Patterico's Pontifications

8/24/2017

Legal Genius Nancy Pelosi: You Can’t Yell “Wolf” In A Crowded Theater

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:30 pm

This is possibly the most entertaining political mangling of a famous quote since Dubya’s “won’t get fooled again” gaffe. Watch bubblehead Nancy give her vacant stare as she tries to defend denying a permit to organizers of an alt-right rally at Crissy Field in San Francisco. In the clip, which is from an interview done yesterday, Pelosi says that she is going to encourage the Park Service to deny a permit to the organizers. The permit has since been approved, and the rally will take place on Saturday. Enjoy some true Pelosi brilliance as Pelosi is asked how the Park Service could deny the permit, given the barrier of First Amendment:

INTERVIEWER: How could the Park Service justify denying that organization their free speech rights?

PELOSI: Because the Constitution does not say that a person can shout, yell wolf in a crowded theater. You are endangering people, then you don’t have a constitutional right to do that.

This clip came to me via Ken White at Popehat, who has spent a lot of time exposing the fundamental dishonesty of the actual phrase Pelosi was struggling to articulate: that you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. In this post, for example, Ken describes the famous statement by Oliver Wendell Holmes as “the most famous and pervasive lazy cheat in American dialogue about free speech.”

The argument Pelosi is trying (and failing) to make is that violence will result from the alt-right rally. But the mere possibility that people on either side of an issue might get passionate at a rally, and that those passions could spill over into to violence, is not a valid reason to deny a permit.

Pelosi is, um, crying wolf here.

P.S. My constitutional law professor at U.T. Austin, Jack Balkin (now at Yale) once told our class that he had, in fact, yelled “fire” in an actual crowded theater. Nothing came of it.

UPDATE: On Twitter, someone pointed out to me that the group in question denies it is alt-right. The Mercury News article linked in this post says:

Previous events organized by the same Portland-based group, Patriot Prayer, have attracted white nationalist contingents and devolved into violence.

The leader of the group is a Trump supporter. I called the group “alt-right” because to me, groups led by Trump supporters whose rallies attract white nationalists tend to be alt-right. But given that the leader of the group has actually denounced Neo-Nazis and white supremacists, even according to the usually quick-to-label-everyone-hateful SPLC, calling the group “alt-right” might be a case of guilt by association.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

79 Responses to “Legal Genius Nancy Pelosi: You Can’t Yell “Wolf” In A Crowded Theater”

  1. Technically, though, she’s right, you know.

    It doesn’t say that.

    Patterico (63e824)

  2. It reminds the statement: every Napoleon has a Watergate.

    Raul Alessandri (610346)

  3. I think under Brandenburg v. Ohio you can shout “She’s a witch!”, as long as you don’t also shout “Burn her!”

    Although she sounds like she’s already “burned” here.

    nk (dbc370)

  4. democrat-run cities in democrat-run states sure do seem to have a lot of white supremers lately

    where as republican-run cities in republican-run states seem to have a notable paucity of white supremers

    that’s kooky huh

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  5. *whereas* i mean

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  6. btw you not suppose to yell in theaters at all

    it’s the rules

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  7. She mixing up the boy who cried wolf with the person who shouted fire ina crowded theatre.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  8. Crying wolf and shouting fire are both false reports.

    Now I think the Democrats are doing that.

    They may be crying wolf about white supremacists and shouting fire about Donald Trump. Maybe not teh latter. Tey just want shunning because the evil of Donald Trump is contagious. And they won’t even criticize where he is truly evil except by misreprentation.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  9. Patterico:

    P.S. My constitutional law professor at U.T. Austin, Jack Balkin (now at Yale) once told our class that he had, in fact, yelled “fire” in an actual crowded theater. Nothing came of it.

    It’s not 1919 any more.

    People no longer report fires by shouting. And they didn’t any more even before cell phones./

    They had in the past, over 100 years ago:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shouting_fire_in_a_crowded_theater

    People have indeed falsely shouted “Fire!” in crowded public venues and caused panics on numerous occasions, such as at the Royal Surrey Gardens Music Hall of London in 1856, a theater in New York’s Harlem neighborhood in 1884,[1] and in the Italian Hall disaster of 1913, which left 73 dead. In the Shiloh Baptist Church disaster of 1902, over 100 people died when “fight” was misheard as “fire” in a crowded church causing a panic and stampede.

    The last case seeems to be 1913.

    A modern example would be Shouting “Gun” in the presence of policemen.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  10. If Pelosi is hammered enough and amends her fascism several days, can she Trump her way back?

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  11. several days from now..

