February 28, 2014

The lameness of the secretive video of the Supreme Court in oral argument.

So somebody got a camera past security at the Supreme Court, and we get some blurry, herky-jerky video to go along with the audio of the argument that the Court makes available. The video contains less visual information than the frequently seen drawings of the Justices and lawyers at oral argument.

And the video documents some person who probably imagines himself a courageous protester standing up and saying:
"I rise on behalf of the vast majority of American people who believe that money is not speech, corporations are not people and our democracy should not be for sale to the highest bidder. Overturn Citizens United. Keep the cap on McCutcheon." 
What impresses me is not that one guy did that on one occasion, but that it doesn't happen all the time. How orderly and respectful the great crowds that fill the courtroom have been over the years. It's tempting to sneak in a camera. How easy it would be to bury a little Google-glassish device inside a beehive hairdo that the guards would not dare poke around in. How easy it is for anyone in the audience at any moment to stand up — to "rise" — and mouth off loudly.

They don't. That's what's amazing. 

48 comments:

Pogo is Dead said...

It's Samuel Johnson; Montaigne is for Family Court.

Fen said...

"I rise on behalf of the vast majority -"

Sit down, idiot. And maybe use that time to learn the diff between a democracy and a republic. For starters.

"When Government seeks to use its full power . . . to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought. This is unlawful."

"Their real complaint is not with the Supreme Court or its ruling in Citizens United, but with the First Amendment itself, which prohibits their efforts to empower government to micromanage political debate."

http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/49332/citizens-united-decision-means-more-free-speech/paul-sherman#!

Matthew Sablan said...

Huh. A lot of security people are going to get fired. Not because the video is a bad thing, but because if they missed that, who knows what else they can miss.

Bob Ellison said...

NPR did a story yesterday about a tiny camera that takes a picture every 30 seconds. It's only going to get easier. Won't the Supreme Court have to revisit its policy on recordings, or else try to harden the target? Hardening the target will only make things more challenging.

David said...

"They don't. That's what's amazing."

The Court has no TV cameras. Courageous Citizens want their Courage shown on TV.

whswhs said...

Corporations are not people. Right. So let's be consistent. Labor unions are corporations; forbid them to engage in political speech, or to fund it. Churches are corporations; forbid them to do the same. Universities are corporations. Every nonprofit corporation is a corporation. Ban them all from participating in political speech.

And, since having an officially recognized category of "news media" or "journalists" is a form of privilege—as well as making the news media a tool of established power—we shouldn't have a special category of news media that are exempt from this. Forbid any newspaper to endorse any political candidate, ever again. If their staff want to comment on the elections, let them do so personally, at their own expense, with full legal liability if anyone sues them for what they write.

EDH said...

Was that RBG droning on throughout the video?

No wonder Clarence Thomas quietly looks at the ceiling most of the time.

He's looking for all the places to throw a rope over so he can imagine hanging himself.

RecChief said...

oh those crazy kids and their newfangled gadgets!


yeah, I was wondering when some nutjob was going to take the admonition "Get in their faces" to heart.

Bob Ellison said...

If the court does bow to inevitability and allows video cameras in, then I really want to see Toobin's justice-by-justice analysis of how their behavior changes before and after the cameras came in.

Beth said...

When we first moved to the DC area, I made it a point to do and see the "tourist" stuff. I sat in on a SC session one morning. It was fascinating. I really got the sense of just how much law thee Justices know and can cite and refer to. How seriously everyone takes the occasion. I don't know that they should be televised, but I'd recommend to everyone to go if you can.

Bob Ellison said...

whswhs, it'd be easier to nationalize the newspapers and TV stations. Also Hollywood, all schools, and all publishers and bloggers. Hmm.

traditionalguy said...

Regulation of speech without a license is a necessary part of an absolutist Ruler's Regime. The Court's speech is no exception, and their license to speak may be revoked unless our Congress persons start doing their jobs to govern America by laws.

RecChief said...

Bow to the inevitable? Lord, I hope not. Why should we want justices preening for the camera? I'd rather more justices followed Thomas' lead regarding listening.

In that vein, CSPAN is the worst thing for congress. It should be audio only recordings.

drozz said...

lack of respect for the court, IMO.

it's almost as if some people think that the court should always agree with their personal beliefs.

Bob Ellison said...

The court could post snipers with tranquilizing guns up high inside the courtroom, and publicize a statement that says with a single button-push from a single justice, anyone who interrupts decorum will be dropped like a banana peel.

sean said...

It's easy to disrupt almost any public activity. It's easy to make a scene in a church, run on the field at a ball game, interrupt a university class, etc. People don't do it because usually it's stupid and pointless.

tim maguire said...

You're right, with the Democratic effort to politicize the court these last 25 years, it is surprising that this doesn't happen more often.

