by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 1st 2010 3:44pm
In an interesting appeals court ruling, a court has said that there was no free speech violation in two individuals being removed from a George W. Bush speech (while he was still President), because of the bumper stickers on their cars (which were decidedly anti-Bush). While I'm a big supporter of free speech -- especially when it comes to criticizing the President or other elected officials -- I have to admit that I tend to agree with the court here. The President and his staff had every right to determine who attended the speech for whatever reason. Excluding anyone from hearing a speech isn't a violation of their free speech rights, because there is no guaranteed right to attend such a speech in person. That said, I think it's particularly lame that a President -- or anyone in authority -- would purposely keep out those who disagree with them, rather than being willing to respond to their criticisms. As we saw just last week when President Obama responded directly to Republican questions, responding to those who disagree with you can often be quite a lot more productive than ignoring them.
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