|Freedom of Speech in NYC is Dead.
||[Mar. 1st, 2007|10:14 am]
Res. No. 693-A:
"[A] Resolution calling on the Council of the City of New York to declare a symbolic moratorium on the use of the "N" word in New York City.
Whereas, the Council encourages the citizens of the City of New York to cease using the "N" word and to encourage all others whom they may encounter in their daily routine to cease from using the word as well; now therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York declares a symbolic moratorium on the use of the "N" word in New York City."
I find the "N" word to be offensive and disgusting. However, passing a law abridging our right to speak is even more offensive.
Unfortunately, the community at large, and the vast majority of the African-American community, has decided that the "N" word is not offensive, and can be used in a positive way. I disagree with this assessment and never use the "N" word.
However, this law is unconstitutional. First and foremost, this law is an abridgment of speech. The Constitution of the State of New York explicitly states in §8 that "Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right;and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press." Clearly, this resolution restrains and abridges speech, and creates a chilling effect on people speech and musical expression.
Secondly, naysayers argue that this law has no teeth and can't be enforced. However, it is a settled principle of law since Marbury v. Madison that if there is a right, there must be a remedy, even if a prohibition is "symbolic" and has no enumerated remedy. Perhaps the punishment for using the "N" word should be symbolic as well, like a symbolic public tongue lashing by a member of the prestigious city counsel.
Lastly, the law is overbroad and vague, since this resolution can arguably be read to include any word that begins with the letter "N". Too bad those "Nincompoops" over at City Hall don't understand that the 1st Amendment and our State Constitution protect everyone's right to use offensive speech.
If this doesn't make your blood boil, I don't know what will! Write the city counsel and tell them that you don't want them trampling on our hard earned civil liberties!
NYC Counsel Resolution 693-A | Constitution of the State of New York | First Amendment Annotated | digg this