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  12. What if the theater is full of sheep?

    kishnevi (35d300)

  13. Better New Deal beats Repeal and squeal.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  14. I think all the prophylactic antibiotics, antivirals and antiretrovirals she needs to be on in order to shake hands with her constituents have done something to her brain.

    nk (dbc370)

  15. imagine the spew that comes out of her mouth off camera

    mg (31009b)

  16. Greetings:

    Me, I’m thinking “Frisco’s that kind of town.”.

    But seriously, all these elected officials coming out against conservative free speech and assembly whether for reasons of “hate” or worse, “public safety” needs some kind of national investigation. When those who have control or influence over the compulsive power of the state, local or otherwise, try to scare or dissuade others from the exercise of their Constitutional rights, we have clearly entered the era of the Progressive Jim Crow. I see so little difference between these folks and George Wallace of ‘don’t’ stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall” Alabama fame.

    11B40 (6abb5c)

  17. The press has a great time trying to diagnose various mental/emotional deficits in the President, but has no interest in politely inquiring whether the 77 year old Pelosi is showing signs of dementia.

    There have been several recent video clips of her having great difficulty articulating relatively straight forward policy positions that in the past have never given her any problems.

    She has maintained her grip on the Minority Leader’s post by virtue of the fact that out of 194 Democrat members in the House, 40 are from California. To oust her, a challenger would need to get to get 98 of the remaining 154 votes.

    Combine that huge advantage with the fact that she is far and away the leading fundraiser for Dems in Congress because of the proximity of her district to Silicon Valley, and the ultra-rich ultra-liberals in San Francisco, and she basically buys the Minority Leader position in each new Congress.

    But she’s well on her way to being the Dem version of Strom Thurmond.

    shipwreckedcrew (99f654)

  18. Jack Balkin (now at Yale) once told our class that he had, in fact, yelled “fire” in an actual crowded theater. Nothing came of it.

    Bet he jaywalks, too— until the time he’s hit.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  19. adding Mr. Balkin to prayer list

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  20. P.S. My constitutional law professor at U.T. Austin, Jack Balkin (now at Yale) once told our class that he had, in fact, yelled “fire” in an actual crowded theater. Nothing came of it.

    Was there a fire being shown on the screen at the time?

    Anon Y. Mous (19e1f2)

  21. @17. But she’s well on her way to being the Dem version of Strom Thurmond.

    More like Dr. Zaius reciting the Sacred Scrolls.

    Some know when to leave gracefully. Some don’t. Others just get the hook– or the axe.

    “Remember, never trust anybody over 30.” – George Taylor [Charlton Heston] ‘Planet Of The Apes’ 1968

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  22. What about a lone wolf?

    crazy (11d38b)

  23. I remember reading about Pelosi’s daddy who – as Democrat mayor of Baltimore – dedicated two Confederacy-related monuments. Funny, not a peep out of her about that.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  24. And when I go to teh movies this weekend, i’m going to make it a point to stand up during a slow spot in the movie and yell “WOLF!!!” to to show that, by God, I do have that constitutional right!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  25. What if wolf blitzer is in the theater?

    narciso (d1f714)

  26. It won’t be a RomCom, so that would be impossible, narciso.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  27. I hope they have an intermission, cuz I’ll be hungry like teh wolf…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  28. Well it wAS funnier than the pods take

    narciso (d1f714)

  29. IIRC the whole “yelling fire in a crowded theatre” deal was a horrible analogy used to argue that rabbis handing out pamphlets discouraging young men from registering for the draft in WW1 should go to jail.

    There’s a great video somewhere of Christopher Hitchens stating what a horrible argument it was. I think he was debating Shasi Tharoor about offensive speech and the Danish cartoons.

    harkin (74754c)

  30. And speaking of………

    “Today, with our nation beset by subversive groups and propaganda which seeks to destroy our national unity, we can look for inspiration to the lives of Lee and Jackson to remind us to be resolute and determined in preserving our sacred institutions……

    …….We must remain steadfast in our determination to preserve freedom, not only for ourselves, but for the other liberty-loving nations who are striving to preserve their national unity as free nations.

    …….In these days of uncertainty and turmoil, Americans must emulate Jackson’s example and stand like a stone wall against aggression in any form that would seek to destroy the liberty of the world.”

    Rep. Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., speaking in Baltimore in 1948 at the dedication of a monument to honor Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

    Oh yeah and he was Nancy Pelosi’s father.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/08/24/nancy-pelosis-father-helped-dedicate-confederate-monument.html

    harkin (74754c)

  31. 23 Colonel Drunku: Yeah, ’cause in your drunken state, you’re dumb enough to think that everyone’s a carbon copy of their parents. Look up Ronald Reagan’s son and lay off the sauce a while.

