Freedom of Speech is one of the most fundamental principles upon which our Country was built. Introduced by the Founding Fathers in the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution, it contains no ambiguity. Paid for in blood, by thousands of fellow Americans who fought and died so that future generations could possess, cherish, and pass this gift on, it has been vital to the past, present and future of our Great Nation. Yet, in present days it has become one of the most controversial issues and subjects for interpretation.

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Isaacs Trial Postponed; 2257 Charges Unexpectedly Dropped

Trial pushed back to April 22
By Mark Kernes

Posted: 4:36 PM PST Feb 29, 2008

LOS ANGELES - The obscenity trial of Ira Isaacs, alleged proprietor of the Stolen Car Films and LA Media websites, on charges of "importation or transportation of obscene material," and "importation or transportation of obscene material for sale or distribution," has been pushed back to April 22. Trial was to have begun on Feb. 27.

"The reason we were postponed was because the Jury Commissioner couldn't certify that the potential jurors in the jury pool came from all over the Central District [of California]," explained Roger Jon Diamond, attorney for the defendant. "It's constitutionally required that jurors come from the entire district where the federal court sits, because in the Hamling case, the court ruled that the government does not have to put on expert witnesses because the jurors are presumed to know the community standard from which they've come. In our particular case, we were willing to stipulate that the jurors only need to come from Los Angeles; we're not insisting that they come in from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara and Ventura County, but the judge did not want to gamble, and feels he wants to do it by the book."

That judge is U.S. District Court Judge George King, who as a federal prosecutor in the late '60s won a conviction against adult producer William Pincus, only to have Pincus' conviction overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

What Isaacs won't be going to trial on are Counts 7 and 8 of the indictment, "improper recordkeeping for material depicting sexual activity" - what adult industry personnel would call a 2257 violation.

"We did file a motion to dismiss counts 7 and 8, based on the Sixth Circuit ruling in the Connection case," Diamond said.

But the judge never got a chance to rule on that motion; the Department of Justice (DOJ), in the person of federal prosecutor Kenneth Whitted, summarily dropped the 2257 charges without explanation. Diamond isn't sure on what basis that decision was made, but Chicago-based First Amendment attorney Reed Lee had some thoughts on the matter.

"I think it's a clear indication that they don't want to bring a 2257 case in the Ninth Circuit, and that's where we're working to bring it," Lee opined.

Certainly, the Sixth Circuit's Connection decision is a likely candidate for the cause of the dismissal of the 2257 counts, but another possibility is the fact that, in drafting its 2257 regulations, the government failed to conduct required studies under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA, or RegFlex) to determine the financial impact of the 2257 regulations on the industry; a fact that was brought to the Justice Department's attention last summer as the department was attempting to finalize the most recent revisions to the regulations.

"I gotta say, I think it's more likely that the Sixth Circuit panel, which got to the constitutional issues that Free Speech Coalition's been pressing, had an effect," Lee commented. "It may be that they are worried about the RFA issues; they should be; I just don't know. But my guess is that these constitutional issues overwhelm the regulatory concerns at the moment because they're so fundamental. If the Sixth Circuit panel and Free Speech Coalition are right about the constitutional issues, the RegFlex becomes tertiary; it pales in comparison, because if the Sixth Circuit decision holds, there's no statute to write regs for.

"But whatever the particulars are, it does seem that they're not interested in litigating the validity of Section 2257 right now," Lee concluded. "I think that is an interesting signal. I'm not surprised, now that I think about it, for both the reasons we've discussed."

But beyond the 2257 situation, the Isaacs case has already brought up some fascinating legal issues, including a pre-trial one that may affect the final outcome of the case if Isaacs is found guilty.

"We had a meeting with acting U.S. Attorney Tom O'Brien in his office to try to resolve and settle the case, and they offered him what he was willing to take originally," Diamond recounted. "They offered him five months of home confinement and five months of regular custody, and he's turned that down. We had a very interesting dialog with the judge on the plea bargain, because Isaacs raised the point that he could not accept the offer of the government, because to do that, he'd have to admit that the material is obscene, and he doesn't personally believe it's obscene.

"So that raises the question, how can you in any case plead guilty in an obscenity case?" Diamond continued. "Because most federal judges, including this one, would want the defendant to say, 'I did all these things and therefore I'm guilty.' Isaacs points out that he can't plead guilty; he can't take the government's offer even if he wanted to, because nobody knows if something is obscene until a jury says it is. So how do you do that? We had a whole big discussion about that in court.

"One of the reasons I did that is, if he goes to trial and gets convicted, under the sentencing guidelines, you're supposed to be rewarded for accepting responsibility, etc., and I want the judge to know that Isaacs was willing to accept responsibility to the extent that he admits it was his movies: He made some of them, he shot them, he did all these things; he's not avoiding anything. But how can he admit the ultimate fact of obscenity because he doesn't believe it, and then he'd be lying to the court, so he shouldn't be punished - one of the reasons we did that is, if in fact he should get convicted, he would not want to lose the benefit of accepting responsibility as an element under the sentencing guidelines and maybe get probation anyway."

But that was only one of the quirky turns this case has already made.

"We also filed motions to dismiss the obscenity counts, and the judge found one of my arguments very intriguing, although he ultimately rejected it," Diamond revealed. "I argued - and nobody's ever argued this point before - that the obscenity statute violates the separation of powers doctrine of the U.S. Constitution, which separates legislative, executive and judicial functions into three separate branches of government. I said the violation occurs because, in effect, the executive branch has been given the authority to determine community standard and has not allowed the community standard to evolve, because by definition, if you exceed the community standard, you're basically breaking the law, assuming the other prongs are met in the obscenity test, so how does somebody expand or enlarge on the community standard to make it more flexible if the government has the power to prosecute anybody who exceeds the standard? There's almost a built-in dilemma there. The judge was kind of intrigued with that, but he eventually rejected the argument."

It's a powerful point. Everyone knows that the level of sexual explicitness that society has accepted in its media has varied wildly over the past century, from the days when a bared ankle was enough to excite Victorian youth, through early Hollywood films that showed the outline of bare bosoms under silky blouses before the Hayes Code put a stop to it, through the mildly graphic literary works of Henry Miller and John Cleland, to the near universal depiction of anal sex that, 30 years ago, was virtually unknown in mainstream adult features. So attitudes regarding sexual depictions have evolved, but by the government attempting to use current morés to convict producers who may simply be on the cutting edge of that evolution - think of Seymore Butts' December 2000 bust for depicting enthusiastic consensual fisting in Tampa Tushy Fest - it's attempting to do to the adult industry the same sort of thing it's doing to genetic researchers by limiting their access to embryonic stem cells. The DOJ, part of the (non-legislating) executive branch, is dictating to the judicial branch, "This is where the evolution of sexual media stops." But that stopping point is in reality a constantly moving target.

But having lost that argument (though it could still be brought up on appeal), Diamond says his client wants to concede the community standards issue and focus instead on the LAPS prong of the Miller obscenity test: Whether the material has literary, artistic, political or scientific (usually abbreviated "LAPS") value.

"We've got a psychiatrist, a local guy who's an expert in sex, who's going to testify that the material has serious scientific value," Diamond said, "and also, my client also wants to testify as an expert. I've never had a defendant testify as an expert, but he wants to testify; he wants to tell the jury why this is 'shock art' and why this is serious art. He wants to be an art expert to testify as to the artistic value of movies that graphically and unrelentingly depict people defecating on each other and masturbating horses and having the horse ejaculate into the mouth of a fellatio person."

The LAPS prong of the Miller test is the one portion that doesn't depend on community standards. Even if the jury were to find that the material, taken as a whole, "appeals to the prurient interest" - usually defined as a "shameful or morbid interest" in a particular sex act - and even if the work "depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law," the material is still protected if it can be shown to have one of the four listed types of social value. According to a Los Angeles Times article, Isaacs has noted that "late Italian artist Piero Manzoni defecated in tins," and that "one of the tins sold for $70,000."

The government's response to the defendant's proffer of experts was to move for a "Daubert hearing," so named after the 1993 Supreme Court case, Daubert v. Merrell-Dow Pharmaceuticals. Daubert requires the trial judge to determine whether a proposed expert possesses "scientifically valid" knowledge that "will assist the trier of fact to understand or determine a fact in issue."

"The government wants to be able to question Dr. Nair as to his qualifications to give his opinion, and they also want to question Isaacs," Diamond said. "We tried to get comparable stuff in, but the judge ruled that there was no foundation for what we wanted to do. One of my proposals was to have Isaacs in front of the jury demonstrate with a computer, live, in real-time, just go into various scat websites, showing the jury what's actually out there, but the judge took a very formalistic view and said no, we can't just do it live in front of the jury spontaneously; we have to have everything set in advance, but that would have been interesting."

The Daubert hearing is scheduled for April 9, and the trial roughly two weeks after that, and Diamond estimates that it shouldn't take more than a week for both sides to complete their cases. Of course, that will include playing for the jury, in their entirety, the charged videos, which include Gang Bang Horse 'Pony Sex Game', Mako's First Time Scat, Hollywood Scat Amateurs No. 7 and BAE 20. Certainly, prosecutor Ken Whitted will have to worry whether, after seeing one or two of the features, the jury here, as did the one in the Five Star trial in Phoenix, will ask if there's some way they can avoid seeing the remainder of the charged films - in which case Whitted, as he did in Phoenix, will have to decide if he wants to drop charges against any of the movies to stem the possibility of a de facto jury nullification.

