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Speaking to a reporter about speaking up
An Alan Diaz/Associated Press photo

– News from elsewhere covered by Quincy Quarry News with commentary added.

 

A Florida Citizen Political Provocateur has his day before the U.S. Supreme Court — again.

 

The many descriptions bestowed on Fane Lozman over the years include political gadfly, relentless opponent of public corruption, and bored rich guy always spoiling for a fight.

 

If every town has a you-can’t-shut-me-up activist who second-guesses local elected officials, few have elevated the art to the level that Fane Lozman, a former marine, has tenaciously accomplished.

 

Orders from the court
A stock photo

So remarkable are his battles with the political leaders of this town of 35,000 people that they have drawn the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Not just once, but now twice.

 

The latest rendition of Lozman versus The City of Riviera Beach FL arises from a ham-handed attempt to cut him off at a city council meeting by arresting and handcuffing him before he had done anything, much less anything untoward.

 

It has since evolved into a major free-speech showdown which will have nationwide implications for citizens arrested by government officials they have criticized.

 

 

While the local prosecutor subsequently refused to press charges against Mr. Lozman, his arrest has since evolved into a major free-speech showdown which will have nationwide implications for citizens arrested by government officials they have criticized as the United State Supreme Court heard the oral arguments on his complaint earlier this week. 

 

Dogs know
A J. Pat Carter/AP photo

Press reports of this hearing indicate that Supreme Court justices appeared favorable to Mr. Lozman’s plight as well as felt conversely so about the actions of those tied to the defendant.

 

Lozman was represented by Stanford law professor Pamela S. Karlan and the law school’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. 

 

Professor Karlan told the court that free-speech rights would mean little if “government and government officials were free to retaliate against individuals who exercise those rights.”

 

“Congress shall make no law …”
Image via kgou.org

Additionally, the many free-speech organizations and media groups supporting Mr. Lozman provided a lengthy list of journalists and protesters who have been arrested by police as a means of intimidation, often on the most minor of purported infractions.

 

“He’s a formidable citizen-activist,” said Barbara Petersen, president of the Florida First Amendment Foundation. 

 

The group honored Lozman last month for being the kind of watchdog that keeps local governments honest.

 

You’re fired!
A ballot image

In turn, in his wake are officials who lost jobs and politicians drummed from office.

 

Said former Riviera Beach city council member Elizabeth Wade, who spoke most colorfully of being the target of Lozman’s barbs.

 

“I told him I would put my foot so far up his behind, he would think my toe was his tonsil” and which this now out of office hack also most ill-advisedly confirmed on the record with a reporter. 

 

Expect Quincy Quarry to monitor this case for possible future follow-up coverage.

Read the full story: A Florida provocateur has his day before the U.S. Supreme Court — again

 

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