Love the "on behalf of the vast majority of American people." These nut jobs really do imagine that their position is so sensible that everybody must agree with them. They just MUST!

Michael K said...

"Labor unions are corporations; forbid them to engage in political speech, or to fund it. Churches are corporations; forbid them to do the same. Universities are corporations. Every nonprofit corporation is a corporation. Ban them all from participating in political speech."

The New York Times is a for-profit corporation, not that it has made a profit in a while.

Carol said...

What whs said. Anti-corporate-personhood is so lame..yeah let's muzzle corporations, including enviro groups, feminist groups, the NAACP..all of 'em.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, if we see Meade post a picture of you in a beehive we're going to know something's up!

Tibore said...

"How easy it is for anyone in the audience at any moment to stand up — to "rise" — and mouth off loudly.

They don't. That's what's amazing."


It is. And it's heartening too. Most people understand decorum, and when actions are appropriate. It's only the self-important few who are delusionally arrogant enough to elevate their pet cause as something worth disrupting dignified proceedings for.

As well as thinking their pet cause is so important it trumps others. And should not be dealt with in the way everything else is i.e. via their elected congressional representatives. This Festival of Arrogance is amusing, but it's the hallmark of The Truly Dedicated.

Michael K said...

The Left has really gotten its knockers in a twist since Citizens United. Before that, they had advocacy by big corporations to themselves.

madAsHell said...

The only thing missing was: "Don't taze me, bro".

Henry said...

This is the other personality type that Johnson is not and Brooks overlooked. The preening scold.

Curious George said...

It is very lame. I would give it 4 garage mahals.

chuck said...

"I rise on behalf of the vast majority of American people..."

These folks are delusional. Dangerously so, for given the support of a imaginary "vast majority" they can justify any act.

cubanbob said...

whswhs said...
Corporations are not people. Right. So let's be consistent. Labor unions are corporations; forbid them to engage in political speech, or to fund it. Churches are corporations; forbid them to do the same. Universities are corporations. Every nonprofit corporation is a corporation. Ban them all from participating in political speech.

And, since having an officially recognized category of "news media" or "journalists" is a form of privilege—as well as making the news media a tool of established power—we shouldn't have a special category of news media that are exempt from this. Forbid any newspaper to endorse any political candidate, ever again. If their staff want to comment on the elections, let them do so personally, at their own expense, with full legal liability if anyone sues them for what they write.

2/28/14, 8:52 AM"

Your forgot to include government and politics parties. Parties runs ads which are always political in speech. Government runs ads that have political speech component. Agencies formulate and advocate policies that have political speech aspects. No politic speech for any collective!

Simon said...

"This is how it gets reported," they complain. It shouldn't be reported at all. He should have been tazed, thrown out of the building, and any mention of the incident banned on pain of forfeiting reporting privileges.

Protestors are in it for the fame. That's what they're really whining about. Deprive them of the oxygen they seek. Or, you know, put cameras in the room and this will happen all the time.

Simon said...

chuck said...
"These folks are delusional. Dangerously so, for given the support of a imaginary 'vast majority' they can justify any act"

Yes, but to be fair you see the same delusion in the tea party. Modern politics have turned the preamble's soaring declaration "we the people" into one of the most repulsive, delusional phrases in the political lexicon. It now means "me and many people I know."

SMGalbraith said...

Irony of ironies is that major corporations, e.g., Apple, Microsoft et al., put enormous pressure on Arizona Governor Brewer to veto the legislation on religious freedom/gay rights.

I'll guess that our liberal/progressive friends won't be complaining about corporations "hijacking" democracy on this matter.



RecChief said...

SMGalbraith said...
Irony of ironies is that major corporations, e.g., Apple, Microsoft et al., put enormous pressure on Arizona Governor Brewer to veto the legislation on religious freedom/gay rights.



MAke sure you include the National Football League in that list

ken in sc said...

I lived in DC for two years. I wish I had done all the touristy things like Beth did—visit the SC. The most touristy thing I did was get stuck on the Woodrow Wilson bridge and that other bridge next to the pentagon at rush hour. Actually, I did see the bicentennial fireworks over the Potomac as viewed from Arlington Cemetery. It took four hours to get home from there because of the traffic.

garage mahal said...

If corporations are people why aren't Republicans trying to cut their welfare?

Fen said...

Because Republicans are EVIL, Garage. With little horns and a tail.

Simon said...

garage mahal said...
"If corporations are people why aren't Republicans trying to cut their welfare?"

Mutatis mutandis, that's a good question. Why aren't Republican legislators trying to cut off corporate welfare, as Republican voters want?

eric said...

