Talkin’ Liberty is the segment of Liberty Nation Radio where Tim and Scott focus on a few of the week’s stories affecting our liberty that deserve a little more focus or may have been overlooked in part or whole. Here is part 1 of the latest episode where we discuss a trio of Free Speech Cases at the Supreme Court, as well as Hawaii’s attempt to disarm its medical marijuana patients. You may listen here.
Free Speech At The Court
Tim Donner: The Supreme Court agreed to hear three First Amendment cases in recent days. Could you give us a brief summary of what those three First Amendment cases are?
Scott D. Cosenza: Yes, Tim, and I think this is pretty important, because of the potential import on the First Amendment going forward. We have, now, a somewhat libertarian-ish court, it looks like, and what we see going down the line could be a real swing. So the first case has to do with a challenge to California law, crisis pregnancy center prescribed messages, so it’s kind of interesting. Oftentimes, we have pro-life people who are in opposition to state messages that encourage sort of pro-abortion messages, and now, in this case, we have the opposite, which is the pro-life side, so people who are opposed to legal abortion, have constructed these crisis pregnancy centers, and basically, what they do is they try to convince young women, usually, to not have abortions. So they give them alternatives, they describe the development of the fetus, and hopefully, they’ll see that it’s a human being-
Tim Donner: And sometimes stuff that’s far more graphic than that.
Scott D. Cosenza: Certainly. Anyway, some of that speech is prescribed by the state, so the state says, “You have to tell a person who comes into your crisis pregnancy center X, Y, and Z.” They have sued and said, “That’s an infringement on our free speech.” I think it is an infringement. I think the state should not be allowed to prescribe either way, either for pro-abortion or anti-abortion. It should be hands off, but anyway, it’s an interesting case, and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear it.
And the second case, another fascinating case. This deals with retaliatory arrest, and whether a retaliatory arrest can be an infringement on free speech, even if the underlying arrest was valid, so we see this, for instance, in many of these protest scenes, where if you’re driving down the street, maybe you’re going 26 in a 25, okay? But you have a bumper sticker on your car that says, “I hate …” you know, pick your … Say, “I hate Trump,” right? And it’s a pro-Trump cop, or a pro-Trump town, or the reverse is true. And they pull you over and give you a ticket for 26 in a 25, but the only reason why they did so was because of your political speech, right? So this case says is that arrest even valid? Because without that speech, presumably, the arrest would not have been made. So that’s another one.
And the third one has to do with a ban on political apparel at the polls. Long ago, the Supreme Court said that it was a permissible infringement on the First Amendment for governments to restrict politicking and campaigning at polls, and that has morphed, in many jurisdictions, into a total ban on political apparel. So you can’t even wear a “Trump for President” t-shirt as you go to vote at the polls, or a “Hillary for President” t-shirt as you go to vote at the polls.
So, the Minnesota Voters Alliances has challenged that ban as an impermissible restriction on free speech, so we’ll see how the court rules on all three, but I can tell you that the current status on the law on all three of those areas is on the sort of pro-government side, so just by taking those cases, it leads one to believe that maybe the court is going to trend in the opposite direction, and return more power to the people, but we’ll see.
Tim Donner: You mean become less deferential to the administrative state, which is really one of the major questions that kind of flies under the radar. By the way, I personally think, going back to the second case you referred to, that the repeated use of the word “Retaliatory” is, in itself, an infringement on free speech, because most people can’t pronounce it.
Scott D. Cosenza: Indeed.
Aloha, Now Give Me Your Guns
Tim Donner: All right, Hawaii, which registers guns and medical marijuana users, starts to disarm patients.
Scott D. Cosenza: Yeah, this is one of those many troubling kind of things that has to deal with the tension between the various state and federal laws regarding marijuana use, and every buyer of a firearm at a federally licensed firearm dealer has to sign a paper that says that they’re not an illegal user of marijuana. It actually says all, basically illegal drugs, but marijuana is listed on that, and you cannot be a legal user of marijuana in the United States, according to the federal law.
So even if you have a prescription from a doctor, in a state that honors that prescription, and allows that marijuana to be delivered to you without a problem, you are still in violation of the federal law, and Hawaii’s actually using that, now, to take away guns from gun owners.
Hawaii is notoriously the most hostile state, edging out New Jersey-
Tim Donner: Just barely.
Scott D. Cosenza: … for number one anti-gun state in the Union.
Tim Donner: But it was a photo finish, was it not, Scott? Yeah.
Scott D. Cosenza: Yeah. When these registries get started, both for guns and for marijuana, many libertarian-ish-type people have said, “Do not join a government registry, no matter what,” because it inevitably will be used against you in some capacity.
Tim Donner: Why would anybody want to volunteer to be in a government registry?
Scott D. Cosenza: Well, if you live in Hawaii and want to own a gun legally, you have to be on their gun registry, and if you live in Hawaii and have a health condition, that you think you’ll benefit from the use of marijuana, that’s the only way for you to legally obtain and use marijuana. And the idea that … I mean, let’s just think about this for a second, Tim.
You could go to the store and buy a quart of whiskey every three hours, while you’re doing prescription pain medication, or anti-psychotic medication, something just off the charts, and you’re fine and legal, and Hawaii doesn’t care about you having a gun. Really? Are marijuana smokers, and medical marijuana users, is that really like where we need to go, to the low-hanging fruit on the violence tree for firearms? It seems like if we have some-
Tim Donner: Well, there’s-
Scott D. Cosenza: When we look at the history, Tim, of Hawaii lawmakers and guns, what we see is they just want to take away people’s guns any way they can, and this is a convenient way for them to do it, so that’s how they’re using it, and I expect, Tim, that we’ll see more and more actions like this in other states where they have these registries, and then they try to attach it to gun registries, and then go after the people and take their guns away.