Right of Free Speech

Cross posted by Findalis of Monkey in the Middle

Hat tip to Miss Beth of Miss Beth’s Victory Dance

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.

This is the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution. Although it says Congress, the meaning has been made clear over the last 221 years that this august document was ratified and made into the basis of law for the United States of America.

There have been many challenges to this Amendment over the years, but the one point that the courts have all agreed on is that all people have the right to speak their mind, regardless of their race, religion, occupation or political associations. This is a right that many people in the world, even in the Western world, have.

Under the 1st Amendment, the government, whether it is Federal, State or Local, does not have the right to arrest you for your ideas. Even when these ideas are contrary to public belief. Even if they go against the majority opinion. Even if they are bigoted and hateful. You have a right to say and print these ideas.

Until now.

And the censorship has come from Attorneys at that. For in Arizona, the State bar has approved the right to censor private and public speech of the attorneys in that state.

Throwing our constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of association down the drain, the State Bar of Arizona is considering a revision to the attorneys’ oath of office that would silence conservative viewpoints on gay issues. The oath would be revised to add the language in red as follows:

“I will not permit considerations of gender, race, religion, age, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, or social standing to influence my duty of care.”

The State Bar of Arizona is a mandatory association for attorneys wishing to practice law in Arizona. As such, they have the power to revoke the license to practice law in Arizona of any attorney they believe has violated this provision. A clause like this has no place in an oath of office, which should consist of nothing more but generally swearing allegiance to the laws of the land. Adding a controversial restriction on our First Amendment rights in order to promote a politically correct left wing agenda is inappropriate and a gross abuse of power by the Bar. If they go ahead with this curtailing of our rights, there will be plenty of lawsuits, and rightly so.

Please call or email the president of the State Bar of Arizona and express your objection to this outrageous infringement upon our rights, Ed.Novak@azbar.org or 602-340-7239.

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What sounds like a very innocent idea of not discriminating against a person based on certain criteria, can in fact become the basis of limited the rights of an person to speak their mind, in a public forum, as a private citizen. Thus an attorney with deep religious beliefs would be forced to argue a case in favor of abortion. Or in favor of gay marriage. The Bar Association while trying to be non-discriminatory has in fact forgotten the basic law itself. The right to free expression.

If one group of individuals can be forced to violate their beliefs, what is to stop other organizations from doing the same. How much longer will there actually be a Freedom of Speech in this nation?