Anyone who thinks that Citizens United turned corporations into people is an idiot akin to those people on the street Jay Leno has interviewed. They get their news from Jon Stewart and intellectually, they should be dismissed.

Hell, I'm not scholar, I'm not even edumacated, but I can read Wikipedia. I can understand what corporate personhood means. I can figure out that corporations have been people since the early 19th century. I can even understand the nightmare corporations would become if they weren't considered persons.

And I'm Forrest Gump stupid. Just imagine how much more stupid these people must be.

Revenant said...

They posted their video on YouTube.

If the government forcibly took it down on the grounds that Google is a corporation and has no first amendment rights, I wonder if 99 Rise would complain?

This is what really irritates me about these half-wits. In the modern world, you cannot as a practical matter exercise the rights to freedom of speech or freedom of the press without relying on corporations to do so.

Yes, in theory you can make your own ink, grow trees or flax or raise sheep to produce writing materials, write your book out by hand with a quill pen and personally distribute it to others.

But as a practical matter you rely on the fact that there exists in the world *corporations* that provide those goods and services for you. If the government can order them not to distribute speech -- which is exactly what the government was doing prior to Citizen's United -- then you yourself have no freedom of speech.

These fuckin' retards just imagine that THEIR speech will remain sacrosanct and the government will only censor the bad guys.

garage mahal said...

How about corporations [and people!] can say whatever the hell they want, but we restrict how much they can contribute in elections.

eric said...

Garage Mahal wrote;

"How about corporations [and people!] can say whatever the hell they want, but we restrict how much they can contribute in elections."

I completely agree with this.

I think the corporations that own NBC, CBS, ABC, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, NPR, Time Magazine, etc, should all have to go politically silent.

Because after all, we do have someting called, "in kind" donations to political campaigns.

Or does Garage mean only those corporations he designates must be limited on how much they can spend on their speech in regards to politics?

garage mahal said...

I think the corporations that own NBC, CBS, ABC, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, NPR, Time Magazine, etc, should all have to go politically silent

Why?

eric said...

Don't we want to restrict how much corporations can contribute during elections?

Sigivald said...

"I rise on behalf of the vast majority of American people who believe that money is not speech, corporations are not people and our democracy should not be for sale to the highest bidder. Overturn Citizens United. Keep the cap on McCutcheon."

Yeah, and go screw yourself.

Overturn Citizens United really means "let the State silence a group of people from criticizing a politician right before an election".

I'd bet $20 this tool has no problem with "money in politics" as long as it's Progressive money funneled through "Foundations".

Which are totally different from "Corporations", and that money is fine.

(Want money out of politics? Okay.

Remove the power of the State.

If there's nothing to buy, nobody will pay for it.

Not "corporations", not the AARP, nobody.)

Paul Zrimsek said...

Don't we already restrict how much corporations can contribute during elections?

Sigivald said...

whswhs: And as non-people they also have no due-process rights or freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.

So any corporation - be it a for profit, a charity, a university - can just have its property appropriated by the State at its whim.

It baffles me, a bit, that people think they can let that wind loose and not be blown over by it along with their "enemies".

whswhs said...

The New York Times is a for-profit corporation, not that it has made a profit in a while.

Nothing I said was intended to limit my remarks to not-for-profit corporations. I gave a lot of examples of those because the people I know who object to corporate freedom of expression seem to think only of businesses—indeed, only of large businesses—as "corporations."

My first paragraph gave a list of broad types of corporations they aren't thinking of (though, surely, it had omissions, such as political parties). My second paragraph turned to a specific type of for-profit corporation: media corporation. If we're going to deny freedom of expression to "corporations," I say we should get all of them.

As to corporations being "persons" or not, I ignored that because it's precisely not the basis of the Citizens United decision. Justice Kennedy wrote that individuals have freedom of expression, and that they do not forfeit that freedom by choosing to associate in a particular form. Citizens United pierces the corporate veil and goes back to the rights of the individuals behind it.

harrogate said...

Simon wrote:

"Modern politics have turned the preamble's soaring declaration 'we the people' into one of the most repulsive, delusional phrases in the political lexicon. It now means 'me and many people I know.'"

Hear, hear. Perfectly said.

Richard Dolan said...

"They don't. That's what's amazing."

Nor is it common to see disruptions of most other governmental meetings -- legislative committee hearings, floor proceedings,admin agency proceedings, or the like. Same in the private sector -- shareholder meetings corporate board meetings, and the like, are generally carried out without much fuss or disruptive protests.The only sector where such disruptions occur with some regularity (and, truth be told, even there it is not all that common) is academic events.

The American public, at least the adult portion of it, is by and large respectful and considerate when attending such formal events.

stlcdr said...

They probably did and do.

Unless one really has a finger in the pie, I expect, just like any other job/meeting, it's really really boring.