House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s health has long been questioned — and her bizarre anti-free speech metaphor in a recent interview had critics scratching their head.
Recently, Pelosi has faced increasing calls to step down as the top House Democrat. A number of Democratic Party insiders — including high ranking lawmakers — have openly expressed concern over Pelosi’s ability to lead in recent months.
In an apparent attempt to shore up her liberal base, Pelosi gave an interview with local TV station KRON where she spoke out against a planned freedom of speech rally in San Francisco — and her embarrassing slip-up left supporters cringing.
“The Constitution does not say that a person can shout …er, yell ‘wolf’ in a crowded theater!” Pelosi said. “If you are endangering people, then you don’t have a constitutional right to do that.”
Not only is Pelosi completely wrong about the constitutional rights guaranteed to all Americans — which is embarrassing enough for a longtime lawmaker — but she has her metaphor totally confused.
Pelosi seemingly tried to paraphrase a reference to Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ opinion in the 1919 free speech case, Schenck v. United States. Holmes wrote, “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.”
It appears the liberal lawmaker mixed up a landmark Supreme Court case with the phrase “crying wolf” — a reference to Aesop’s fable, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”
In either case, though, Pelosi is wrong.
It is legal to “cry wolf” — all free speech (even nasty, racist, hate-filled speech) is legal.
More importantly, Holmes’ opinion was never binding law… and it was officially ruled as incorrect more than 40 years ago, when the Supreme Court’s judgement in Schenck v. United States was overturned.
In other words, it is legal and constitutionally protected to yell “fire” in a crowded theater.
Pelosi gave the interview to urged the National Park Service to deny a permit to the group “Patriot Prayer,” a conservative organization that has plans to hold a rally for free speech inside San Francisco’s Crissy Field this upcoming weekend.
“My hope is the park service would not allow these elements to use a national park to spew forth their venom,” Pelosi said in the interview.
A prayer group wants to meet, and Pelosi is warning the “venom they spew” is unconstitutional… but she is either embarrassingly misinformed, or she is intentionally lying to America.
Seems like it’s the liberals that are “crying wolf” about U.S. constitutional rights here.
You can watch the video from the interview here —
— The Horn editorial team