So The First Amendment Means There Are No Consequences For What You Say & Do?
“(New York) city violated the First Amendment rights of two firefighters and a police officer when it fired them for riding on a parade float in blackface in 1998, a judge ruled Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge John E. Sprizzo said the government “may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because a segment of society finds it offensive.”
…”It’s so easy to slip into a kind of political correctness that sooner or later will be the end of the First Amendment,” the judge said at the time.
Chris Dunn, an attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the ruling “sends a message that city employees can’t be scapegoated to serve a mayor’s political agenda and that’s exactly what happened here.”
Here’s a little more info on what the two fired police officers actually did…
“Those on the Labor Day float in Broad Channel, Queens, threw watermelon and fried chicken to paradegoers and made it appear as if one of the men in blackface was being dragged, the city contended. The controversy erupted the same summer that James Byrd Jr., a black man in Jasper, Texas, was dragged to his death from a pickup truck.”
These men didn’t have their right to free speech abridged. They were able to get on that float and do their racist minstrel show. However, the First Amendment does not promise that free speech should come without consequences. If you cheat on your wife, you can’t tell her about it and say, “The First Amendment Guarantees that you can’t get mad at me”. If you take out a full page ad in the local paper telling the world that your boss is an ignorant jack*ss, then it’s ridiculous to claim that it would be unconstitutional to fire you. Last but not least, if you work for the city of New York and you engage in highly offensive racist behavior in a parade, there’s nothing in the Constitution that prevents the city from firing you so their image won’t be tarnished by your revolting behavior.