David Kirkpatrick

January 24, 2009

Nanny state in legislation — South Carolina

This’ll never go anywhere and is just political posturing, but it’s still sickening to think a public official would even want to make a point by attempting to gut the First Amendment.

From the link:

State Senator Robert Ford is hoping to outlaw lewd language and is pushing for a bill that would prohibit profanity.

Under the pre-filed bill, profanity could land you in jail for up to 5 years and/or cost you up to $5,000 in fines.

Which words are exactly considered profane is still unclear, but the bill does have a list of qualifications for profanity including words or actions that are lewd, vulgar or indecent in nature.

We spoke to Debra Gammons with the Charleston School of Law about freedom of speech.

She reminds that the First Amendment is not absolute. You cannot say whatever you want whenever you want to.

Courts will usually look at where the words were said and who heard them. Children are usually protected.

Er, Debra you might not want to take that argument to the Supreme Court. Fire in a theater, okay that’s a public safety issue. Salty language at the mall? Not so much. No threat to anyone other than the easily offended. Maybe not too couth, but definitely not criminal.

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