Republicans and the 1st Amendment | Arkansas Blog

Monday, August 29, 2011

Republicans and the 1st Amendment

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 6:27 AM

OK, there are Republicans worse than U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin. So far, he hasn't tried to confiscate cameras and cell phones from people attending his political events.

Thanks to elwood for an item on Republican Rep. Steve Chabot, who DID confiscate cameras from people trying to film his responses at Town Hall meetings.

Chabot might face some constitutional challenges from this, as might others who've engaged in similar suppression. A federal court has ruled in a Massachusetts case that First Amendment protection extended to a person filming police making an arrest. Wrote the appellate court:

The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these principles. Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting “the free discussion of governmental affairs.”

Keep this in mind should a public official try to stop your photography.

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