Embattled Love Shack Buys Some Time

Owner John Cornetta applies for business license
By Mike Albo

Posted: 11:54 AM PST Feb 29, 2008

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. - A Fulton Superior Court judge, in a written order issued yesterday, told John Cornetta, the embattled owner of adult video chain the Love Shack, that he may not operate an adult business at its current Johns Creek location, and that Cornetta must have a regular business license or close his store.

Cornetta managed a reprieve, however, by applying for a regular business license on Tuesday. The application comes with a grace period of up to 30 days during which time a business can operate without a license while the application is being processed.

For its part, the city holds that if code inspectors determine the Love Shack exceeds one of the thresholds used by the city to define a sexually oriented business, it will ask judge Ural Glanville to enforce the judge's order, which could include closing the store or fining Cornetta. It's possible that Cornetta could also be jailed for contempt.

City Attorney Bill Riley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "He [Cornetta] is still subject to the judge's order on not operating a sexually oriented business." Riley added, "I believe the defendant will follow any orders issued by a judge."

In a document filed with the court this week, Cornetta's attorney, Cary Wiggins, indicated that the judge's order fails to consider First Amendment issues. These issues could signal more lengthy court battles involving the Love Shack.

Glanville's latest order is seen as a major victory for the city of Johns Creek, which has long held that the Love Shack is operating illegally in a location not zoned for adult busineses.

Mayor Mike Bodker told the Journal-Constitution that the judge's order is, " victory, but it's one step in a long process. It's winning a battle, not the war. It's a big battle. He's at the end of a rope, holding on to the knot, and it's about to slip."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Love Shack owner applies for license, buys time

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 02/28/08

In a written order issued Thursday, a Fulton Superior Court judge told the owner of an adult video chain that he may not operate a sexually oriented business at its current Johns Creek location, and that he must have a regular business license or close his store.

But John Cornetta, the owner of the Love Shack, bought himself more time by applying for a regular business license on Tuesday. The application carries a grace period of up to 30 days in which a business, including Cornetta's, can operate without a license while the application is being processed.

If city code inspectors find the store exceeds one of the thresholds used by the city to define a sexually oriented business, the city would ask the judge, Ural Glanville, to enforce the order, which could include closing the store or fining Cornetta — or even jailing him for contempt.

"He is still subject to the judge's order on not operating a sexually oriented business," said City Attorney Bill Riley. "I believe the defendant will follow any orders issued by a judge."

Cornetta's attorney, Cary Wiggins, said in a document filed with the court this week that the judge's order fails to take into account First Amendment issues, which could signal another lengthy court battle, during which the store may remain open.

Thursday's order by Glanville represents a major victory for the city of Johns Creek, which has long argued that the Love Shack located at Jones and State Bridge roads is a sexually oriented store operating illegally in an area not zoned for adult businesses.

"It's an absolute, total victory," said Mayor Mike Bodker, "but it's one step in a long process. It's winning a battle, not the war. It's a big battle. He's at the end of a rope, holding on to the knot, and it's about to slip."

Rights commissions biggest clowns in anti-free-speech circus

Rob Breakenridge, For The Calgary Herald
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2008
The continuing debate over free speech and human rights commissions has illustrated for us a trifecta of absurdity fighting to uphold the status quo. We are witnessing the convergence of farcical politicians, farcical complainants and, yes, farcical commissions -- all unwittingly helping the cause of free speech. For that which is to be mocked is that which is found to be sapped of all political credibility.

It is most unfortunate to find Alberta's premier with a starring role in this sad affair. Whereas Ed Stelmach often has a folksy platitude to offer, a straightforward question on this issue produced a statement so utterly devoid of reason and coherence that I think the premier was more confused after uttering it than he was before it came spilling out of his mouth.

Stelmach managed a vague reference to the Charter, a flowery nod to Alberta's "mosaic" and, of all things, a reference to recently announced funding for the arts. All that was missing, sadly, was anything resembling an answer. To describe such a vacuous statement as one to be mocked would be a gross understatement.

While Stelmach exposed his ignorance on the subject in that case (though he has since told the Herald's editorial board that he will look at possibly modifying Alberta's human rights act to better protect free speech), few other politicians seem willing to fight for free speech. Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft told the Herald's editorial board yesterday that he, too, would review the act should he become premier. Faint praise to them both.

Federally, Liberal MP Keith Martin's private members motion calls for subsection 13 (1) to be deleted from the Canadian Human Rights Act, thereby removing matters of speech from the Commissions' domain. His own party seems lukewarm, and the federal Conservatives are steering clear, too. The one notable exception being Calgary MP Jason Kenney, who spoke out against the case launched by the Canadian Islamic Congress against Mark Steyn and Maclean's magazine.

And in that we find our farcical complainants. We've seen local imam Syed Soharwardy's case crumble after he suddenly talked of withdrawing his complaint against the Western Standard magazine (it's not yet been withdrawn) offering a wide array of reasons for his decision. The absurdity was compounded when, in these very pages, Soharwardy's past words were detailed.

We find the same bitter irony with the Canadian Islamic Congress, a rather unlikely poster child for the quest to vanquish offensive speech.

While the Canadian Islamic Congress frets about a leading Canadian news magazine, they're free-speech absolutists when it comes to al-Jazeera. Despite the radical views often expounded on al-Jazeera, the CIC is a strong supporter of allowing al-Jazeera's unfettered signal into Canada.

And speaking of radical views, lest we forget CIC president Mohammed Elmasry's now-infamous television appearance in which he defended terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians, following in the rhetorical footsteps of radical cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, whose work is approvingly cited on the CIC's website. This is the same Sheik Qaradawi who has talked of the need to "punish" homosexuals, not a far cry from Elmasry's own belief that "homosexuality is forbidden and . . . (homosexuals) will be held accountable in the end."

Which makes you wonder why some anti-gay rhetoric gets a pass, while human rights commissions have pursued and punished anti-gay rhetoric in other cases, like Rev. Stephen Boissoin here in Alberta, and Bill Whatcott in Saskatchewan.

Here we begin to see where the commissions themselves are becoming a farce, if for no other reason that the cases against the Western Standard and Maclean's went ahead in the first place. But maybe it's as much about what they're not doing as what they are.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission says its "too busy" to look into claims of abuse in provincial nursing homes, and yet has the resources available to help a Sikh man fight a traffic ticket on the grounds that mandatory motorcycle helmets violate his religious freedom. Not too busy to hold a hearing against a plastic surgeon who refused genital enhancement surgery on two transsexuals because he had never performed such procedures on transsexuals. Same for the case against a restaurant owner who refused to allow medicinal marijuana to be smoked outside his entrance.

These are the forces of ludicrousness aligning against our most basic rights of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press. The good news is that their mere existence is working against them.

Rob Breakenridge hosts The World Tonight, weeknights from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on AM770

Free Speech Advocates Mount Legal Battle to Unchain Wikileaks

By Erika Morphy
Part of the ECT News Network
02/28/08 9:05 AM PT

"It is difficult to imagine how freedom of press has meaning if a press source can be put out of business for publishing something someone does not like," said Wayne Matus, an intellectual property and privacy litigator at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. "It will be interesting to see if the judge has legal authority to justify his actions or reverses his opinion in view of [Wednesday's] motions for reconsideration."

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The American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation , Public Citizen and twelve media groups are asking a federal court to lift an injunction against the global whistleblower Web site

Two weeks ago, in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, Judge Jeffrey White issued a permanent injunction against the site in response to a suit filed by a Swiss bank.

In Bank Julius Baer & Co., Ltd v. Wikileaks, et al, the plaintiff claims that the posting of certain documents to the Wikileaks site violated Swiss and Cayman Island bank secrecy laws.

Judge Jeffrey White ordered domain registrar Dynadot to disable in response to Julius Baer & Co.'s complaint. The groups behind the request to lift the injunction claim that it violates the First Amendment.

Like many clashes between Web 2.0 technologies and current -- often outdated -- law, this case has the potential to change the way technology may be used in certain situations and possibly even alter our fundamental understanding of what actions can be considered Constitutional rights.

This case takes on an added urgency given the nature of, which was founded by activists to provide a forum for overseas whistleblowers who want to release sensitive government or corporate information of interest to the public, but are not protected by local laws.

"There are many countries that don't have laws to protect whistleblowers," Reuben Guttman, senior counsel with Grant & Eisenhofer, told LinuxInsider. "That is why sites like this are important. [Wikileaks] provides a forum for these people about issues that not only affect them but potentially us as well." (Although the Web site is inaccessible, it is mirrored at various locations on the Web.)

For instance, factory workers in China -- a country that has whistleblower protection but is notoriously lax in enforcing those laws -- might use Wikileaks to post information about lead paint used in toys or other products, Guttman said.

Real-life examples of Wikileaks posts include materials discussing human rights abuses in China and political corruption in Kenya. Perhaps most famously, in November 2007 a manual documenting U.S. Army operations at the Guantanamo Bay prison was posted on Wikileaks after the Bush Administration resisted releasing it to the ACLU in response to a Freedom of Information request.

