There is no constitutional right to camp on the courthouse lawn or steps. That has been clear from the start. There is also no constitutional right to defecate in public, or to harass and frighten people entering and exiting the courthouse.
The constitutional right is the right to be present at the courthouse for the purpose of spreading one's message. The courthouse lawn is the traditional place for protest in this county. It should be available to the public 24 hours a day, and members of the public must have the ability to present their concerns with signs so that passing traffic can see what they have to say. The courthouse lawn has been used for protest for as long as I can remember, and banishing protest from that lawn is unconstitutional.
I haven't a clue what people think they will accomplish by protesting on the courthouse lawn. But they have the right to do that, if this is still a free country.
I hate to disagree with Richard, but I am convinced that this ordinance is clearly unconstitutional, even given the current supreme court.
I've put various cites up at the Herald comments, and here's one critical one, straight from Clark v CCNV, which is (I think) being used to try to justify this ordinance. Notice that the court's decision in support of Clark is, in part, because Clark left the demonstration intact, complete with symbolic city, signs, and 24 hour attendance. All that Clark's regulation forbade was sleeping/camping in a National Park area that was not designated for camping.
"Neither was the regulation faulted, nor could it be, on the ground that, without overnight sleeping, the plight of the homeless could not be communicated in other ways. The regulation otherwise left the demonstration intact, with its symbolic city, signs, and the presence of those who were willing to take their turns in a day-and-night vigil."
The full text is here:
Oops, the prior comment was addressed to who cares, but was written by me.
I'm not sure that bringing Nuremberg into things is helpful, but it's become shorthand for the fact that "just following orders" does not prevent someone from being convicted for war crimes.
"War crimes" are so far removed from the situation at hand that referring to Nuremberg is bound to cause confusion and some ridicule. But the trials were not conducted by Germany, they were conducted by the victorious Allied forces, and they established an international precedent.
I think the arrests were done by County Sheriff's deputies. They are enforcing the law, as is their job. The law was passed by Virginia Bass, Clif Clendenen, Jimmy Smith, and Ryan Sundberg.
The job of law enforcement is to enforce the law. The job of making the law belongs locally to the members of the Board of Supervisors. The job of deciding whether a law passed by the Board of Supervisors is itself legal belongs to the courts.
If the courts were to call for the arrest of the Sheriff and Board of Supervisors for abuse of the United States Constitution, I would hope and expect that the deputies would enforce the courts' decision, rather than engage in their own speculation as to whether the decision is justified. So I have to expect that the deputies will enforce the emergency ordinance, flawed and illegal as I believe it to be.
One of the nice things about Hurricane Kate's was that, while you could easily blow $100 on dinner, drinks and dessert for two, they still kept some inexpensive items on the menu. You couldn't get out for $4.50, no, but you could have a nice meal in a nice place for not a huge amount of money.
I'm sad to hear they're closing.
Would you rather give the dogs free care for a day or two, so that a destitute owner can recover them, or would you rather pay the $84/day cited by the author as the cost of imprisoning the dog's owner for his "theft." That's the real-world choice taxpayers are faced with.
I heard a radio report the other day about some state's school system putting kids into the criminal justice system for such crimes as talking back to teachers, or wearing inappropriate clothing. I hadn't realized there was a shortage of "criminals" to imprison, but that seems an excellent approach to generating more "criminals" to keep the taxpayers paying the $84/day per.
So is this particular arrest. I hope you feel safer. Otherwise, it served no purpose except ringing up the bill.
In Print This Week:
Dec 12, 2013
vol XXIV issue 50
The North Coast Journal Weekly
Website powered by Foundation