don't require them to listen. The problem there is human nature and the implied contract. Even if you don't actually attach any strings, there is an implied quid pro quo. There is the implication that, if you don't do what we say, we'll stop giving you money. That has more power.

And that is the problem. In speech, all voices have the same amount of power, allowing for rule by a majority of the people. With bribery and quid pro quo, he with the most money wins. That is why there is an impetus for representative democracies to take money out of the politics.

Capitalism has its uses, but using it as a way to govern is not good, because it creates a divide of an upper class and a lower class. And, eventually, the lower class will revolt if they think they aren't in control of their own lives.

This is, in fact, my summary of democracy in a nutshell. It is why it is the best system--because it is the system that works that produces the most freedom for its participants. And having money give you more power in government fucks up that freedom.

Last edited by BigT; 10-20-2018 at 08:24 AM.
  #49  
Old 10-20-2018, 01:17 PM
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In essence the argument is of what value is the free speech of the man standing on the soapbox when he can be drowned out by the man with the soundtruck?
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