An Anonymous Post
Wikileaks runs on modified MediaWiki software, according to Wikipedia , allowing anonymous whistleblowers to post documents in a way that cannot be traced. Launched in December 2006, it is hosted in Sweden; at last count, Wikileaks was the repository of more than 1.2 million documents.

Julius Baer took exception to the site when it discovered documents posted by a former employee that purported to show the bank had been engaging in money-laundering activities for its clients.

Because the Wikileaks server is based in Sweden, legal jurisdiction initially was difficult to ascertain. The bank eventually filed a suit in California, according to Steve Mayer, a partner with Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin, who represents the ACLU, EFF and a Wikileaks user.

How and why the bank wound up in a California court is at this point almost immaterial, he told LinuxInsider.

The bank has promised to allow Wikileaks to go live again once the documents are returned, "but the injunction says nothing about that," Mayer noted. "The larger implications of this case are huge if this is allowed to stand -- a third party shutting down a site just because they claim there is information on it that was stolen or leaked. It is like shutting down an entire paper because of a leak."

Pentagon Papers Comparison
"One institution's stolen documents is another institution's Pentagon Papers," Mayer remarked.

He's not the only one to invoke the Pentagon Papers -- a now sacrosanct icon of freedom of speech.

"Wikileaks is as much a part of the press as any other news source," Wayne Matus, an intellectual property and privacy litigator at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, told LinuxInsider.

"Shutting down the Wikileaks site in the U.S. because it published documents which purportedly suggest Julius Baer & Co. helps customers launder money appears similar to what the Nixon administration wanted to do in stopping the publication of the Pentagon papers," he observed.

However, the remedy in this case is even more drastic than what Nixon sought, Matus continued, as he did not try to shut down The New York Times.

"It is difficult to imagine how freedom of press has meaning if a press source can be put out of business for publishing something someone does not like," he added. "It will be interesting to see if the judge has legal authority to justify his actions or reverses his opinion in view of [Wednesday's] motions for reconsideration."

Commercial Interests
Given the First Amendment issues raised, it may seem inappropriate to consider mundane commercial interests -- but they also must be considered, Jeff Tillotson, who handles commercial litigation at Lynn Tillotson & Pinker in Dallas, told LinuxInsider.

"The First Amendment trumps all, but a court can protect proprietary or privileged information," he pointed out. "However, in doing so, the court is generally required to fashion the least restrictive relief."

For example, Tillotson said, "if you post the Coke formula on your MySpace page, the court can't shut down the entire Web site. It can't even shut down your MySpace page unless there is no other way to protect the injured party. In these cases, judges have to balance the interests without going too far in either direction."

Guttman cautions, though, against leaping to the conclusion that this case is a direct assault on the First Amendment -- at least the part of the First Amendment that guarantees freedom of speech.

"The founding fathers never envisioned anything like the Internet -- and when you are dumping information out there like that, there could be a clash of First Amendment rights" such as freedom of association versus freedom of speech. In this scenario, he said, it could be debatable whether one could publish a list of church members on the Internet, for instance, because that might infringe on their right to associate.

As for the arguments in the Julius Baer case, "I didn't see any conflicts like that," Guttman acknowledged, "but it doesn't mean that wasn't what the judge was thinking."

Allowing the injunction to stand, however, could unintentionally place a weapon in some companies' hands. Tillotson points to a similar case involving a video by pop singer George Michael. "A portion of his music video was claimed to have been slanderous. The court could not bar the whole video because it was protected speech. Only the segment in question could be blocked."

The Web site hosting the video was caught in the middle, Tillotson added. "I do see how the court's ruling, if allowed, could intimidate other Web site owners: 'Remove content I don't like, or I will seek to shut down your whole site.'"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New ordinance awaits public inspection

Published February 27, 2008 10:38 pm - A new ordinance governing city parades, public assemblies and the use of Meadville’s Diamond Park moved two steps closer to becoming reality Wednesday night — and several new guidelines await public inspection.

New ordinance awaits public inspection

By Mary Spicer

02/28/08 —
A new ordinance governing city parades, public assemblies and the use of Meadville’s Diamond Park moved two steps closer to becoming reality Wednesday night — and several new guidelines await public inspection.

After first and second readings during Meadville City Council’s regularly-scheduled monthly meeting, the new ordinance, which officially amends Article 741 of the Meadville Municipal Code, will be available for public examination and comment. Council members are expected to give the ordinance final approval in March.

“Freedom of speech and association are among those precious rights guaranteed and protected by the United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions,” the amendment reads. “The purpose of this ordinance is to set forth the circumstances under which the city will regulate First Amendment activity.”

New restrictions on the use of the Diamond Park Gazebo include:

n No person may use the gazebo to the exclusion of others without first obtaining a permit and paying the required rental fee.

n Only those persons with a valid gazebo permit may use the columns and rails of the gazebo itself to display bunting, signs, symbols, flags or things of that nature.

n The permit holder must remove all such items or pay any costs incurred by the city for removing of any items or repairing any defacement or damage.

n The permit application must include a detailed description of any items intended for display on the gazebo.

n No person shall be granted more than four permits in any 12-month period.

The proposed ordinance defines “Core First Amendment Activity” as including “all expressive associative activity intended to communicate an opinion or to state a grievance” but not including “such activities as pet shows, ethic food festivals, art shows, civic holiday celebrations and similar events.”

New restrictions on all parade, public assembly or Diamond Park Gazebo permits include the requirement that:

n Applicants seeking a permit not involving Core First Amendment activities shall file the proper application forms no less than 15 days and no more than 60 days before the proposed event “absent reasonable exigent circumstances.”

n Applicants seeking a permit that does involve Core First Amendment activities shall submit their application no less than four and no more than 60 days before the proposed event.

With the exception of the uses allowed under a gazebo permit, “no person shall make any use of the Diamond Park grounds or any monument or memorial within Diamond Park for the purpose of supporting or exhibiting any signs, symbols, flags or things of any nature or description whatsoever.” The city, however, can make any use of the park it wants “for public gatherings and observances sponsored and conducted by the city.”

The ordinance also includes a penalty clause calling for a fine of not more than $1,000 for violations. If the penalty is not paid, the violator “shall be imprisoned not more than five days.”

National Mall Redesign Could Seriously Restrict Free Speech

By Scott Thill, AlterNet. Posted February 27, 2008.

The National Park Service is considering confining protests to a designated area.

The National Park Service (NPS) is planning to redesign the heavily trafficked National Mall -- the sprawling open area between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol that has become America's iconographic site of popular protest. It is where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his immortal "I Have a Dream" speech, where protests against everything from the Vietnam War and Iraq War have been launched, where locals and visitors alike lunch, jog and sightsee, and, in 2007, where Al Gore kicked off one of Live Earth's concerts.

In short, it is the premier destination for Americans from all walks of life to gather, relax, orate and bask in their collective freedoms.

But that might be coming to an end, as some organizations see it. Critics of the redesign including the ANSWER Coalition, Impeach Bush, Partnership for Civil Justice and more are complaining that the National Park Service's proposed redesign, still in its formative phase, is a subtle attempt to restrict that time-honored ability to congregate and complain.

For their part, they're suspicious of the National Park Service's recent partnership with the private foundation Trust for the National Mall to secure funding for the redesign, and they're not too happy about how current NPS Director Mary Bomar and the one she replaced, Fran P. Mainella, have connections to a Bush administration that is not exactly enthusiastic about either protest or the public trust.

And it isn't much of a stretch to figure out what the National Park Service thinks of that theory. "That is a complete red herring," explained William Line, communications officer for the National Park Service for the last six years and one-time journalist for ABC and NBC News. "It is completely and wrongly mischaracterizing what is going on to say that the national park service is limiting speech. The national park service reveres the First Amendment as much as any other American, and any statement by whatever groups to the contrary is patently false. I think they are interested in stirring up controversy."

Line and the National Park Service he serves, for their part, claim to harbor no such sinister plans. NPS, which was created in 1916 by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act to "promote and regulate the use of the federal areas known as national parks, monuments and reservations," is currently considering four alternatives, including "doing nothing at all." In fact, according to Line, only one proposal suggests moving protests or gatherings be moved to a specially sanctioned area.

"The typical place where the marches and demonstrations take place is the eastern end," he added. "One alternative explores the possibility of an area on the eastern end, referred to as the Capitol reflecting pool, be made into a park service area."

But Partnership for Civil Justice has an alternative explanation. as one would expect in a battle this pitched. It is a conflict that promises to become more heated in coming weeks. The redesign's public comment period expired on Feb. 15, and plans have been turned over to everyone from cultural and environmental resource specialists to Bomar, who makes the final decision and, as Line reminds me, "serves at the pleasure of the president."

"They have issued proposals," countered Partnership for Civil Justice co-founder and attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, "which include restrictions on protest activities, including the erection of stages because they might temporarily block the pristine view between the Washington Monument and the Capitol; mandatory 'rest' periods for the grass where the Mall would be off-limits; and, most significantly, the creation of a space where protesters would be expected and likely directed to gather near the Capitol. This is to be a stage-managed view of protests to turn the powerful opposition of the people coming together in mass assembly into a prettified outdoor lobbying group."

