Sarah Palin: Constitutional Law Scholar


If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

Ben Smith at Politico nicely stripped away the fallacies in this quote, though I wish he hadn’t prefaced it by claiming a risk of pedanticalness. Frankly, I’m sick of the slightly more complicated nature of fact giving those who speak it a bad name as out of touch, elitist of intellectual.

Coming from a Mayor who floated the idea of banning books from the public library, cries of First Amendment violations sound particularly idiotic, but her lack of understanding (or purposeful misinterpretation) of one of the cornerstones of our governmental system just throws the whole thing into Wacky Land.

Let me make this clear for you, Governor. The First Amendment is not there to protect your feelings. It does not exist so people will be nice to you, or even to force people to tell the truth (a fact I am sure you will be pleased to learn). It exists to protect speech from the suppression of government bodies. Specifically, it exists so that ideologue Mayors with poor knowledge of our nation’s laws can’t do something like pulling books about homosexuality out of public libraries.

There are laws to protect people from lies and distortions in the media, but they are not part of the First Amendment. If what you are alleging is libel, slander or defamation of character, then press those charges. I know defamation might be a big word for you, but that’s what we hire lawyers for, right?

But allow me to warn you of something, since your ambition is your most defining trait. Your ability to remain unchallenged on the things you say slips when you seek widespread public status. If you’d like to become the new face of the GOP – and I urge you to, for the good of the country – I’d suggest getting used to people writing things about you that you don’t like.

I’d also suggest actually picking up a copy of the Constitution and putting it under your pillow. Learning by osmosis has no scientific basis, but when has that stopped you from believing something?

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