Monday, September 20, 2010

Cautionary Tales: Pleading The First

The First Amendment reads thus: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

To the "freedom of speech" clause, was later added a caveat by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, that such freedom did not entitled one to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Is this the sort of danger envisioned by the District of Columbia, in requiring that tour guides be licensed for doing so, in addition to the usual business license?

One wonders if the assurance that civic institutions are competently represented by private entrepreneurs, is what a growing number of major cities have in mind. Perhaps it is merely the desire to find additional sources of revenue. If you can't tax them into oblivion, regulate them to that point instead.


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