That's quite a laundry list of complaints, although Line is quick to point out -- again and again to the point that it became a numbing mantra during my various phone conversations with him -- that "nothing has been adopted, finalized or set in stone."

Further, he argued, the creation of the protest-approved space Verheyden-Hilliard mentions is, "in essence, in the same area," Line continued: "The suggestion is that we pave over the reflecting pool, which was built in the mid 1970s. And the assumption that the National Park Service wouldn't allow spillover onto different areas of the eastern end of the Mall is false."

But a national park is an expansive area. More importantly, it is a public area, and that means allowing the public to use it without reasonable restriction, if one is following the letter of the law as far as the National Park Service Organic Act is concerned. But while the National Park Service's official site chooses to highlight the Act's "fundamental purpose" -- "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment for the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations" -- it glosses over the fact that the Act also dictates that the secretary of the interior can do everything from open up the parks to loggers to kill whatever animal it desires to "conserve the scenery or the natural or historic objects in any such park, monument, or reservation." That's a lot of latitude, and a lot of power over the public, should the secretary of the interior choose to use it.

And he has, in this case. In November 2007, current Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, a man who holds the record for protecting fewer species in his tenure than any secretary of the interior in American history, staged a press conference to officially launch the Trust for the National Mall with National Park Service Deputy Director Lindi Harvey, National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Peggy O'Dell and Trust Chairman Chip Akridge. The purpose of the partnership, as Line's February 2007 media advisory explained, was to help raise private-sector funds needed to revitalize 'America's Front Yard,'" as the Mall is called, for the purpose of conservation.

Further, the advisory explained, the "Mall was included in the initial list of certified eligible projects of President Bush's National Park Centennial Initiative, which calls for $1 billion over 10 years to strengthen basic park operations and a challenge from President Bush to create a public-private funding vehicle of up to $2 billion for new projects and programs with the goal of a $100 million public-private match each year for 10 years." The trust, in other words, was created with the express approval of both the president and his secretary of the interior. Yet the trust's board of directors, who were included as attendees on the press release, were not named and have yet to be publicly divulged, at the time of this writing, on the trust's official site.

When I asked Line why this information was not included, he gave me what could only be described as a nonchalant answer. "There is not a requirement that the board of directors has to be established in order for the National Park Service to secure funding," he explained. "The reason why the board of directors isn't listed is because it isn't assembled yet. In any case, the money is given to the trust with a clear understanding that it will go to beautification of the National Mall."

When I asked where I could view a document stating as much, including an equally clear definition of what "beautification" entails, Line told me that he didn't have it in front of him and that it was not viewable on the site. When I told him that such nondisclosures, for whatever reasons, could be viewed by opponents of the redesign as a deliberate suppression of relevant information and details, he was nonplussed.

"It's an oversight," he added. "There is absolutely no intentional or malicious withholding of information." Unfortunately, he's not going to have such an easy time convincing redesign skeptics of that. Starting with Verheyden-Hilliard, and ending with every group worried that the Bush administration, which has set the bar impossibly high for presidencies refusing to disclose information in the public interest, has set its sights on further free-speech restrictions as its last term comes to a close. And when it does, unless the new president chooses a new NPS director, the decision will still be Bomar's to make. And that makes the opposition nervous. "This is a Bush initiative," Verheyden-Hilliard argued, "and we can't expect that the Democrats will stop them" should they win the White House in 2008. "This is coming under the auspices of the Bush administration and in the public meeting held on Jan. 12 in D.C., representatives from the National Park Service said that the plan would be completed by January 2009."

Of course, Verheyden-Hilliard's organization isn't alone in its concerns. Partnership for Civil Justice posted an online petition defending the Mall against free-speech restrictions signed by individuals as popular as Cindy Sheehan, Ed Asner and Howard Zinn, as well as officials from Greenpeace, National Council of Arab Americans, the National Lawyers Guild, the American Indian Movement and many more. Even Michael Berg, whose son Nicholas Berg's videotaped beheading in Iraq was infamously disseminated in 2004, has signed on, as has longtime Marine veteran and agitator Ron Kovic. That's a who's who of a list, one that cannot be simply brushed away by Line's exhortations that "there is no controversy."

"The intention of the Bush administration to limit the access of demonstrators to the Washington Mall is still another attack on our constitutional rights," Zinn wrote me via email, "a truly flagrant violation of the First Amendment's protection of 'the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.'" The decorated historian, who is currently adapting for the screen source materials from his seminal People's History of the United States>, collected in the compilation Voices of a People's History of the United States and assembled with co-author Anthony Arnove, argues that the move is a deliberate attempt by the president to oppress Americans on his way out the door. "I suppose there is a special urgency for the Bush administration in doing this, because the grievances against it are so numerous and profound."

Urgency may be one thing, but bureaucracies are another. And given all the eyeballs that need to scrutinize the redesign in order for it to even think about entering the execution phase, this whole flap could be nothing more than a minor tempest in a major teapot. (Or is that melting pot?) If a plan is indeed brought to Bomar before the Bush administration leaves office, and she chooses to engage the alternative that the National Coalition to Save Our Mall calls the "protest plaza," putting the plan into action is far from a given. As anyone who has tried to get anything in Washington done might explain, things just don't move that fast.

But that's not to say that they can't, or won't, especially if the Democrats take power in 2008 and elect to do nothing about what Partnership for Civil Justice derogatorily refers to as the "protest pit." With bipartisan apathy and nondisclosures growing by the day, those who turn up at the Mall to realize Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream might find that they've entered a nightmare of dystopian proportions, dressed up as efforts at "beautification." And when they wake up from that nightmare, the White House, to say nothing of the National Park Service, might not have what it takes to hold them back anyway.

"The ability of Americans to come together in vibrant and, at times, militant protest has been the basis for all progressive change in the United States," added Verheyden-Hilliard, "and that will never be obsolete."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Provo eyes adult toy accessibility at Spencer Gifts

Jeremy Duda - DAILY HERALD
A chain of racy novelty stores that was recently raided by Layton police may be facing similar legal problems in Provo.

Provo police spokesman Capt. Cliff Argyle said his department and the Provo city attorney are investigating complaints about the Spencer Gifts in Provo Towne Centre mall that could lead to misdemeanor charges.

On Feb. 12, police raided the Spencer Gifts at Layton Hills Mall and seized 15 boxes of items they said were sexually explicit. Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said his office is concerned about the availability of those items to minors.

There are no plans to raid Spencer Gifts's Provo location, Argyle said, but the city and county attorneys are looking into the possibility of filing charges against the store. Argyle said they are considering misdemeanor charges of indecent public displays, a misdemeanor. Davis County is investigating possible felony charges of dealing in material harmful to a minor.

"Our city attorney was looking at some of the items, the novelties and posters that they're distributing from the store," Argyle said. "The city attorney was going to look to see if there were any misdemeanors that might be committed there. But as far as a search warrant or any kind of raid, we're not planning any of that."

Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman and Provo City Attorney Robert West could not be reached for comment.

While officials in Provo are contemplating legal action, Spencer Gifts is working on a deal that would avoid formal charges in Layton. Rawlings said he has met with attorneys from the New Jersey-based chain, which has outlined a series of steps it is willing to take that would put the Layton store in compliance with Utah law and keep the Davis County Attorney's Office from filing charges.

Rawlings said the company is willing to make significant changes that would prevent minors from viewing sexually explicit items, such as repackaging some of its merchandise. He said a Spencer Gifts attorney e-mailed him on Friday to say that the company has already talked to its construction firm in Utah about taking steps to shield some merchandise from minors.

"It looks like Spencer's is serious about complying with Utah law, and if they are, then basically we've accomplished our objective. There's a victory on behalf of minors without having to actually file criminal charges," Rawlings said.

Heather Golin, a spokeswoman for Spencer Gifts, said the company is hopeful that a resolution will be reached in the near future, but would not say what that resolution might entail.

"I can't comment on that until we get the details all ironed out," she said.

Rawlings would not say what items prompted the raid because formal charges are still a possibility. Merchandise at the Spencer Gifts at Provo Towne Centre includes sex toys that resemble male genitals, candy underwear and a variation of fuzzy dice shaped like breasts.

Golin said she didn't know if every Spencer Gifts location carries the same inventory.

"Typically there's a decent amount of merchandise that we carry at all stores," she said.

Spencer Gifts also has locations at the Newgate Mall in Ogden and the Fashion Place Mall in Murray. A spokesman at the Ogden police department said he was not aware of any plans to file any charges against the store. A Murray police spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The fine line between ethics, free speech

The fine line between ethics, free speech

Email this story to a friend

Dear Jim, I have some relatives living in Savannah. They have been telling me about the Port Wentworth sugar refinery fire and how devastating it has been for the local community. They have also told me that lawyers, even from out- of-state, are advertising about suing. Why can’t a community mourn without having attorneys acting like this?

Dear Readers, Attorneys struggle mightily with this very issue. What does the profession collectively do to stop such callousness? What do we, as individual attorneys, do in structuring our marketing practices?

Your observation shines a light on the nebulous zone between ethics and constitutionally-protected free speech. In past columns, I have discussed free speech issues, observing how this right is integral to our success as a country.

