Tamara Piety discusses ‘Brandishing the First Amendment’ on Fairness Radio

by Shaun Manning on March 21, 2012

Tamara Piety, author of Brandishing the First Amendment: Commercial Expression in America, appeared on Fairness Radio recently to discuss her book and the hot-button issues it raises during this election season. Hosted by Patrick O’Heffernan and Chuck Morse and broadcast daily on Boston’s WDIS-AM 1170 as well as online, the program includes commentary from the left (O’Heffernan) and right (Morse) sides of the political spectrum and invites guests likely to spark a lively (but civil) discussion.

During her segment, Piety explained the Commercial Speech Doctrine, which arose in the late 1970s as corporate defendants “employed the rhetoric of equal rights and equality” to bolster their claims to First Amendment protections. “Over time, that has turned the First Amendment into something that it was arguably not intended to serve as, which is sort of an all-purpose weapon against governmental regulation of all kinds,” Piety said.

“With the creation of these doctrines, we began seamlessly slipping into this mindset where we think of the corporation as a participant in the political process in a way we had not before. What that has resulted in is a situation that blurs the political lines of traditional liberal thought and traditional conservative thought,” she told the radio audience.

This all came to a head, Piety said, when a consumer protection group sued Nike, alleging that, in the course of defending its labor practices, the company had made false statements amounting to fraud and deceptive business practices. “Nike filed something that’s called a demurrer, which is basically a legal term that says, everything you say might be true but it doesn’t provide you with a cause of action, you can’t sue for that. And that’s kind of a radical statement, that fraud is a thing you can’t sue for,” Piety said. “What Nike was asking for was a Constitutional right to lie .”

Listen to the whole interview on Fairness Radio (segment begins at 1:18:10).

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: