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The County Council has submitted to the voters amendments to the Charter which, if passed, will probably be ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.
On their face, these amendments appear to abrogate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The First Amendment, in part, states "Congress shall make no law respecting…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Webster's defines "abridging" as "to reduce in scope, diminish, deprive, to shorten in duration." This is exactly what the council has in mind in submitting these proposed changes in the Charter to the voters. Its action is nothing more than a facetious attempt to circumvent the First Amendment.
Justice Louis D. Brandeis, one of the most able men to occupy a position on the U.S. Supreme Court, said in one of his decisions, "the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding." Some of our councilors, both past and present, should take note of what the judge was concerned about.
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