We are currently in the midst of a presidential election where the nexus between controlling how money affects our government and speech can be at odds with each other. Many are very unhappy with attempts to control how money is raised and spent in Federal elections, and sneer of the so-called “McCain-Feingold” bill to control the flow of money in presidential elections. Frankly, most of these attempts have failed to accomplish much of anything because the United States Supreme Court, since considering post-Watergate finance campaign laws, has pretty consistently equated money with speech and made it difficult to regulate the financing of political campaigns and advertising.

This is the same problem we in the legal profession face, e.g., money is speech. For example, the State of Florida Bar Association has adopted professional rules requiring all television advertisements to be screened by the State Bar. That rule is now being challenged in Court and I predict it will be struck down as unconstitutional censoring of free speech.

Similarly, judicial raises, which should be about the law and judicial temperament, are no longer quite so “high-minded.” Judicial ethical rules circumscribing what candidates can say in elections have been obliterated by the right to free speech.

Still, there are a fairly complicated web of rules governing how attorneys may advertise. The overriding principal is that the public is entitled to be informed of its legal rights through advertisements. However, lawyers may not “make any false, fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services.” Also, any direct mailing to a prospective client, such as a direct mail campaign, must clearly label the media as “advertisement.”

Finally, lawyers are prohibited from directly contacting victims of an accident or natural disaster for thirty (30) days. This last rule is designed to protect individual solicitation, but it does not encompass television or radio appeals. Thus, if I am driving by a car wreck, I am prohibited from stopping and handing out my business card. Sadly, there are many unscrupulous lawyers who have surrogates doing this for them.

As a lawyer, I recognize that marketing is as important to me as it is to the local restaurant or retail outlet. News of my reputation (good or bad) only reaches so many people. Yet, I have had many clients who originally hired“TV attorneys” and found them lacking. Unfortunately, I really don’t have any easy response to your observation. There are tasteless ads and then there are lawyers who use various media, like TV, to reach a wider audience. All I can do is apologize for the base activities of my brethren in Port Wentworth who failed to recognize the line they clearly crossed.

Local attorney Jim Rockefeller owns the Rockefeller Law Center and is a former Houston County Chief Assistant District Attorney, and a former Miami Prosecutor. E-mail confidential legal questions to Visit for Frequently Asked Questions and Jim’s blog, The Rockefeller Report.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Judge: Love Shack lacks required license

Judge: Love Shack lacks required license
Close or comply, adult-themed store is told

By Doug Nurse
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 02/24/08

A Fulton County Superior Court judge last week handed the city of Johns Creek a significant legal victory over the Love Shack, an adult-themed store.

In his ruling from the bench, Judge Ural Glanville said the Love Shack doesn't have a required 2007 business license and must close if it does not comply with city ordinances.

The closure order doesn't take effect until the judge signs a written order, which could come as soon as Monday.

"We're happy with the judge's order because it vindicates that this business is operating illegally since the city's inception [Dec. 1, 2006] and brings us one step closer to either it operates in compliance under our laws or it closes its doors," said Mayor Mike Bodker.

In March, the city denied a regular business application sought by the adult-video chain owner, John Cornetta, but the store has continued operating anyway.

Johns Creek officials wanted a court order to shut the controversial store or make Cornetta comply with city ordinances.

Lawyers from both camps cautioned against drawing conclusions until the judge signs a written order, because the order could include important nuances.

Cornetta said he is in compliance with the city ordinance and will apply for a business license for the current year

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Shut down the love shack store!

Shut down the love shack store!
it is perverted
February 23, 2008 | 09:21 AM

It is time to shut down the Love shack in Johns Creek. That kind of filth is not needed in north Fulton. People should not be buying or using the bizarre perverted "devices" these people sell. This is a Christian community and we must stop this kind of perversion from infecting our youth. With the community's help we can turn back the tide of this kind of sexual immorality and reclaim America for our Lord and savior.

Donald F.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Parents beware, the Love Shack may be closing!

For those of you outside the Atlanta area, the Love Shack is a store that sells adult items, you know kind of like an adult Home Depot with all those crazy things that adults buy. When the owner opened a store in John’s Creek, Georgia, just north of Atlanta, all hell broke loose! All those Christian wanna be’s, day care centers, politicians & jealous fat women complained about it. I’ve never been in one of these stores, so I don’t know what all the excitement is about? It’s quite funny that for years there was a Mexican restaurant on Hwy 141, near Johns Creek that was known for being an adult meat market and they weren’t serving or selling Filet Migon!!.And minors were roaming all over the place as mommy checked out her next boyfriend. But since this is an adult themed store, it can’t stay. I say let it stay! Why? Because, where are all those preachers, politicians, priests and fat women going to go to get their kicks? You better look out parents if your child is participating in sports or other related activities, do background checks on those adults that are always around? You just never know….

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Love Shack Owner Undaunted by Court Order

'This doesn't affect us,' says John Cornetta
By Peter Warren

Posted: 4:54 PM PST Feb 22, 2008

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. - Love Shack owner John Cornetta was ordered by a Fulton County Superior Court judge Thursday to comply with city ordinances or face closure as soon as Monday, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Judge Ural Glanville said Cornetta has been operating the store without a required 2007 business license, which he was denied last March. Cornetta however maintained that he is in compliance with the city's requirements for the license, and plans to re-apply for 2008.

"In the big scheme of things, it's not an important victory for the other side," Cornetta told AVN. "It's dealing with a 2007 business license - the last time I checked, this is 2008. Johns Creek is claiming a little bit of a victory, but in actuality ... this doesn't affect us. It really doesn't. We're used to [decisions] going against us, and we're still here and we're still open. And we'll be open tomorrow, and we'll be open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and so on."

That remains to be seen, though. The store cannot be closed until the judge signs a written order, but that could happen Monday.

Mayor Mike Bodker said, "We're happy with the judge's order because it vindicates that this business is operating illegally since the city's inception [Dec. 1, 2006] and brings us one step closer [...] either it operates in compliance under our laws or it closes its doors."

For a regular business license in Johns Creek, a store must have no more than 25 percent of its floor space dedicated to adult products, or the same amount of its revenue derived from them. Also, restricting admission to patrons aged 18 or older could classify an establishment as an adult business.

Cornetta said the Love Shack's inventory meets the criteria for a regular business license, and that minors are allowed on the premises if accompanied by an adult or guardian.

"We'll appeal the order for sure," Cornetta said, "but not because there's anything we can do by winning an appeal. If we win an appeal, what do we win? The only thing it does is it helps us not to create bad law, and I'm one of the operators in the U.S. that will not allow bad law to be created. I'll appeal things even when there's no real upside of doing it, other than not having bad law created.

"This judge erred, in my opinion," he went on. "He erred in a lot of people's opinion - Cary Wiggins, Louis Sirkin, Steve Youngleson, attorneys that are friends of mine that work with me. All of us met today, and beyond a shadow of a doubt, the judge - a very good judge, intelligent judge - he erred in that there is an affirmative defense, at least one affirmative defense, to the question that was brought forward, and in Georgia that's enough where the judge cannot rule on issues that have to do with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or the Georgia Constitution, and he did.

"But he said from the bench, 'It's not a padlock order; you simply have to comply and get a 2008 business license,' and we are complying," Cornetta concluded. "So we'll just apply for 2008 and appeal his decision at the same time. Small potato stuff."

Love Shack Loses Latest Round Against Johns Creek

Odette Yousef

ATLANTA, GA (2008-02-22) The latest round in an ongoing dispute between an adult-novelty store and Johns Creek seems to have been settled in the city's favor.

Johns Creek declined to grant a business license to The Love Shack several months ago, saying it had too much adult-oriented material to operate in a commercial zone. But the store continued to operate.

Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker says that forced the city to appeal to Fulton County's Superior Court:

BODKER: We don't have a choice in the matter. We have a law, it's been broken, and we are duty-sworn to uphold it.

But Attorney Cary Wiggins, who represents the Love Shack's owner, says that city ordinances don't forbid businesses from operating without licenses, and moreover:

WIGGINS: Cities aren't supposed to use their business license ordinance as a mechanism to shut down businesses.

Wiggins also says that the store has changed its inventory, so that it no longer qualifies as sexually explicit.

He'll wait to see the judge's written ruling, expected next week, before deciding whether to appeal.

© Copyright 2008, WABE

Love Shack May Be Forced To Close

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- The Love Shack, the controversial adult business in Johns Creek, may be forced to close.

A Fulton County Superior Court judge has decided that the store cannot operate at its current location, because it does not have a 2007 business license, which is required by law.

The store would not be forced to close until the judge signs a written order, which could come as soon as Monday.

In March, Johns Creek officials denied Love Shack owner John Cornetta a business permit. Cornetta kept the store open despite the rejection.

City officials then sued Cornetta.

Cornetta has said he is obeying the law, and will apply for a 2008 business license.

Cornetta said Friday he will appeal the judge’s decision.

Judge Rules Against The Love Shack

(WSB Radio) The latest round in the fight between Johns Creek and the Love Shack goes to the city.
A Fulton County Superior Court judge has ruled that the adult store does not have a 2007 business license, as required by law, and must close if it does not comply with city code.

The closure will not go into effect until Judge Ural Glanville signs a written order. That could come as soon as Monday.

In March, Johns Creek denied a regular business application which was being sought by John Cornetta, owner of the Love Shack chain. Despite the rejection, Cornetta kept his Johns Creek store in operation.

