In August, Daniel Aaronson was asked to speak in Las Vegas at the Gentlemen’s Club Exposition. He was part of a panel that included five other First Amendment attorneys from across the country. The presentation by the panel was done in a point-counterpoint type of atmosphere, with the respective attorneys being asked to take one side of a position even if they did not believe in it.
The endeavor seemed to have some merit as points of view that normally are not discussed were put on the table and due to the skill of some of the participants were argued somewhat convincingly. But more important than the point-counterpoint was the question and answer period afterwards. From some of the questions that were asked, it appears that what Benjamin & Aaronson have been writing about and saying for years along with those other attorneys on the panel, it just doesn’t get through to everyone.
What we are talking about is the fact First Amendment and adult entertainment freedoms are hanging by a thread. That thread is simply who will get to appoint the next two Justices to the United States Supreme Court and what will be the makeup of that Senate when those two appointments are made. Because even if the President wants a Supreme Court Justice, that Justice still must be confirmed by a majority of the Senate.
As we speak, there are two Justices that being Justice Ginsberg and Justice Stephens who are and have been contemplating retirement for years. Reports are that they are waiting and holding out for either a Democratic President or for at lease a Democratic Senate so that the Court that they know and believe in will not turn into a rubber stamp for the Republican National Committee.
Why should you care? The answer is simple. Regardless of how liberal the Legislature or even the Executive Branch of either a city, county, state or federal government, those branches of government by and large are never fans and friends of adult entertainment and the First Amendment. Rather, it is the Courts that have always protected adult entertainment and First Amendment freedoms. As the Supreme Court becomes more and more Republican and more and more conservative, it is being stacked with judges who do not care about adult entertainment and First Amendment freedoms, but rather with corporate interests and executive power. Should George W. Bush without a Democratic controlled Senate be allowed to appoint the next two Justices, all that many of you have worked for for years, will be fleeting memories.
This is not just our opinion, but by and large the opinion of First Amendment lawyers. Many of you want to vote with your pocketbooks. You think the Republican party is in your best interest because they are for lowering taxes. If you truly think with your pocketbook then you must, at least on the national level, vote Democratic. That is not to say that the Democratic party is our friend. In fact, no political party is the friend of adult entertainment. Rather, a Democratic party if it controls the Senate and certainly if it controls the White House, are more likely to make sure that the next Justices on the Supreme Court believe in a woman’s right to choose, believe executive power has gotten out of hand, believe in a fair minimum wage, and certainly believe in civil and personal liberties. Justices that feel along these lines, even if they do not like adult entertainment, are much more likely to acknowledge its place in our society and the fact that it enjoys and is protected by the Constitution.
Many of you do not know what to believe anymore. You watch different news casts and hear different news. What you see on FOX is certainly not what you see on CBS. Therefore, articles like this one, are read, thought about, and then dismissed. However, what is being said in this article is true. If you enjoy First Amendment rights and adult entertainment, regardless of your normal political affiliation, when it comes to the Federal elections, be it the House, the Senate or the Presidency, it is time to vote with your pocketbooks and your conscious and to see that not all three branches of government are controlled by the Republican party.
On another note, and not First Amendment related, but certainly to dealing with freedoms, your President seems to want to take this country back a hundred years in relations with other countries and back a thousand years in its dealing with people. The President, is clamoring, regardless of the words he uses, for the right of our CIA and other investigative agencies to be able to torture. We were one of the most ardent proponents of the Geneva Convention. We realized as a country back decades ago, that we as a society gave prisoners and/or enemy better treatment than was given to our soldiers. We believed that the Geneva Convention would insure that our soldiers were treated as humanly as we decided to treat others.
Now we have a President who wants to abolish the Geneva Convention because it does not suit his needs. He hides behind 9/11 as if that is the end all, catch all phrase that should stir fear in Americans to the point where they are willing to give away their freedoms and to take away other’s basic human dignity.
No matter how bad times get, America must stand for one thing above all and that is fairness. Fairness of course does not mean torturing those that you hold captive. Most experts believe that torture does not even work but rather gets those who are being tortured to say what the interrogator wants. That leads to false and unreliable information. Regardless, even if it meant reliable information, have we as a society stepped so low that we can condone torture? Have we as a society then said it is OK for others to torture our soldiers? After all what is good for the goose is good for the candor.
Maybe the most telling part about the President’s desire and foaming at the mouth in order to be able to torture may have just come in early September when he was conducting a news conference. The reporter asked him in essence, how would he feel if American soldiers were captured by Iran and North Korea or countries of that ilk subjected to torture and then had those confessions used against them in a court in those countries without having the ability to confront their accuser and know what evidence was against them? Your President’s response was something to the affect of it would be a better world.
What he meant by that no one will ever know. But regardless of what he meant by that idiotic answer, what is evidently clear is he does not realize the ramifications of his actions as they apply to the American military. What is abundantly clear is that he does not see the big picture, but just the small picture. What is abundantly clear is that we have a dangerous man in the White House.