Readers dispute Scheer's 1st Amendment assessment of Prez candidates

-What about flag burning?

Paul Harris, professor at New College of Law, points out that Hillary Clinton, in 2005, co-sponsored federal legislation barring the burning of the American flag in circumstances intended to “intimidate” (or some such). He’s right. This was certainly not one of Hillery’s finer moments.-PS


-Specifics please
-Obama anecdote

I dunno, is there really nothing SPECIFIC that you can point to with respect to each of the candidates’ positions on free speech issues? Your piece is heavily dependent on assumptions about where various candidates MAY stand on the First Amendment based on what you see from other aspects of their lives.

For example, I don’t tend to assume that corporados like Romney have any implicit commitment to free speech, when the speech is contrary to corporate interests. And that, in my view, is often where the tougher struggles are.

I have had only one exposure to Obama in my work life — while I was lobbying Congress over the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006. One Senate office from which I got a very favorable response was Obama’s. He recognized the inherent dangers that the whole doctrine of dilution poses to speech interests. One of my regrets from that campaign was that I did not follow through and ask him to hold up the bill by posing an objection (preventing passage by unanomous consent without a key amendment that we were seeking). Put it down to my own inexperience as a lobbyist (I much prefer the courts as a forum).


Washington, D.C.

-Your politics are showing
-Romney comment is cheap shot

I fear, from reading your analysis, that you are not particularly objective in these matters. Most of your comments seem to have little to do with First Amendment Issues, and a lot to do with partisan politics.

Your take on Hillary Clinton would be amusing, if it were not that she could end up in the White House. While you may be correct about her sensitivity to government openness due to her Watergate Years, where were you with the “FBI Files”, The Rose Law Firm Files, Executive Privilege associated with Monica Lewinski, the Arkansas Land Development Corporation files, the Mark Rich case …? And the list goes on.

You do remember these assaults against the basic transparency issues associated with First Amendment Rights, don’t you?

And then there is McCain-Feingold. Should you have mentioned its restricting Free Speech before an election? Oh, you did .. sort of .. Why wouldn’t that be your lead item on McCain? The rest of your comments are really inappropriate for this topic.

Your comments on Romney seem to be more shooting from the hip than actually providing anything of value to the discussion about candidates. Yes, he has spent most of his life in the private sector, but so what? As Governor, what did he do to enhance (or restrict) First Amendment issues in Massachusetts? If you don’t know .. then maybe it would be best to say you don’t know and not take “shots” at him just because he is a Republican.

Thanks for your input .. but I’ll keep watching and reading.

Palo Alto