First Amendment Issue?

So, I’ve seen several protests on Twitter on Facebook recently, that CVS/Pharmacy’s decision not to carry the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine due to the cover story of Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev constitutes a “First Amendment problem,” because CVS is “limiting free speech.” Let me begin by posting the text of the First Amendment:

1A: 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.

Notice in particular the first phrase: Congress shall make no law. Compare this to two other Amendments:

9A: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

10A: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

CVS/Pharmacy, you see, is not the U. S. Congress; it is a private-sector business. If Congress had made a law banning the sale of this particular issue of Rolling Stone, this would be a First Amendment issue. As it is, this is simply Americans refusing to support something to which they object. Both in terms of common sense and Constitutional law, there is no reason that anyone should imagine that CVS/Pharmacy should be required to sell a magazine which the owners find offensive. Unfortunately, there is a legal precedent for this: Obamacare, the most anti-Constitutional (and anti-common sense) law that the psuedo-liberals have managed to foist on America, gives a legal precedent for the U. S. government force private citizens to engage in economic activities against their wishes. In fact, by Obamacare precedent, the Federal government could not only require CVS/Pharmacy to sell the magazine, it could require every private citizen of the United States to purchase one.

Setting aside that particular debacle, the repeal of which I hope every day is imminent, the First Amendment declares freedom of speech, not freedom of venue. That is why the SCOTUS decision in support of the Westboro Baptist Church was in error: while that “congregation” has the right under the first Amendment to believe as it chooses, to speak as it chooses, and to peaceably assemble, it does NOT have the right harrass private citizens. If the WBC wishes to picket and protest, do so at a State capitol. Doing so at the funerals of a certain category of people (notably servicemen) constitutes harrassment, and should be fully subject to civil suit.

On another aside, note that the First Amendment begins with the words “Congress shall make no law…” Compare that to the text of the Second Amendment: there is no specificity to Congress. 2A proclaims that the right of the People “shall not be infringed.”

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4 responses to “First Amendment Issue?

    • I won’t bother arguing your figures (although I will point out that it is illegal to turn away someone in need of life-saving care because of inability to pay). Programs like Obamacare do not increase access to medical care; they decrease it. Nor would it matter if overall coverage were increased–nothing is worth the price of the Federal government being able to force citizens to participate in an economic activity against their will.

      The way to improve access to medical coverage in the US is not to MANDATE a payment plan, but remove it. People should pay their doctors directly, instead of paying a whole corporation to pay their doctors. That removes a whole layer of cost, as well as forcing medical providers to compete with each other over pricing (instead of padding bills to an insurance company which no one will ever read). Finally, protect doctors from frivolous lawsuits so they don’t have huge insurance expenses of their own.

      This is the system we used to have, before workplace medical insurance. Healthcare was easily affordable, and the streets were hardly littered with corpses.

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