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Confused Nancy Pelosi: You can’t “yell wolf in a crowded theater”

Confused Nancy Pelosi: You can’t “yell wolf in a crowded theater”

Messes up famous Supreme Court quote on limits of free speech

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92sXx-s-qkg

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in discussing the limits of free speech, wrote in Schenck v. U.S. (1919):

“The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”

A lot of people mess up the quote, saying that “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater.” Actually you can yell fire in a crowded theater, if there really is a fire.

But no one has messed it up like Nancy Pelosi just did.

Pelosi was objecting to a National Park Service decision to grant a free speech group a permit to hold a rally in San Francisco over the objections of local and state Democrats:

The feds have granted the final permit for the right-wing “Free Speech” rally to be held by Patriot Prayer on Saturday, which has city officials concerned that violent clashes between protesters may grace the foot of our Golden Gate.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area and National Park Service announced Wednesday that the permit had been granted.

“We cannot deny a permit to anyone planning to exercise their First Amendment rights based on their political stance or beliefs,” the park service wrote in a statement. “We can deny a permit application for public safety reasons if the event raises such significant public safety concerns that law enforcement cannot manage the event.”

In explaining why the Park Service should not, in her view, have granted a permit, Pelosi invoked, in her own unique way, the Holmes quote:

“The constitution does not say that a person can yell wolf in a crowded theater”

I’m not sure yelling “wolf” in a crowded theater would get much of a reaction. People would just look at you like you’re crazy.

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Comments

You could, though, legally yell “wolf” in a crowded theater if Bill Clinton was in the audience.

Poor nancy…surely some form of dementia, but it’s haunted her for many years. Still, her “people” have always loved her and will continue to vote for her, even after death. THAT is loyalty.

This is the problem with the SCOTUS trying to enlarge what they consider rights and Congress not calling them on it at the time. The framers and drafters of the Constitution were VERY, VERY specific as to whom had what powers:

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.

The Drafters of the Constitution, and those who voted on it, recognized that in THIS instance, they were only limiting CONGRESSES ability to make law in these realms (Religious Establishment, Free Exercise, Abridging Speech or Press, and Peaceable Assembly), and were otherwise leaving STATES to regulate their interior acts themselves regarding the above.

Contrast to the language of the 2nd Amendment:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Where it is clear that this is applicable to both the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT and STATE governments. And don’t BS about the militia being only the Federal governmental army, it was VERY clearly defined in the 1792 Militia Act (as “every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years”).

Contrast also with the language of the 4th Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Again, we see the Drafters being specific that this does NOT apply solely to the CONGRESS, but was meant to be a broad-brush prohibition to all governments down the line.

But, in the two centuries since, the people have let the SCOTUS re-define the power structure at their whim, deciding that clear language limiting only ONE group should be broadly applicable, and clear language applicable to ALL should be curtailed under theory of “public welfare.”

Maybe Levin is right. Maybe it is time for a “Hard Reset” via Article 5 convention.

    Milhouse in reply to Chuck Skinner. | August 25, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Bulldust. Until the 14th amendment was passed, none of the Bill of Rights applied to the states. Not the 2nd, not the 4th, or any of the others. They were amendments to the federal constitution, and restricted only the federal government. The federal constitution doesn’t control states except where it does so explicitly. As it does in the 14th, which extended all fundamental rights to the states; courts since then have been engaged in figuring out exactly which rights were included in that.

      Mac45 in reply to Milhouse. | August 25, 2017 at 11:09 am

      Exactly right. The biggest problem people have, in regard to how this nation was supposed to work, is that they know little or nothing about its history.

