Friday, February 17, 2006

The First Amendment Doesn't Apply Everywhere

This was an amazing story in this morning's Post--read the whole thing.

Policing Porn Is Not Part of Job Description:
"Two uniformed men strolled into the main room of the Little Falls library in Bethesda one day last week and demanded the attention of all patrons using the computers. Then they made their announcement: The viewing of Internet pornography was forbidden.

The men looked stern and wore baseball caps emblazoned with the words 'Homeland Security.' "

...[further on] The sexual harassment policy forbids the "display of offensive or obscene printed or visual material." But in a library, which is both a public arena and a county workplace, the U.S. Constitution trumps Montgomery's rules.
I was struck by the implication in the last sentence that the Constitution doesn't always and everywhere trump Montgomery County's rules. But I guess it's true--any employer can impose some restrictions not applicable in a public area.

[The men were employees of the Montgomery county Homeland Security Department trying to enforce a ban on accessing porn through government owned equipment.]


InvestiGator said...

"The men looked stern and wore baseball caps emblazoned with the words 'Homeland Security'."

After nearly 25 years as a police officer, I have yet to understand how my colleagues can expect to be accepted as professionals by the general public while wearing baseball caps.

Bill Harshaw said...

At least they don't wear them backwards. When I grew up, real professionals wore hats like Sergeant Joe Friday. Maybe that's why I sometimes don't feel adult, no hat.