THE BLOG

An OWS Civics Quiz

Nov 15, 2011 | Updated Jan 15, 2012

Pop Quiz.

TEXT # 1:

[New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg] said the decision to clamp down on media coverage was made to "protect the members of the press. We have to provide protection and we have done exactly that." He said the move was made "to prevent a situation from getting worse". Bloomberg said that "from the beginning, I have said that the city had two principal goals: guaranteeing public health and safety, and guaranteeing the protesters' First Amendment rights. But when those two goals clash, the health and safety of the public and our first responders must be the priority." -- Dominic Rushe, in The Guardian UK

TEXT #2:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." -- First Amendment to the Constitution.

QUESTION 1: Does the First Amendment give the mayor the right to "protect the members of the press" from the news? Doesn't this count as "abridging the freedom of the press"? Discuss.

QUESTION 2: Does "make no law" give the government the ability to set aside freedom of speech and the right of people peaceably to assemble whenever it wants to? Or only when those Constitutionally guaranteed rights clash with other goals that the mayor finds more to his liking? Discuss.