    Tillman (a95660)

  32. Yes Thomas Dodd was a cold war liberal, the same for papa vanden heuvel who helped find diem in a Maryland seminary

    narciso (d1f714)

  33. With her utter contempt for the First Amendment and the rest of the Constitution, it’s easy to understand why Donald Trump wrote her campaigns so many checks.

    Dave (445e97)

  34. Do NOT shout to find Wolf Blitzer in a crowded theater.

    Lyrics Don't Matter (f80109)

  35. I don’t understand why the founding fathers wouldn’t write these kinds of details into the Constitution. I mean, it makes perfect sense.

    Legislative branch and their powers outlines, Executive branch and their powers outlined, Judicial branch and their powers covered, and the right to shout “wolf” in a crowded theater. It fits right in like a puzzle piece to complete a jig-saw puzzle.

    Lyrics Don't Matter (f80109)

  36. May one yell “Stage Play!” in a crowded fire station?

    The Gentle Grizzly (f02a5f)

  37. I actually did that. All the firemen laughed, and then they beat the carp out of me – they said it was “traditional.”

    felipe (b5e0f4)

  38. Pelosi has always been an unsettling individual to me. Back when SNL was periodically funny, I remember this (from 2006).

    http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/nancy-pelosi/n12084?snl=1

    Simon Jester (82e4e0)

  39. Re the use of the term alt-right, the AP has weighed in:

    alt-right

    A political grouping or tendency mixing racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and populism; a name currently embraced by some white supremacists and white nationalists to refer to themselves and their ideology, which emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States.

    Avoid using the term generically and without definition, because it is not well-known globally and the term may exist primarily as a public relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience. In AP stories discussing what the movement says about itself, the term “alt-right” (quotation marks, hyphen and lowercase) may be used in quotes or modified as in the self-described “alt-right” or so-called alt-right.

    Depending on the specifics of the situation, such beliefs might be termed racist, white supremacist or neo-Nazi; be sure to describe the specifics. Whenever “alt-right” is used in a story, include a definition: an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and populism, or, more simply, a white nationalist movement.

    When writing on extreme groups, be precise and provide evidence to support the characterization. Report their actions, associations, history and positions to reveal their actual beliefs and philosophy, as well as how others see them.

    Some related definitions:

    racism The broad term for asserting racial or ethnic discrimination or superiority based solely on race, ethnic or religious origins; it can be by any group against any other group.
    white nationalism A subset of racist beliefs that calls for a separate territory and/or enhanced legal rights and protections for white people. Critics accuse white nationalists of being white supremacists in disguise.

    white separatism A term sometimes used as a synonym for white nationalism but differs in that it advocates a form of segregation in which races would live apart but in the same general geographic area.

    white supremacy The racist belief that whites are superior to justify political, economic and social suppression of nonwhite people and other minority groups.

    neo-Nazism Combines racist and white supremacist beliefs with admiration for an authoritarian, totalitarian style of government such as the German Third Reich to enforce its beliefs.
    antifa Shorthand for anti-fascists, an umbrella description for the far-left-leaning militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations and other events. Until the term becomes better known, include a definition in close proximity to first use of the word.

    “alt-left” A term that some use to describe far-left factions. See “alt-right” for usage guidelines.

    I like the term alt-left. Most national Democratic leaders are alt-left these days, or at least want their identity groups to think they are.

    DRJ (15874d)

  40. But AP needs to define the identity groups associated with alt-left. For starters, I suggest Black Lives Matter, Antifa, Communists, and some illegal immigrant support groups.

    DRJ (15874d)

  41. Pelosi also shouldn’t cry “fire” after every one of Trump’s inflammatory tweets.

    WarrenPeese (ce3c8b)

  42. UPDATE: On Twitter, someone pointed out to me that the group in question denies it is alt-right. The Mercury News article linked in this post says:

    Previous events organized by the same Portland-based group, Patriot Prayer, have attracted white nationalist contingents and devolved into violence.

    The leader of the group is a Trump supporter. I called the group “alt-right” because to me, groups led by Trump supporters whose rallies attract white nationalists tend to be alt-right. But given that the leader of the group has actually denounced Neo-Nazis and white supremacists, even according to the usually quick-to-label-everyone-hateful SPLC, calling the group “alt-right” might be a case of guilt by association.

    Patterico (63e824)

  43. 30. Rabbis? This was done by generally atheistic socialists.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  44. the Republican Party has a deeply rooted white supremacy problem

    it’s not helpful to pretend this is something that can be isolated to a conveniently made-up segment called the alt-right

    all the Rs need to check their privilege until harvardtrash Mitt Romney’s satisfied they pass the initial smell test

    then we can get down to serious reeducation efforts

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  45. you have to want to change though

    yeah I’m looking at you Ben Sasse

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  46. Anti illegal immigrant groups are not racist, but they are called hate groups..

