USDC CA 95-1018 Introduction
THOMAS, et al v. CLINTON, et al
USDC CA 95-1018
FEAR OF FREEDOM?
The latest round in the age old struggle between "security" and
"truth" is being played out in Peace (Lafayette) Park. The
National Park Service identifies the Park as the "symbol of
openness in governent and our free and democratic nation."
Of course, those who live by the sword are continually
preoccupied with the fear that they will die by the sword, thus,
in the wake of the Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma, the fear
driven closure of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House
many not seem entirely paranoid.
In addition to closing the street in front of the White House,
the Secret Service has also placed barricades around the
perimeter of the entire Park. It is sad to think that this
valorous country would actually be so frightened by a bombing in
Oklahoma that it would timidly destroy its own symbol of freedom
and democracy. But there are other possibilities.
Is the government worthy of such implicit trust that the Reichstag
fire should be forgotten? Hitler was elected Chancellor of
germany in 1932. In February, 1933 the Reichstag Building, seat
of the German government, was gutted by a mysterious. Today it
is widely believed that the Nazis started the fire, but Gobbels,
Hitler's master of propaganda, fanned public fears by spreading
the story that the Communists had set the blaze. Terrorist
hysteria primed the public to accept the National Security Act.
The National Security Act legitimized all excesses and abuses
perpetrated by the Nazi government, and, years later at the war
crimes tribunals in Nuremberg, allowed accused war criminals to
argue that they had committed no crimes, but were only enforcing
the law of their country.
Obviously, even if the Communists were responsible for torching
the Reichstag, the National Security Act still would not have
justified the excesses of the Nazi government.
In this case we test the theory that the judicial system can, or
is willing to, act as a check on the rationality of
administrative "security concerns" and a balance against the
capricious suppression of public expression and assembly, as
epitomized by the Park.