City officials went to court, looking to shut the adult-themed store down unless Cornetta came into compliance with city ordinances.

Cornetta says he is complying with city code, and will apply for a business license for 2008.

Without that license, Judge Glanville says, Cornetta cannot continue to operate the Love Shack at its current location.

To obtain a regular business license, the contents of the store cannot exceed certain standards. If the inventory does, then Cornetta would need to apply for a sexually oriented business license. However, the store's location isn't zoned for that.

Cornetta says he's not concerned. He claims the inventory at the Johns Creek location falls below what would be deemed as sexually oriented.

Cornetta says he also plans on appealing Judge Glanville's ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Free Speech Speak: Ordinance would regulate policies for new adult stores

Free Speech Speak: Ordinance would regulate policies for new adult stores

Free Speech Speak: Free Speech And Ernst Zundels

Free Speech Speak: Free Speech And Ernst Zundels

User Generated Content Sites: 2

User Generated Content Sites: 2
In part one, we looked at 2257, obscenity and child pornography concerns surrounding user generated content. In this conclusion, we'll examine copyright and trademark implications, as well as how such websites can structure their terms and conditions to mitigate their legal concerns.

Judge says Love Shack operating illegally

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 02/21/08

A Fulton County Superior Court judge on Thursday handed the city of Johns Creek a significant legal victory over the Love Shack, an adult-themed store.

In his ruling from the bench, Judge Ural Glanville said the Love Shack doesn't have a required 2007 business license and must close if it does not comply with city ordinances.

The closure order doesn't take effect until the judge signs a written order, which could come as soon as Monday.

"We're happy with the judge's order because it vindicates that this business is operating illegally since the city's inception [Dec. 1, 2006] and brings us one step closer to either it operates in compliance under our laws or it closes its doors," said Mayor Mike Bodker.

In March, the city denied a regular business application sought by the adult-video chain owner, John Cornetta, but the store has continued operating anyway. Johns Creek officials wanted a court order to shut the controversial store or make Cornetta comply with city ordinances.

Lawyers from both camps cautioned against drawing conclusions until the judge signs a written order, because the order could include important nuances.

Cornetta said he is in compliance with the city ordinance and will apply for a business license for the current year.

In his verbal order, Glanville said Cornetta cannot operate the Love Shack at its current location at Jones and State Bridge roads without a business license.

However, to obtain a regular business license, the store's inventory cannot exceed certain standards. If it does, Cornetta would have to apply for a sexually oriented business license, but the store's location isn't zoned for that.

Under city ordinances, a store is an adult business if it meets one of a number of criteria, including:

• 25 percent or more of its floor space is dedicated to adult products.

• 25 percent of the wholesale or retail value of the inventory is adult-oriented.

• 25 percent of the establishment's revenue is derived from sale of adult material.

• Patrons must be 18 years old or older.

Cornetta said the Love Shack's inventory is below those standards, and that it's store policy at that location to allow minors inside if they are accompanied by an adult or a guardian.

Cornetta's attorney, Cary Wiggins, said the judge's statements indicated the store could be closed for even minor infractions – such as grass that's too tall – which he said was too severe and too broadly worded. Plus, Wiggins said, Glanville didn't take the First Amendment into consideration.

Cornetta said he will appeal Glanville's order to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Love Shack

It is time to stop the silly harrassment
February 21, 2008 | 04:30 PM

I want to know when John Creek is going to finally give up trying to harrass the Love Shack and leave people alone. It is a shame and an embarrassment that the city continues to try and keep people from patronizing a shop that people clearly want to shop at. Our tax dollars should not be going to advance the deranged views of a bunch of prude hypocrites. I saw the wife of one of the city officials who is fighting against the Love Shack inside the store recently, buying stuff just like everyone else. It's time to end this insanity folks.


Johns Creek Mayor Criticised After Radio Interview

Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker Discounts Efforts of Volunteer Firefighters and Says Johns Creek Residents Care About Other Topics More Than A Fire Department

In Radio Interview With The Regular Guys of Rock 100.5

In a radio interview with The Regular Guys of Atlanta’s Rock 100.5, Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker said a Fire Department is not a real one if it’s staffed with volunteers, ridiculed the Fulton County Government once again and said the Johns Creek residents don’t really care about having its own fire department.

The interview took place on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008 as a radio debate between Mayor Bodker and The Regular Guys.

To listen to Mayor Bodker’s full interview with The Regular Guys visit or

Mayor Bodker insulted the nearly 800,000 volunteer firefighters in the United States when he said, “For many years you didn’t have a real fire department yourself.”

Mayor Bodker was referring to the city of Roswell because they used volunteers in the past. Volunteer firefighters account for nearly 73% of firefighters in the United States. Of the total estimated 1,064,150 firefighters across the country, 777,350 are volunteers.

In fact, the majority of fire departments in the United States are volunteers. Of the total 26,354 fire departments in the country, more than 23,000 of them are either mostly volunteer or all volunteer.

“Perhaps Mayor Bodker needs a history lesson as much as he needs assistance in governing Johns Creek,” said Love Shack owner John Cornetta. “I know his name is a relatively unknown one in the history of the United States, but some guy that helped draft the Declaration of Independence and invented bifocals also established the first volunteer fire department in 1736. His name is Benjamin Franklin.”

Later in the interview, when The Regular Guys said, “I don’t think you can call it (Johns Creek) a city if you don’t have your own fire department “, Mayor Bodker replied with “Why don’t we measure a couple of other things that people might actually care about.”

The questions must be asked of the citizens of Johns Creek, “Does your mayor really care about public safety? And do you care about having your own fire and police department?”

In an article written by Doug Nurse in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on May 14, 2007, Nurse said the average response time for firefighters citywide is about 6 minutes, but it can take 11 minutes for county emergency workers to reach some parts of Johns Creek.

That’s nearly three times what the National Fire Protection Association recommends.

“Mayor Bodker has wasted more than $150,000 of the Johns Creek residents’ tax dollars to try to shut down the Love Shack in Johns Creek,” said Love Shack owner John Cornetta. “Despite the city of Johns Creek being in operation for more than a year now, the city still does not have its own fire or police department. Now Mayor Bodker has the audacity to appear on Atlanta radio and tell thousands of Atlanta’s volunteer firefighters that they don’t count as real firefighters!

“This man continues to prove that he is unfit and incompetent to complete his duties as Mayor of Johns Creek. He is a Mayor with no prior government experience and he ran unopposed in his quest to become Mayor of Johns Creek. Unfortunately for the thousands of Johns Creek residents, which includes myself, he has three more years in office.”

Mayor Bodker also continued his personal vendetta against Fulton County Government when he said on air, “I could say positive things about the (Fulton County) School System, I’m not going to say such positive things about Fulton County Government.”

But in the same interview he said, “We have hired Fulton County (firefighters). We utilize the fine young men and women of Fulton County to deliver those services today.”

This is the same Fulton County whom Mayor Bodker continually puts down and recently said in a press release posted on the Johns Creek website “Once again, a majority of Fulton County commissioners chose to throw their citizens to the wolves and abdicate their responsibility to preserve the community’s quality of life by failing to deal with their past mistakes,” Mayor Bodker said. “We keep paying and paying tax dollars to Fulton County leaders with the expectation that they will protect our citizens and our quality of life.”

This press release can be found in its entirety at .

Which is it Mayor Bodker? Is Fulton County Government good enough for you to rely on to supply emergency fire and police efforts to the citizens of Johns Creek or is the Fulton County Government failing to protect the Johns Creek citizens and preserve its quality of life?

Meanwhile, the Cornetta Charitable Foundation, the non-profit charity started by Cornetta, still has more than $4,000 money earmarked for the city of Johns Creek to build a fire department. This money has still not been accepted by the city of Johns Creek.

The Cornetta Charitable Foundation has already donated almost $4,000 to two families that saw a loved one perish in a Johns Creek fire on May 28, 2007.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Free Speech And Ernst Zundels

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I've stayed out of this Richard Warman, Human Rights Commission, free speech argument for a while. In a very basic sense, I support unlimited free speech. That is to say, I support the freedom of each individual to write and to say anything they actually believe in, whether it be controversial in nature, or even dishonest in actual evidence. For instance, I support the freedom of speech for the faithful to claim that God created the world 5,000 years ago, against all the massive scientific evidence to the contrary. That's their freedom of choice on how they interpret the world around them. Of course, it does involve ignoring a body of evidence the weight of billions of fossilized bones refuting that idea, but nobody said anybody was compelled to believe in "facts". I'll even allow God may have created the Earth and the Heavens and the Universe. But it wasn't 5,000 years ago.

The problem, however, which arises from the free flow of free speech is that there are those who, against all contradictory evidence, will claim to be pursuing an intellectually honest search for "the truth". Wow. The Truth. Sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it? As this commenter at Small Dead Animals points out, isn't the truth more important than striking down "false news"?

First off, this has nothing to do with Warren Kinsella who also linked to this item. Those of you who have a problem with Warren Kinsella, take it to Mr.Kinsella. For me, the problem with "Loki" is that she is a very unwelcome voice on a conservative site which is a supporter of the conservative party. Not only do Loki and Kathy Shaidle not speak for me, but I imagine they don't speak for the Conservative party either. And I imagine few from the Conservative party would touch either of them with a ten foot pole if they said that Ernst Zundel had a legitimate right to pursue the "truth" of asking whether "Did 6 million really die?"

