Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Limits? on the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, here emphasized in significant part;

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.
Or, in practical terms;
The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education
shall make no "rule of decorum" abridging the right of the
people to petition the board and administration, for
a redress of grievances.
I am told that my petition of the leadership of the APS, during the public forum, was "disruptive", violated "rules of decorum", and justified my removal from the forum, against my will.

If you've a mind, you can watch the whole thing and judge for yourself, link. Click on Board of Education in the left hand column, then click on the archive of the November 4th meeting. Fast forward to 42:00.

I would argue that I was not disruptive at all. I took my turn at the podium, I did nothing to interfere with anyone's right to participate in the meeting. I said nothing slanderous or untrue. I did not raise my voice.

All I did was point to the truth.

What I said, made individual board members feel uncomfortable; embarrassed, ashamed, perhaps even disgraced.

They claim a right to write "a rule of decorum" that prohibits addressing board members individually. (note; Board President Marty Esquivel argued a policy against discussing "personnel matters". I was not discussing "personnel matters".)

Does anyone really suppose that, while writing the protection for the right to petition the government, they were protecting the right to petition only "government" in general, and not government individually?

When the First Amendment was written, protecting the right to petition the government, does anyone really suppose that they intended to protect that right, but only if by doing so, the government is not embarrassed, ashamed or disgraced?

Did they really intend to protect only those petitions that cast government in a favorable light?

If so what would be the point?

What is the point in protecting the right to petition the government, if the government has no responsibility to provide a good faith response to the petition?

Of what use the protection, if the government can arrest anyone who exercises that right in a manner that casts government in a bad light?

Not much, imho.

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