Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm sure we can all agree that freedom of speech isn't free

It seems that a group of Muslim students in Univ. of Calif. Irving disrupted a speech given by Israel's ambassador to the U.S. They were suspended for semester as a result. Pretty harsh in and of itself, but now the Orange County District Attorney wants to prosecute the students for conspiracy to disturb a public meeting.

Over-zealous prosecutor? Singling out Muslims for exercising their right to assemble and speech? Oh, I don't know, maybe yes and yes?

But then there's this gem.

Since the charges against the students were filed on Friday, the district attorney has come under fire from several groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. The chancellor’s office has not taken any position on the prosecution, but on Wednesday, 100 faculty members urged Mr. Rackauckas to drop the charges.

But Mr. Rackauckas is showing no signs of backing down.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, Susan Schroeder, said in an interview: “It seems that the basic question is what if we substituted different groups — what if this were the Klu Klux Klan who conspired to silence a speech by Martin Luther King.”

An excellent argument to be sure. As we all know, the ACLU has been highly selective in who the organization will represent.

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