Thursday, June 29, 2006
Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em
Rush Limbaugh raised an interesting point on his show Wednesday. (I was able to hear a call or two during lunch.)
Are anti-smoking laws constitutional?
Here's the argument:
Those who don't care for the flag-burning amendment state that it is political speech that is being trod upon, that you have the right to burn the flag as a form of free speech. To make that argument, says Rush, you must first acknowledge that the burning of a nation's flag is a recognized manner to show your distaste for that country's government. Fair enough.
Why couldn't the same be applied to smoking? Let's say that some anti-smoking activists got together and publicized smoking in public places where smoking is banned as a recognized form of protesting the anti-libertine policies of the state, local, or federal government. If a group of smokers then gathered at a place where smoking is not a allowed (which can be a bar in some states), wouldn't they be exercising their right to protest and, therefore, not restricted by the anti-smoking law?
Rush thinks it would be a constitutionally protected form of protest, although he clarified that he would be smoking cigars at the gathering/protest. It's an interesting argument for sure.