Courting George Orwell

Posted: Oct 23, 2000 12:00 AM
Since Vice President Al Gore is constantly making things up, it should come as no surprise that he wants Supreme Court justices who will do the same. As Gore put it, he will appoint judges who view the Constitution as a "document that grows." Democrats actually look for judges who will fib.

Having already "grown" a nonexistent right to abortion, there's no telling what other rights a few Gore judicial appointees might discover growing in the Constitution (just like Gore "grew" that FEMA trip to Texas). Since liberals reach particularly dazzling heights of incoherence and inconsistency on the topic of free speech, I'll limit myself to speculating about likely Gore court rulings regarding the First Amendment -- or the "Flynt Amendment," as it will soon be commonly known.

Speech that is unpopular will constitute a criminal offense. This recently happened in Manistee, Mich., when a woman leaving a restaurant was overheard saying, "I wish these damn 'spics' would learn to speak English." (As liberals invariably say about magazines protected by the Flynt Amendment, I abhor what she said, but she has a right to say it.)

Former Michigan Department of Civil Rights director John Roy Castillo praised the decision, noting that the offender's comment could have sparked a fight. "I'm nonviolent, but I might have confronted her and who knows the personality of that person."

So on the growth theory of the First Amendment, it protects speech -- but only after a responsible government official has been able to ascertain the "personality" of the speaker.

The government will also be determining who gets to engage in political speech. Political speech -- heretofore known as "core First Amendment speech" -- will be deemed a dangerous threat to the political process. In order to create a more "egalitarian" system for political campaigns, no one will be permitted to spend money on political speech on behalf of candidates, except "the public" -- i.e., bureacRATS. (With government bureaucracies deciding who qualifies for "public" financing, all candidates for public office will start to resemble Teddy Kennedy.)

Though we will lose the right to engage in unpopular or political speech, we will gain a right to stink up public libraries as part of the beautiful mosaic of our First Amendment rights.

That was the ruling of federal Judge H. Lee Sarokin, a favorite judicial appointee among Democrats. Sarokin was first appointed to a federal district court in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter (on then-senator Bill Bradley's recommendation) and was elevated to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals by President Clinton.

Recognizing that the Constitution is a document that can "grow," in 1991 Judge Sarokin discovered that the First Amendment protects a bum's right to harass library staff, stalk female patrons, talk loudly to himself, stare at people and generally smell the place up.

In addition to the free speech right to emit foul body odor in public libraries (but not to engage in unpopular or political speech), we the people will also be newly liberated to prance about naked. No state or county law will be able stop us. It's probably growing there in the penumbras of the First Amendment right now.

The Supreme Court recently considered a First Amendment challenge to nude dancing -- conduct that will soon be hallowed under the beloved Flynt Amendment. A county in Pennsylvania had enacted an ordinance requiring strippers to wear pasties and G-strings. The court narrowly concluded that the pastie requirement did not violate the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech.

But it so held in a 6-3 decision: Three sitting Supreme Court justices found that pasties do violate our precious First Amendment rights, fought and died for by the nation's founders. (Sort of.) Up in Michigan, the courts think speech isn't protected by the First Amendment, but three justices on the U.S. Supreme Court think nipples are.

Two more Democrat appointments to the Supreme Court, and all sorts of speech liberals don't care for will be banned as "hate crimes" or "campaign finance" violations. But wholly nonspeech activities liberals support -- including body odor and products peddled by Larry Flynt and his ilk -- will be protected as "free speech."

Speech is "conduct," and conduct is "speech." Under a Constitution that "grows," two plus two equals five, and freedom is slavery.