Friday, March 21, 2008

The Democratic race gets nastier as Clinton and Obama ratchet up their rhetoric against one another. Clinton keeps emphasizing Obama's resistance to having re-votes in Florida and Michigan; Obama's camp lashes out at Clinton as a "deeply flawed nominee."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) has launched a new website, Truth in Immigration, which aims to counter "anti-immigrant" sentiment. One post discussing Lou Dobbs on this new site focuses on types of speech that it says the First Amendment does not protect:
The First Amendment also does not protect speakers from liability for the foreseeable consequences of their speech. In cases where speakers encourage their audience to commit certain illegal or inherently dangerous acts, liability may rest with speakers and the forums that they use.

For example, in 1975, in Weirum v. RKO General, Inc. 539 P.2d 36, the Supreme Court of California held that a radio station was legally liable for holding a broadcast contest that inspired listeners to drive recklessly. Two listeners, in their pursuit of a radio station vehicle that held a reward, negligently forced a car off the road, killing the driver. The Supreme Court of California affirmed a jury’s verdict that the radio station was liable for negligence for the “foreseeable results of a broadcast which created an undue risk of harm . . . .” Weirum, 539 P.2d at 43-45.

When a statement that creates a foreseeable risk of harm is broadcasted, therefore, the First Amendment does not protect the speakers and broadcasters from the consequences of their speech. Speakers and broadcasters who incite violence against immigrants and/or Latinos, for example, may be legally required to make injured parties whole through financial or other means.
So could MALDEF be implying that it would attempt to sue Dobbs and others if an "anti-immigrant" crime is committed and charge him as in some ways encouraging this violence? This could also be a threat to the networks (MALDEF mentions later that no one has a First Amendment right to have a show on a network) that they could be in the lawsuit crosshairs as well.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Indiana employer-enforcement immigration bill failed last week. It could not clear conference committee in time for the deadline for legislation to be signed by the governor. Both branches of the Indiana legislature backed it with substantial support. Blame abounds:
Indiana's proposal died late Thursday when a House and Senate conference committee could not agree on provisions of the proposal -- which originally called for the Indiana State Police to enforce federal immigration law and would have made it a crime to conceal or harbor an illegal immigrant for profit.
A last-ditch attempt Friday to resurrect the legislation failed when Sen. Thomas K. Weatherwax, R-Logansport, and Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, refused to sign off on a proposed compromise.
But its advocates think the bill's fate was sealed by the House leadership, which did not appoint its conferees for more than a week, delaying action on the bill.
Others say Senate leadership can take some of the blame for appointing a chairman, Weatherwax, who was not a supporter.
Along with a news report in which McCain warns GOP candidates about their rhetoric about ("illegal") immigration, Mickey Kaus notes an interview McCain's given to Hannity in which he again does not explicitly say he would veto a McCain-Kennedy-style immigration bill if it came to his desk as president and places his faith in the border state governors to testify that the border is "secure" (presumably before some "comprehensive" reform can be initiated). Kaus thinks that McCain's using a "gimmick designed to let him shift to pushing for an illegal immigrant legalization bill shortly after he's actually elected."
McCain seems to be sharpening his tongue against GOP dissent from his position on immigration. In his warning to the candidates, he claims that Jim Oberweis in his (failed) effort to replace former Speaker Hastert embraced "
very strong anti-immigrant rhetoric." In his campaign website's discussion of border security, Oberweis says that "America is a land of, by, and for immigrants."