      People insist upon viewing this nation as it has been post-Civil War and today, with the federal government in ascendancy over the states. However, it was never meant to be that way and wasn’t until the Reconstruction Era. when thsi nation was set up, there were two main factions. The Federalist and States’ Rights factions. The Federalists saw the USA as having a strong federal government to which the state governments would be subserviant. The States’ Rights faction saw the nation as being a collection of semi-autonomous states which belonged to a federation with a weak central government which was largely limited to providing for common defense and the settling of interstate squabbles. Initially, the States’ Rights faction won out. Except for the parts of the Constitution and the Bill of rights which specifically addressed the states, it was designed to limit the power of the federal government, while leaving the powers of the states largely intact. Thus, the 1st Amendment only applied to actions by a specific part of the Federal government. It has been expanded, by the courts to cover the actions of any governmental entity and to exempt certain kinds of speech, none of which are even suggested within the Amendment.. It has effectively been re-written by judicial fiat. The same is true of the 2nd. The 2nd Amendment was clearly envisioned to prohibit the federal government from inhibiting the states from establishing armed militias by restricting the ownership and possession of firearms and other weapons. It is not specific as to what was meant by the term “the people”, but as it was in lower case, it was commonly accepted to apply to people as individuals rather than as the collective. However, until the ratification of the 14th Amendment, in 1868, it never applied to the governments of the states, at all. And, interestingly enough, as it was not applied to the states by courts until 2010 [142 years after the 14th was ratified, n one expected it to apply to the states. The states continued to regulate the ownership and possession of weapons, including firearms, and still do so today. Any such regulation is a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment, but, again, the courts re-wrote it through judicial fiat.

      The ratification of the 14th Amendment was probably the greatest example of unintended consequences in the history of this nation. And, the leadership of this country has been trying to mitigate its effects ever since.

        amr in reply to Mac45. | August 25, 2017 at 11:28 am

        Yep, per the 1833 SCOTUS decision, the Bill of Rights was only applicable to the federal government’s laws, not the states and local governments’. Most don’t know the freedom of speech was incorporated in 1925 and the freedom of the press in 1931 under the 14th Amendment.
        I don’t remember even in my 1950s schooling any mention that all the demonstrations for union organizing were not protected by the US Constitution so history tells us of all the government and industrialists violence against it with no explanation of why that could happen.
        My adult children know such things because dinner was a teaching moment; something that mostly doesn’t exist today.

        alaskabob in reply to Mac45. | August 25, 2017 at 1:10 pm

        Correct me if I am wrong, but Maryland had a religious test (founded as a Catholic state) for government employment.

        The “fire in the theater” example is shallow as it only covers the willful attempt and intent to cause havoc and injury. We do not muzzle all people entering a theater nor ban those with loud voices or those with voices that carry. I don’t buy the state militia argument because who protects the people in the state from corrupt state governmental abuse? I am thinking of the suppression of minorities in predominately Democrat controlled states in the late 1800-through mid 1900 era.

        Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | August 25, 2017 at 4:55 pm

        the 1st Amendment only applied to actions by a specific part of the Federal government. It has been expanded, by the courts to cover the actions of any governmental entity and to exempt certain kinds of speech, none of which are even suggested within the Amendment.. It has effectively been re-written by judicial fiat.

        No, it was rewritten by the 14th amendment. The 1st amendment does now apply to all government entities at all levels, because the 14th requires the states to respect people’s fundamental rights, and this has always been understood as one of those. It applies to local governments because they are subsidiaries of their states; their very existence and all of their authority derives solely from state law. (It always applied to all parts of the federal government, because the other parts can only act under the authority of laws made by Congress.)

          Mac45 in reply to Milhouse. | August 25, 2017 at 5:23 pm

          While this is truer, I never said that the limitations of the 1st Amendment, as written, applied to the states. I said that it originally applied ONLY to the CONGRESS of the untied state. Also, the judiciary HAS changed the meaning of the language i the 1st Amendment as applied to what type of language is protected. Here is the language of the 1st Amendment:

          “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.”

          As the term freedom of speech is not specifically defined, it should be taken to cover ALL speech. Remember, that this was designed to LIMIT the powers of the Federal government and did not impact the states in any way. The states were supposed to be the arbiters of what was acceptable speech. When the 14th was ratified, it essential applied ALL of the limits imposed upon the Federal government, in the Bill of Rights to state governments. I do not believe this was the intent of the drafters of the 14th Amendment, but, none the less, that was what was achieved. Since then, the courts have been redefining what the original language of the Bill of Rights means, in order to relax the restrictions which the 14th Amendment placed upon the states. That is how we get the decisions saying there is no Constitutional protection to any speech which can cause imminent danger of injury or death.

      Then why have a “supremacy clause” in the main body of the Constitution?

      You CAN NOT take the two portions of the Constitution apart from each other. Either the Drafters were AWARE of the Supremacy Clause that they drafted into Article 6, Clause 2 of the main body of the Constitution, or they were not and the introduction to the First Amendment is surplussage.