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  47. I like the term alt-left. Most national Democratic leaders are alt-left these days, or at least want their identity groups to think they are.

    Nobody on the left calls themselves alt-left. There are no identity groups to which this appeals.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  48. Anti illegal immigrant groups are not racist, but they are called hate groups..

    For example?

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  49. It apparently appeals to the AP.

    DRJ (d18ca6)

  50. “Nobody on the left calls themselves alt-left”

    Does alt right self identify? The lines are blurry on all sides. Many don’t know what to call themselves. Very few fit all the criteria for any one category.

    Ben burn (786e20)

  51. 44. By that standard, Oath Keepers may not be alt-right, especially after a recent kerfuffle when they denounced the presence of white supes/neos/nats at a Houston event. One of the neos complained that the Oath Keepers had become “Boomer Antifa” because of the preocuppation with appearing to be race neutral.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  52. Anti illegal immigrant groups are not racist, but they are called hate groups..

    50/ Davethulhu (fab944) — 8/25/2017 @ 10:30 am

    For example?

    If you go by the southern Poverty Law Center – which is aquestionable authroity, they are:

    https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/03/23/hate-groups-center-immigration-studies-want-you-believe-they%E2%80%99re-mainstream

    Hate groups like Center for Immigration Studies want you to believe they’re mainstream

    In the nearly 30 years since the Southern Poverty Law Center has been monitoring the American radical right we’ve seen a major shift in the nature of organized groups that specialize in vilifying certain people because of their race, ethnicity or other characteristic. [Note: the AP definition of racism does not extend to otehr characterstics]

    This year, for the first time, we listed the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a nativist think tank that churns out a constant stream of fear-mongering misinformation about Latino immigrants. Predictably, the hate group designation provoked an attack by the group’s executive director, Mark Krikorian, whose March 17 commentary in The Washington Post accused the SPLC of conflating groups like the Klan with groups, like his, that “simply do not share” our political beliefs.

    It’s understandable that Krikorian would recoil from being labeled a “hate group.” But the CIS has earned it – and not only because of statements by Krikorian, such as his suggestion after the devastating earthquake in Haiti that the country is “so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough.”

    CIS is the brainchild of John Tanton, the father of the modern nativist movement, and part of a network of closely related anti-immigrant groups that Tanton founded. These groups have been responsible for much of the hysteria about immigrants that dominates conservative politics..

    …But the association with Tanton was not enough to earn the hate group label. There’s more.

    In recent years, CIS has routinely disseminated the works of white nationalist writers, including Jared Taylor of American Renaissance. Taylor has written that “[w]hen blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization – any kind of civilization – disappears.”

    ..In June 2016, CIS distributed an article from John Friend, a contributing editor of the anti-Semitic The Barnes Review, claiming that “so-called refugees are committing rape and other horrific crimes against European women and men in increasing numbers.”

    They’re actually right aboiut this When they start lying, they are ahate group. When they stop caring about people as human beings. they are ahate group.

    It’s clssic hate propaganda – absolutely classic hate poroipaganda – to take example of people who committed crimes, and apply that to the whole group, and say things should be done against them because of that. And here we have a problem – a problem the democrats don’t tackle head on.

    Not only has Donald Trump done that, or implied that he has set a special office to collect reports of crimes committed by illegal alines (presumably against American citiizens or permanent residents)

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/us/politics/trump-voice-immigrants-crime.html?mcubz=0

    But he doesn’t seem to be interested in crimesw committed by any body else against Aamerican citizens or permanent residnets, which far outnumber them. Does this make sense. And neither is he collecting reports of crimes committed by American citiizens or permanent residents)
    against illegal aliens.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/16/us/16hispanic.html?mcubz=0

    And all this ignores the fact I can pinpoint other categories of poeople with higher rates of crininality. If we';re doing this, the KKK has a better case.

    There is even this atrocity of the proposed “Kate’s LAw”

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3004

    Whose provisions aren’t limited to criminals.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  53. Antifa is the occupy movement which goes further to back to ANSWER and other syalubusr front groups

    narciso (d1f714)

  54. Don’t think the white nationalists etc don’t see the similiarity.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  55. “We’re the platform of the alt-right” – Steve Bannon, referring to breitbart.com

    Noted nazi punching bag Richard Spencer originated the term.

    I’m not prepared to link the various white nationalist and white supremacy sites from my work computer, but the term is popular there.

