Why no big civil rights lawsuit?


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Billll
December 28, 2002, 11:58 PM
The question came up in the 'Delaware' thread of why there was no 'Denial of civil rights' lawsuit against the various anti-gun organizations. Also, why do their continued actions to abridge our 2nd (and other) amendment rights not constitute grounds for RICO damages?
Behaviorally, they are no different from any hate group I could think of.
Does the answer relate to why the hate groups aren't being sued either?
It just seems to me that we're letting them use the nukes, while fighting back with rocks.

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Wildalaska
December 29, 2002, 12:18 AM
Because of the First Amendment....

David Scott
December 29, 2002, 12:38 PM
In pure, high minded ethical terms, you shouldn't be able to sue someone for having an opinion, or even for trying to use the legislative process to codify that opinion precisely the same way it is used by people who agree with you. If you can sue the Brady Bunch for their activism, you can also sue any other group that advocates whatever you interpret as "violating your constitutional rights" -- atheists could sue Focus On The Family, for example, contending that their campaigns to push a Christian based set of values into schools and government violate the First Amendment protections on freedom of religion.

In a pragmatic world, you will never see such suits under the current administration, because setting such a precedent would open the door to RICO suits against anti-abortion activists who use violent or intimidating tactics. George Dubya has made his anti-abortion position clear and he will not risk losing that voting bloc in his re-election bid.

Also in practical terms, if you're going to sue anyone, I think the best chance of making a difference would be to sue some place like New York or Missouri for not honoring your CCW permit. Base your argument on the "full faith and credit" clause of the Constitution, so you don't back the Supreme Court into making a ruling on the 2nd Amendment (which they have dodged for years).

El Tejon
December 29, 2002, 01:00 PM
David, tell that to the Klan or WAR.

Billl, because ducks are far more important than civil rights.

Wildalaska
December 29, 2002, 03:02 PM
The Klan and WAR were sued for specific wrongful acts by their membership, not thought...

El Tejon
December 29, 2002, 06:10 PM
Wild, and VPC hasn't done comitted any actus reus to destroy our civil rights?

Billll
December 29, 2002, 08:03 PM
mens rea

[[Latin: a guilty mind]] The state of mind that the prosecution must prove a defendant to have had at the time of committing a crime in order to secure a conviction. Mens rea varies from crime to crime; it is either defined in the statute creating the crime or established by precedent. Common examples of mens rea are intention to bring about a particular consequence, recklessness as to whether such consequences may come about, and (for a few crimes) negligence. Some crimes require knowledge of certain circumstances as part of the mens rea (for example, the crime of receiving stolen goods requires the knowledge that they were stolen). Some crimes require no mens rea; these are known as crimes of strict liability. Whenever mens rea is required, the prosecution must prove that it existed at the same time as the actus reus (illegal act) of the crime (coincidence of actus reus and mens rea). A defendant cannot plead ignorance of the law, nor is a good motive a defence. He may, however, bring evidence to show that he had no mens rea for the crime he is charged with; alternatively, he may admit that he had mens rea, but raise a general defence (e.g. duress) or a particular defence allowed in relation to the crime.

So:
1) It is legal to advocate an illegal or unconstitutional act.
2) It is legal to buy legislators untill your aims are statute law.
3) An aggrieved person may sue to get the illegal law overturned, but not before it's passed.

Did I get any of this wrong?actus reus actus reus

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