Second, yes they did die, Loki. In fact, the historical and forensic evidence of the holocaust is perhaps the single most documented and fact-checked mass murder in the history of humankind. The idea that a mentally unstable and intellectual liar from Germany has exposed any new insights into the holocaust is brazenly deceitful. Not only has Mr.Zundel been rebuked from every single reputable historian on the face of the planet, every single holocaust survivor living, and those who gave testimony before they were deceased, but the evidence from the Nazis themselves is overwhelmingly compelling. For those who are intensely masochistic, there is an entire website devoted to taking the Ernst Zundel argument and crushing it into a fine dust of incoherence. Of course, some form of tolerance for "reading" may be essential for "denial sympathizers" like Loki:

I spent a bit of time on Zundelsite a while back and on Ken McVay's Nizkor site and I just couldn't get excited about the minutae of interpreting WWII documents. For a historian this might be interesting, but I'm far more interested in science.

In short, Kathy Shaidle and Loki, the reason the Conservative party hasn't become involved in these latest little Human Rights Commission debacles, is that they tend to invite comment from intellectual dwarfs who think that Ernst Zundel has "nothing offensive" on his site. Loki, you are a pathological and dangerous liar if you think that either Mr.Zundel has anything worthwhile to say, or that there hasn't been a massive amount of outrage about the denial of the Armenian genocide either. As I wrote in Kate's comments section, here's google, get aquainted with it. Loki, you embarrass Conservatives by your association. Free speech is an integral part of a democratic society, but it's equally important to exercise the strong censuring of those who espouse historically dishonest propaganda.

I'm embarrassed by garbage of this sort, and I don't want to be associated with those who abide it. I support the Conservative party, not a bunch of borderline racists with an agenda against Muslims and a thinly veiled excuse of free speech to abuse it.

County Fair: First Amendment Victorious

By FCW Editorial
Freedom of speech won out last week after the Greenwich Library canceled, and then let proceed, a presentation on (what else) the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Alison Weir, founder of the Portland, Oregon?based group If Americans Knew, was invited by Greenwich's John McGillian to speak in a library conference room. According to, the group's "objective is to provide information that is to a large degree missing from American press coverage of this critical region." (Its general thrust is critical of American complicity in the conflict.) Weir's presentation, scheduled for Feb. 14 and 16, was about her experiences in the region and what she calls the "true" history of the conflict. But on Feb. 9 McGillian called Weir to say that the presentation was a no-go. After the organization placed promotional ads in area newspapers, residents contacted the library and demanded that it be canceled. "John said he received a call from Mary Cuff [acting public information officer with the library] and she conveyed the message to him that they were canceling the event," Weir said. "This is very distressing," she told the Weekly before the event was re-instated. "You don't expect the library to break the law."

Cuff said the library board canceled the event was due to "several calls or emails about the program," claiming it was "too controversial."

Of course, the decision to let Weir speak only helped her cause. She was scheduled to speak in a small conference room, but after the ordeal grabbed the attention of a few national media outlets, it was moved to the 368-seat auditorium. Shine that light!

State sex toy ban may fall under federal court decision

JACKSON – Mississippi’s 25-year-old law barring the sale of certain devices designed for sexual stimulation could be unenforceable under a new ruling in a Texas case, according to the attorney general’s office.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Texas law making it illegal to sell or promote obscene devices, punishable by up to two years in jail, violated the Constitution’s 14th Amendment on the right to privacy.


The Mississippi law is similar.

“It’s still on the books, but the 5th Circuit ruling will make any defense of the law problematic,” said Assistant Attorney General Harold Pizzetta said Tuesday. “It will put our statute in jeopardy.”

Pizzetta said anyone cited under the state law will point to the court decision.
Harry V. Rosenthal of Pearl, the license holder for Secrets adult bookstore in south Jackson, said he considers the Mississippi law negated after the ruling in the Texas case.

Rosenthal was charged last year by Jackson police with possessing sex toys for purchase or resale at the store. The charge was remanded to file, meaning officials are not pursuing prosecution of the case, which has not been dismissed.

“If they charge us now, they can’t take us to court,” Rosenthal said.

Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Virginia are the only states with obscene-devices statutes.

In 2004, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law and ruled the advertising of the sexual devices is not protected by the right to free speech. Such advertisements, the court said, promote an illegal transaction.

Adam and Eve and ZJ Gifts LLC, the Memphis-based owner of the Christal’s chain of adult stores, sued the state of Mississippi in 2000. The company, which closed an adult store in Southaven in 2001, claimed the law barring the sale of certain adult devices was unconstitutional.

A Hinds County judge ruled in 2003 that state law does not extend the right to privacy to the commercial sale of sexual devices.

The Mississippi high court said there is no fundamental right of access to buy sexual devices.

In the Texas case, Dreamers and Le Rouge Boutique operates four retail stores that carry a stock of sexual devices for off-premises, private use. The owners of the company challenged the constitutionality of Texas statute.

The 5th Circuit, in a ruling last week, said the issue was whether Texas law places a burden on an individual’s due process right to engage in private intimate conduct of his or her choosing. The court said the answer to the question was yes.

A challenge to Alabama’s law is pending in the 11th Circuit.

Virginia’s law barring obscene items is a bit different from other state laws and does not seem to apply to sex toy sales, said Phil Harvey, president of Adam & Eve Inc.

Louisiana, Kansas and Colorado had laws barring obscene devices, but courts have since struck them down, the 5th Circuit judges wrote in their ruling. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Georgia law banning the advertising of sex toys, which can be sold under some approved circumstances.

“An individual who wants to legally use a safe sexual device during private intimate moments alone or with another is unable to legally purchase a device in Texas, which heavily burdens a constitutional right,” the 5th Circuit said in the Texas case.

“Whatever one might think or believe about the use of these devices, government interference with their personal and private use violates the Constitution.”

• The Clarion-Ledger contributed to this report

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Decriminalize Private Adult Sexwork Coalition

This Coalition Cyber Center is only about changing the laws

While most all Western and many other countries have more reasonable laws regarding sexual pleasure, in the U.S. we are faced with moralists imposing their values on other people. If they can't reach us by knocking on our doors and preaching, then they will instead enact laws to prevent us from doing what they secretly wish they could. We oppose laws that violate our freedom as consenting adults to in private share intimacy and pleasure.

It is long overdue for private consenting adult prostitution to be decriminalized in the U.S. There are millions of sexworkers in the U.S. who enjoy their profession and the largest risk is not bad clients, not STD's since most insist on safe sex, but the law enforcement stings wasting resources on morality crimes with no victims.

Prostitution fills a vital role in our society by addressing the sexual and emotional needs of men and women, and by providing high paying employment options to women and men who wish to provide sexual services.

People in a free society have the right to work in their chosen profession, and to do with their own bodies as they so choose. Likewise, all citizens have the right to engage in consensual adult sexual contact.

Criminalization of private adult prostitution is wrong. Almost all the rest of the world realizes this, and the U.S. is one of the few countries were private sexwork is illegal.

Free Speech and Olympic Protests

Philip Hersch has an excellent article in the Chicago Tribune, aptly entitled Rules on Olympians' Criticism of Chinese Policy Confuse, that discusses the dilemma posed by speech restrictions at this year's Olympic games in China. Rule 15 (3) of the Olympic Charter says that "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues, or other areas." But officials in Britain, Belgium and New Zealand have all considered restricting the types of speech athletes can engage in outside of official Olympic venues. Human rights advocates had hoped the games would be an opportunity to draw attention to China's troubling record on human rights, and find such restrictions particularly troubling this year since the IOC selected Beijing as the host city in hopes of encouraging positive change in China.

-Kathleen A. Bergin

Sex Toys Now OK in Texas

In the spirit of Valentines day the 5th district court sex toys get the OK in Texas.

An appeals court has overturned a Texas statute outlawing sex toy sales.

The ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans leaves Alabama as the state with the strictest ban on such devices.

Tuesday's ruling says the Texas law making it illegal to sell or promote obscene devices -- violates the 14th Amendment on the right to privacy.

Companies that own Dreamer's and Le Rouge Boutique, which sell the devices in Austin, and retailer Adam & Eve, sued in in 2004 in Austin.

They appealed after a judge dismissed the suit.

The Texas Attorney General's Office, which represented the Travis County district attorney, has not decided whether to appeal.

In 2004, a woman in Burleson was arrested for selling two sex toys to undercover officers.

Passion Parties consultant Joanne Webb was charged with violating the state's obscenity law. A judge later dismissed her case.
One has to wonder why the state of Texas has these laws and what kind of idiot decides to enforce and fight for these things. These laws are stupid and states shouldn't have any business making or enforcing these types of laws. Alabama had their similar laws supported by the 5th district court last year. What is confusing to me is that the Texan law was overturned because it conflicts with the 14th amendment on the right to privacy.

Amendment 14 - Citizenship Rights
1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Now, I'm no constitutional lawyer but I don't see any right to privacy enumerated above. I suppose this is the same right to privacy that was declared in Roe vs Wade. Does the 11th and the 5th District court follow the same constitution that I do?

