Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Four Days to Freedom

Sunday may be a slow news day, but we will be thinking of Caroline Bninski. That is the day she will have completed her 30 days in the Boulder calaboose.

For those of you new to this issue, Mark Udall's staff appears to have gone out of its way to set the woman up. We didn't always think that. When the story came out, we supported Udall's actions. As more details came out, the story began to have an offensive odor to it.

1. Ms. Bninski, along with other Green Party members was involved in a planned anti-war protest.

2. Before the protest began, Udall's staff negotiated a set of protest rules with Ms. Bninski, and Ms. Bninski's group lived up to the terms of their agreement for days.

3. On the last day of the protest, Ms. Bninski announced that she would violate the rules. Seconds after the violation commenced, Udall's staff called the police.

4. At trial, Udall's staff didn't limit it's testimony to the few minutes that it took the police to arrive, but complained in court that the whole protest had interrupted its operations for days.

5. The judge should have disallowed that testimony because of the preexisting agreement and the fact that Ms. Bninski had lived up to it. The judge ignored his own duties. For a few seconds of violation, he slapped Ms. Bninski in jail for 30 days.

6. The First Amendment specifically permits citizens to petition their government. This protest took the form of citizens in the act of petitioning, so even though it was inconvenient to Mark Udall, it was protected as long as it was orderly.

The news reporting on this incident makes this is an easy set of facts to assemble. If a Republican Congressman had pulled this stunt, the Denver Post, the ACLU, and every left wing blog within 1000 miles would be screaming to high heaven. Boulder Liberal Mark Udall is running for the Senate, so he gets a total pass.

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