      The drafters SPECIFIED certain categories that ~Congress~ could not make. As Congress was the sole and only body that could pass laws, res ipsa loquitur the fact that the Amendment is specific means that the others MUST be general (especially in regard to the text of the 10th Amendment, discussing powers reserved TO the States and to the People respectively).

      This is also supported by the concept that the Constitution was effectively a treaty between 13 separate ~nations~. Treat the States as if they were their own countries, and you’re forming the European Union (Don’t snicker, really analyze it). Conceptually think of Germany as NY, France as Pennsylvania, Maryland as Switzerland and Virginia as Spain. Each has their own history, laws and structural culture, but they want to enter into a common Defense, Trade and Monetary system.

      As a part of this “treaty” we call the Constitution, the States AGREED to this addendum that Congress wouldn’t do certain things, and they themselves wouldn’t do certain things: Restrict Firearms, perform Unreasonable Searches, Quarter Soldiers, Take Property without compensation, punish cruelly or unusually, infringe the right of a Jury in amounts more than $20, etc….

      Think about it further this way: If the “Due Process” clause of the 5th Amendment didnt’ apply to the States prior to the application of the 14TH Amendment, then on what authority did the SCOTUS have the authority to discuss that the Fifth Amendment barred any law that would deprive a slaveholder of his property, such as his slaves, upon the incidence of migration into free territory in Dred Scott v. Sandford? It was (by that time) a Federal case, but it was analyzing Missouri STATE law.

The Friendly Grizzly | August 25, 2017 at 8:13 am

How about yelling “stage play!” in a crowded fire station?

Poor goofy Nancy. Trying to use the 1st amendment to shut down free speech.

“The constitution does not say that a person can yell wolf in a crowded theater”

Nancy Pelosi

“We can deny a permit application for public safety reasons if the event raises such significant public safety concerns that law enforcement cannot manage the event.”

There. They just reminded their base of what WILL enable them to deny the permit. It won’t be long now before someone declares that the event will be unsafe and they will withdraw the permit.

I am totally trying this the next time I’m in a crowded theater.

“We cannot deny a permit to anyone planning to exercise their First Amendment rights based on their political stance or beliefs,”

The First isn’t limited to speech based on political stances or beliefs.

For that matter, it’s not limited to planned speeches, either.

“We can deny a permit application for public safety reasons if the event raises such significant public safety concerns that law enforcement cannot manage the event.”

C’mon, that one’s just too easy. All they have to do to deny a permit for anyone or any occasion is claim that law enforcement is overworked or incompetent. And they can do that at any time, purely at the discretion of officialdom. Really, if they can’t do the job, they should get out of the way and make room for someone who can.

Axe their budgets for “crowd control” and “traffic control” and I’m sure they’ll be quick to come around.

The DC Republicans are the stupid party and the DC Democrats are the insane party.

We as voters don’t get much of a choice. How depressing.

Besides being crazy, the woman is corrupt scum. Always has been.

Pelosi, Feinstein, Reid, Obama Among Nation’s “Most Corrupt”
http://www.weeklystandard.com/pelosi-reid-huckabee-obama-among-nations-most-corrupt/article/21331

Thomas Jefferson, on Crazy Pelosi: “Most bad government has grown out of too much Pelosi.”

Is Pelosi naturally blond?

OleDirtyBarrister | August 25, 2017 at 4:03 pm

She would have really been “miffled” [H/T Tony Soprano] if she realized that the people in the hypothetical theater were not seated in alphabetical order.

I believe Fancy Nancy’s problem is that she is having frequent, private, off-the-books meetings with a couple of Russians. Those Russians are named “Mr. Smirnoff” and “Mr. Stolichnaya.”

But wait.
I can STILL yell BEAR in a crowded theater, right?

Stefan Molyneux‏Verified account @StefanMolyneux 14h14 hours ago

The media is speculating on President Trump’s “fitness” for office, yet cheered the SENATOR WITH A BRAIN TUMOR because they liked his vote.

Of course, yelling “Hey look. There’s Donald Trump” at the Academy Awards would really cause a panic.

Nancy Pelosi just metaphorically yelled “wolf” in a crowded theater.

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