An educational moment brought to you by the ACTUAL U.S. Constitution

~ An educational moment brought to you by the ACTUAL U.S. Constitution ~

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ….” Simply stated, the United States Supreme Court has consistently (and always) upheld the principle that governments (city, state, national) and their various departments may not codify or enforce laws that tell you what you may or may not say.

Most importantly, in order for a restriction on speech to be unconstitutional, the restriction must have been imposed BY THE GOVERNMENT, not by a private citizen or business.

When the local fair board decided that they will not allow anyone to sell or display merchandise with the Confederate flag (Walmart, Amazon, Ebay, and many other companies have also made this decision over the years if you’d like to boycott them as well), this was NOT an unconstitutional restriction on anyone’s free speech rights because their decision was not compelled by a GOVERNMENTAL ACTION.

In other words, no governmental entity has forced these private companies to make this decision. However, if the GOVERNMENT passed a law that told these people that they are prohibited from selling merchandise with images of the flag, that WOULD be an unconstitutional restriction of free speech.

To my knowledge, no governmental entity anywhere has yet passed a law telling private companies that they cannot sell such merchandise. These companies have simply made a business decision that they will not engage in certain speech.

You, of course, still have every right to own, fly, and/or wear any item you want that shows images of the Confederate flag and no governmental entity has yet told you that you are legally prohibited from doing so. However, you do not have a constitutional right to require Walmart or eBay or anyone else to sell it to you.

Whatever you feel about the “political correctness” of these business decisions, please, for the love of the Constitution, do not ever say that your right to free speech is being violated.


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