Wednesday, March 26, 2008

First Amendment? Wha' Dat?

It's another legislative triumph! In a delightfully bipartisan rape of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, not to mention Art. 1, Section 9 of the Indiana Constitution, the Indiana state government has passed a law requiring any bookstore that sells books in which there is any hint of any form of, well (nudge-nudge, wink-wink), you know to A) register with the Secretary of State and B) pay the state $250 American for the privilege.

...And the bill's sponsor (a Democrat -- gee, isn't that the party that talks most about "freedom of expression?") has expressed surprise at the negative reaction this bit of buffoonery has received from the public. In six pages of comments at the Indianapolis Star story linked above, not a one of them supports the law. Yet our (Republican) Governor did not express the least doubt when signing the bill into law. (Darn it, Mitch, I was almost liking you!)

As it stands, the law is almost certainly going to get the judicial axe for being unenforceably vague; but it'll take someone with deeper pockets than your neighborhood bookseller to challenge it. The language of the law is such that anything steamier than a chaste kiss could put a book into the "adult" category and require the seller to register. Those romance novels at your local grocery store and pharmacy? Oh, dearie me, a bit too much, and right out there where the children might see 'em.... (In a related item, Cosmo continues to see just how close to full-frontal nudity their covers can get; I've not yet seen a read on how the law might apply to them).

Sheeesh. I feel so happy, knowin' the State is lookin' out for my poor, innercent li'l mind an' all. But I sure do wonder how they square it with this:

Indiana Constitution
ARTICLE 1. Bill of Rights
[...]
9. Freedom of thought and speech
Section 9. No law shall be passed, restraining the free interchange of thought and opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print, freely, on any subject whatever: but for the abuse of that right, every person shall be responsible.


Seems pretty clear, doesn't it?

(Thanks to Mad Mike for the heads-up on this choice bit of legislunacy).

7 comments:

GeorgeH said...

So, will Barnes & Noble lead the fight to get the law thrown out, or use it to finish off the small booksellers?

Turk Turon said...

Obviously such publications are meant to be read only by militias!

phlegmfatale said...

Gawd, don't legislators ever get tired of insulting us?

Mark Alger said...

Only answer: No.

Take that back.

HELL no!

With .45 cal punctuation.

Feckwits!

M

Anonymous said...

What do you expect out of this ding-bat governor? I'm still P@#$$ED over the time change fiasco.

Roberta: As a Christian I prayed for your family this AM.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

BobG said...

They'll probably use the same sort of bullshit excuse they are using for violating the Second Amendment; "reasonable regulation on a Constitutional right".

Old Grouch said...

Between this and his writing a blank check for the 2012 Superbowl bid-- especially now that we're going to take an interest hit on the stadium bonds-- I'm about done with "my man," and I voted for him. For a guy who's supposed to be smart, he's been pretty dumb.

The time change thing was just icing on the cake.