CCR Symposium: Rhetoric and the Audience Problem

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1 Response

  1. A.J. Sutter says:

    Which do you think are the audiences that should be considered? It sounds like you have some in mind that aren’t going to find a civil rights-based argument appealing. I could guess that some prosecutors and even more juries, though, might find the civil rights notion makes sense.

    OTOH, I think it would be even more persuasive if there were some way that not just suspect classifications could enjoy these civil rights protections, as your Berkeley email example illustrates. I recall there were a bunch of early civil rights cases imposing private liability on people who attacked some motorists on their way to vote — an element was that there had to be some intent to deprive the victims of their Constitutional rights. In the present context, I wonder if the notion of being attacked for exercising one’s right to free speech might do. (I left a comment to Nathaniel Gleicher’s post, suggesting a possible framework to help distinguish between attackers’ and victims’ free speech rights. But I’m sure there are much more sophisticated legal arguments on point.)

    If I’ve made a howling mistake in thinking there might be some relevant civil rights statutes (either in their current form or as analogues for new legislation) available to deal with private action and free of the suspect classification requirement, I welcome being set straight about that.