    /r/The_Donald on reddit, /pol on 4chan

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  56. Kamala Harris also Tweeted this pearl of wisdom:

    Kamala Harris
    ‎@KamalaHarris

    Children are our nation’s future. We must listen to them about what they care about and give them a voice in our government. pic.twitter.com/buBBTj1MNc

    3:11 PM – Aug 24, 2017

    2,016 2,016 Replies

    624 624 Retweets

    2,407 2,407 likes

    On Wiki under “Douchebag” should be her picture. What a typical leftist feel-good idiot.

    Rev.Hoagie® (630eca)

  57. she seems like she’s been tarded more than once

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  58. They aren’t that smart and yet Democrats won the last Presidential election.

    DRJ (d18ca6)

  59. If dumb tweets had any real world implications, Donald Trump would not be president.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  60. No, the last prez election was in 2016. They – to the relief of some of us – did not win.

    Colonel Haiku (167584)

  61. 62… “real world implications” is probably not a road you want to head down, Cthulhu 🐙

    Colonel Haiku (167584)

  62. The Democrats won the election in total votes cast, and also Trump wants to govern like a Democrat (with Democratic advisors) and seems to be doing everything he can to improve the Democrats’ chances in future elections.

    DRJ (d18ca6)

  63. Your reply, as always, is: But we don’t have Hillary.

    As good as that is, it is not enough. There are a lot of Democrats who will do what Hillary would have done, and Trump will not beat them acting like this. They won’t even have to do much to unravel his “legacy.”

    DRJ (d18ca6)

  64. I’m just saying that there’s certain level of irony in trump supporter calling someone else’s tweets “tarded”.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  65. The desperate ‘conservative’ spin noe bein ‘floated’ is to cry Trump is not a ‘Republican’ – not a ‘party of Lincoln’ man.

    Except he is.

    What he is not is a conservative. And neither was Lincoln. ‘Conservatives’ are discovering to their utter horror that they are not ‘Republicans’ in 2017; their hold on the party being purged at every angle after four decades of holding it hostage.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  66. Right they have been on that jag since Mccarthy, I referenced hofstadler name checking adorno in 1954

    Meanwhile the deems are the devils advocates to criminals terrorist and the like, take the slaughter of Baxter and Howard by Ali Mohammed Ali a somelives matter supporter:
    http://freebeacon.com/politics/black-lives-matter-co-founder-trump-epitome-evil-tried-kill-communities

    narciso (d1f714)

  67. Texas can raise a lot of hurricane relief money on its own, without Federal aid, by simply melting down confederate statues and selling the bronze as scrap metal.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  68. Who wee the chief recruiter for the alt right, none other Barack Obama he and his minion, holder who insisted that race was the text nit the subtext of all of American life, that we have akwayd been an evil land, except when he granted him consent, or he pretended this was so.

    narciso (d1f714)

  69. Ah, the old “Obama made me racist” excuse.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  70. And your retort, as always, is it’s Trump’s fault. But he shares the blame with pathetically incompetent congressional leadership and this environment – a wasteland populated by malevolent nitwit media, sh*t-for-brains Democrats, pontificating NeverTrumpinistas, and craven Republicans – does not help in any way, shape, or form.

    Perhaps it WILL take a Civil War.

    Colonel Haiku (167584)

  71. 45 – “Rabbis?”

    You are correct (if you recall, I prefaced it with “IIRC”).

    They were pamphlets written in Yiddish and I somehow construed from that that the distributors must have been anti-war rabbis.

    My bad.

    harkin (74754c)

  72. “What he is not is a conservative. And neither was Lincoln.”

    Lincoln was closer to being a conservative than manifestation of liberal in the present day.

    For that matter most of democrats of only three or four decades ago were closer to today’s conservative than today’s liberals.

    For gosh sakes Garrison Keillor just called for a military junta.

    “For the first time in our history we are looking to generals to save us from democracy.”
    _____

    Do you think when they made the movie they ever thought the call would come from the left…..?

    “And then when this nation rejected you, lost faith in you, and began militantly to oppose you, you violated that oath by not resigning from office and turning the country over to someone who could represent the people of the United States.” – Gen. James Mattoon Scott – Seven Days In May – 1964

    harkin (74754c)

  73. The Wall Street Journal said in an editorial today that Trump should be treated by Republicans in Congress like a political independent.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  74. Or then maybe the vast majority of Americans just take all of this in, shake their heads, say a prayer that sanity returns to our country and go on with their lives BAU.

    Colonel Haiku (167584)

  75. @76. Can’t imagine why the WSJ ed. board would want to disown ‘one of their own.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)


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