Lt. Governor Of Texas Gets Offended By An Anti-Police Shirt, Decides He Needs To Start Violating The First Amendment
from the fuck-the-drafting-of-residents-into-Dan-Patrick's-war-over-words dept
Another challenger to the First Amendment has appeared. And his name is Dan Patrick, Lieutenant Governor of Texas.
Apparently offended by a Senate hearing witness garbed in an anti-police t-shirt, the Lt. Governor welcomed all challengers via Twitter to sue him for violating people’s free speech rights.
Outraged to see this T-shirt at a Senate Hearing Thur. Future witnesses beware. No one will ever be allowed to wear such a vulgar shirt in a Senate hearing again-especially one that denigrates the brave men & women of law enforcement. Want to take me to court? Ok. Make my day. pic.twitter.com/lutXI1eJFo
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) February 28, 2020
In case you can’t see the tweet, it says:
Outraged to see this T-shirt at a Senate Hearing Thur. Future witnesses beware. No one will ever be allowed to wear such a vulgar shirt in a Senate hearing again-especially one that denigrates the brave men & women of law enforcement. Want to take me to court? Ok. Make my day.
If you can’t see the shirt (and you can’t, because Dan Patrick blurred out the offending words/images), it’s a hand with the middle finger extended above the phrase “Fuck the police.”
Clearly of the belief that Supreme Court precedent almost exactly on point has no bearing on Texas Senate proceedings, the state’s second-in-command has promised to ban any t-shirt he subjectively feels is “vulgar,” but “especially” the ones that “denigrate” law enforcement.
The Supreme Court precedent — delivered nearly 50 years ago — dealt with a 30-day jail term given to a courthouse attendee who wore a “Fuck the Draft” jacket. That clearly denigrated the brave men and women who decided who was eligible to go die for their country in the United States’ most infamous losing effort. The Supreme Court ruled that the government violated the First Amendment by demanding citizens only wear/make the most innocuous of statements while in the government’s presence.
Patrick’s proposal sounds exactly like a content-based ban on speech, which is exactly the sort of thing the First Amendment guards against. But there are those who believe time-and-place restrictions could allow Patrick’s ban to bypass the First Amendment. Why? Because the state legislature can do whatever the hell it wants, apparently.
Chuck DeVore, vice president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Austin, disagrees with Patrick’s critics.
Legislative chambers, DeVore said, have the power to set their own rules of decorum as a co-equal branch of government. While the courts have the power to review laws passed by a legislature, they cannot tell lawmakers how to pass those laws or run their affairs, he said.
Well, that assertion aside, the desire to ban things that offend one government official sure sounds like something a court should rule on. The Lieutenant Governor is on (Twitter) record as welcoming legal challenges to his “won’t someone think of the cops?” content-based restriction. These are the oh-so-brave words of a man willing to spend other people’s money to defend a move many of those people likely don’t agree with. That’s the luxury legislators have: the ability to force people to defend indefensible positions by proxy (but also directly via their tax dollars).
At some point, Patrick and his stupid new rule triggered by his triggering will have their day in court. And it seems highly unlikely he’ll prevail. When he’s done blowing money on forcing the public to respect cops, maybe the state’s residents will be kind enough to vote his censorial ass out of office. Until then, the lieutenant governor will remain dissed like the cops he loves so much that he’s willing to violate the Constitution for them.