Politics

Nancy Pelosi: You Can’t Yell ‘Wolf’ In A Crowded Theater

In case you didn’t know it, Nancy Pelosi is a brilliant legal scholar.

In an interview this week she was asked to explain why she thinks the U.S. Park Service should deny a permit for public demonstration to an alt-right group in San Francisco.

Her reply is dumbfounding. In a butchered version of an oft-quoted legal theory, Pelosi replied, “You can’t yell ‘wolf’ in a crowded theater.”

First, the actual quote is “you can’t yell ‘fire’,” and, second, that legal theory has been thoroughly discredited as a cheap argument for regulation of speech in light of First Amendment protections.

It’s used by liberals to argue that any speech which might cause harm — however ‘harm’ is defined — is therefore not protected speech.

As Redstate pointed out, Pelosi is simply “crying wolf.”

Here’s more from Redstate…

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.”


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