Ordinance would regulate policies for new adult stores

Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 19, 2008, 3:02:43am

Caitlin McGlade / For The Post /
Sarah Hensley / For The Post /
City codes might restrict the operations of sexually-oriented businesses in Athens if City Council passes an ordinance introduced at last night’s meeting.

The proposed ordinance and the zoning resolution recommended to the Athens Planning Commission last week would work together to regulate sexually-oriented businesses that might open in Athens, said Councilwoman Debbie Phillips D-4th Ward.

“These are some tools in our tool box to balance the different rights of people in our community in an attempt to reduce any potential negative impact,” Phillips said.

These proposed code changes would not affect the strip club that might open on Stimson Avenue because Chris Stotts submitted an application prior to the ordinance’s effective date, said Councilman Jim Sands, D-at large.

The ordinance would classify sexually-oriented businesses as adult arcades, adult bookstores or video stores, semi-nude model studios and adult theaters. These businesses are frequently used for unlawful sexual activities and raise concerns about sexually transmitted diseases, according to the ordinance.

If the ordinance is passed, future business employees and operators must keep the facility free of sexual activity, establish a management station with an unobstructed view of public areas, build with non-porous surface materials for sanitation and use bright lighting, among other requirements.

“We’re not trying to restrict anybody’s First Amendment rights — we just want to make sure there are some regulations in place and that we are able to also protect the public safety and the community interests…” said Phillips.

Councilman Elahu Gosney, D-at large said that this ordinance will help protect the property value in the area.

“There needs to be control over where businesses are and encourage more businesses Uptown that will benefit the city in the long term,” Gosney said.

This ordinance is modeled after a Wooster ordinance that has been in effect and has stood up in court, Phillips said. It is beneficial to use something that has been working for a while instead of starting from scratch, she said.

The ordinance must go through two more readings at Council meetings and Phillips said she did not know what date City Council would vote on it.

Mayor Paul Wiehl said that he hopes to approve the zoning resolution for sexually-oriented businesses on Thursday.

Free Speech For Some, But Not For All

Elizabeth Wright - 2/19/2008

Is freedom of speech a moot issue at this point in American history? Are those who persist in fighting to uphold the principles of the First Amendment fighting an already lost battle? From several recent polls of American citizens, it would seem that most people are more concerned about avoiding social discord than with preserving individual rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

It appears that the average American accepts the notion that if John's resolute opinions make his neighbor George unhappy--or, in today's politically correct jargon, "uncomfortable"--then John should be restrained from expressing those opinions. The once sacred adage that went something like, "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it," today is virtually unknown, and has given way to "Don't make waves."

The unquestioned right to disagree with majority opinion is no longer respected or considered an essential feature of the American social contract. Instead, there is a growing acceptance of or indifference to the use of smear tactics against citizens, whose expressed views deviate from the popular norm. Hurling the epithet "hater," with the intent to destroy the targeted
person's reputation, has become common practice.

Note the example of Matt Hale, a most unpopular figure. In 1998, he graduated from the law school of Southern Illinois University, and went on to pass the bar exam. Because what was considered Hale's notorious reputation
preceded him, the Illinois State Bar denied him a license, a decision that two Hearing Panels upheld, thus preventing him from practicing law.

Matt Hale is head of the World Church of the Creator, an organization whose religious tenets include teaching whites to regard their own race above others. Creator members believe that the colored races are inferior and should be shunned by whites. (Not exactly acceptable creeds in multicultural, integrationist Western society.)

After being declared "unfit" to practice law by the State Bar, Hale petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court to review his case. As might be expected in today's social climate, the Illinois Supreme Court refused to review his case. However, one dissenting Judge, James Heiple, questioned the wisdom of rejecting such a case. He wrote, "The crux of the Committee's decision to deny petitioner's application to practice law is petitioner's open advocacy of racially obnoxious beliefs. . . . The Committee seems to hold that they may deny petitioner's application for admission to the Bar without finding
if petitioner has engaged in any specific conduct that would have violated the disciplinary rules if petitioner were already a lawyer. . . . Is there one standard for admission to practice and a different standard for continuing to practice? And if the standard is the same, can already licensed lawyers be disbarred for obnoxious speech?"

No print journalists or commentators in the mainstream media spoke up for Matt Hale's free speech rights. One of the few voices of support came from a University of Nebraska student journalist, Jeremy Patrick, who, in his article, "Bar Association Oversteps First Amendment Rights," wrote:

Consider the case of Matthew Hale, an avowed racist who took the Illinois Bar Exam. Hale passed the exam, including the portion on ethics, but was refused a law license because of his political and religious views. The Bar is afraid Hale won't be able to treat black clients fairly. If, as the U.S.
Supreme Court asserts, freedom of expression is the "fixed star" of the constitutional "constellation," then the law should only prohibit
actions and not words.

There is no evidence that Hale has ever acted in a discriminatory manner toward blacks, nor has he ever threatened to treat black clients unfairly. This failure to separate mere words from actions creates a dangerous precedent. If a Southern Baptist applies for a law license, should he be denied because he might not treat women or gays fairly?

I've probably said all kinds of things about Christians. Should I be denied because I might not treat them fairly? Simply put, lawyers don't need to like their clients to do a good job. When lawyers defend rapists, embezzlers and murderers, do you think they like their clients? Probably not, but they're still ethically bound to do their best.

Hale's views are despicable and wrong. But the point is that no one, not
even Bar Associations in all of their monopolistic splendor, should have the power to decide what kind of speech is allowable. Does your copy of the Constitution say that there shall be no law abridging freedom of speech "unless the speech is insensitive?" Mine doesn't.

Daunted but not yet undone by the cards stacked against him, Matt Hale next petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review of his case.

In the interim between the State Bar's rejection of his license and the denial of his petition by the Illinois Supreme Court, a tragic incident took place. A deranged member of the Church of the Creator--apparently angered over the court's treatment of Hale's case and embittered over his own arrest for distributing the Church's white nationalist literature--went on a shooting
spree, killing two men and injuring others.

Months later, the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, refused to review Hale's case. This effectively put an end to any future possibility of him ever attaining a law license in the state of Illinois. The media outlets that
bothered to cover this case at all took the expected editorial positions against Hale, celebrating the fact that a "racist" had been thwarted in his attempts to become a legal voice and defender for a despised white minority.

One of the few supporters of Hale's right to adhere to his views on race and practice law was talk show host Michael Medved, who interviewed Hale on his WKVI-AM program in Seattle. Here is some of what Medved had to say after learning of the Supreme Court's decision not to review Hale's case:

This is another day in the greatest nation on God's green earth, where the Supreme Court of the United States has been making news all day today and yesterday as well. Part of what the Supreme Court has decided in crucial cases involving abortion, the Boy Scouts and the right of the Scouts to determine who will and will not be a Scoutmaster--these are decisions that are going to impact everybody in the country.

But the Supreme Court also made a decision yesterday that will impact many of us ultimately, even though it's gotten almost no attention. To a lot of people the decision just seems reasonable. It basically was a decision not to decide. The story involved Matthew Hale. He is the leader of the World Church of the Creator. It is a racist group, proudly racist group. It is a group that is a white supremacist group. It is, as you might imagine, highly controversial.

Mr. Hale went to law school, he passed the Bar exam, and then the State Bar in Illinois where he lives said, No, you're a racist, you're not allowed to be a lawyer. He sued, the case went up to the Supreme Court, and the Court declined to hear his case.

Despite the fact that Mr. Hale and I probably have very little in common and he might view me as a natural enemy, I happen to believe that he's right on this case, that it's shameful to deny somebody the right to practice law based on his political ideas, no matter how hateful you may think they are.

State Bar officials officially noted that Matthew Hale from East Peoria, Illinois, "has dedicated his life to hatred," and said he cannot do
this as an officer of the court. Given the record of an awful lot of attorneys, it seems to me that the idea that someone cannot be a lawyer, and that we are now going to create a standard where the only crime for which you are going to be prevented from practicing law is for advocating racial ideas that are unacceptable seems bizarre.

If we accept the principle that somebody, because he's a racist, an extremist, a hater, and a Hitlerian and a Nazi, and all those things, can be denied basic rights, like the right to practice law when he's passed the Bar - if they can deny that to somebody like Mr. Hale, then they can go after Evangelical Christian groups in the future, or some Orthodox Jewish groups. They can say to these groups, You don't believe in equal rights for homosexuals, you don't believe in equal rights for blank, blank, blank.

Therefore, we're not going to allow you to practice law. We're not going to allow you to have any positions of responsibility. I really do believe that this is one of those issues where if we accept the politically correct
establishment saying that the Matthew Hales of this world have no rights, then who knows who's going to be next?

If nothing else, this case shows the hypocrisy of race relations in America. Hale is being denied his license to practice law because he believes whites are superior. Would the Illinois Bar do the same to a black supremacist? Probably not because there would be cries of "racism." Yet, there are no such cries for Hale because he's white. Also, Hale has publicly stated he will represent other white supremacists, so his oath to fairly represent his clients will only apply to them. There is a double standard when it comes to Hale's situation. If a member of a minority said he would help only the members of his minority, that person would be praised as someone who is "giving back to his community" and a "champion for his (or her) race." No such accolades are given to Hale because his minority isn't politically correct.