On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, a case examining if the First Amendment was violated when a man was barred from voting because of his Tea Party-themed "Don't Tread On Me" t-shirt and "Please I.D. Me" button.
But the thing about censorship of any kind is that there is nearly always a subjective element to it. In the landscape of current social media platforms, for example, those in charge tend to be hardcore progressives, and that being the case, conservatives are much more likely to be censored than liberals per their subconscious biases, or worse, some intentional endgame.
Justice Samuel Alito showcased this subjective element and our standard culturally liberal bias in a fantastic line of questioning to lawyer Daniel Rogan, who is representing election official Joe Mansky.
In the back-and-forth, Justice Alito set up Rogan with questions of his own. "He was given a list of facially-nonpolitical-but-vaguely-political sentiments, and condemned all the conservative ones and okayed the liberal ones without fail," noted Free Beacon reporter Alex Griswold.
Here's the exchange:
JUSTICE ALITO: How about a shirt with a rainbow flag? Would that be permitted?
MR. ROGAN: A shirt with a rainbow flag? No, it would — yes, it would be — it would be permitted unless there was — unless there was an issue on the ballot that — that related somehow to — to gay rights.
JUSTICE ALITO: How about a shirt that says “Parkland Strong”?
MR. ROGAN: No, that would — that would be — that would be allowed. I think - I think, Your Honor -
JUSTICE ALITO: Even though gun control would very likely be an issue?
MR. ROGAN: To the extent -
JUSTICE ALITO: I bet some candidate would raise an issue about gun control.
MR. ROGAN: Your Honor, the — the - the line that we’re drawing is one that is - is related to electoral choices in a -
JUSTICE ALITO: Well, what’s the answer to this question? You’re a polling official. You’re the reasonable person. Would that be allowed or would it not be allowed?
MR. ROGAN: The — the Parkland?
JUSTICE ALITO: Yeah.
MR. ROGAN: I — I think — I think today that I — that would be — if — if that was in Minnesota, and it was “Parkland Strong,” I — I would say that that would be allowed in, that there’s not -
JUSTICE ALITO: Okay. How about an NRA shirt?
MR. ROGAN: An NRA shirt? Today, in Minnesota, no, it would not, Your Honor. I think that that’s a clear indication — and I think what you’re getting at, Your Honor -
JUSTICE ALITO: How about a shirt with the text of the Second Amendment?
MR. ROGAN: Your Honor, I — I — I think that that could be viewed as political, that that — that would be — that would be -
JUSTICE ALITO: How about the First Amendment?
MR. ROGAN: No, Your Honor, I don’t - I don’t think the First Amendment. And, Your Honor, I -
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: No — no what, that it would be covered or wouldn’t be allowed?
MR. ROGAN: It would be allowed.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: It would be?
MR. ROGAN: It would be. And — and I think the — I understand the — the idea, and I’ve — I’ve — there are obviously a lot of examples that — that have been bandied about here –
JUSTICE ALITO: Yeah, well, this is the problem. How about a Colin Kaepernick jersey?
MR. ROGAN: No, Your Honor, I don’t think that that would be under — under our statute. And I think -
JUSTICE ALITO: How about “All Lives Matter”?
MR. ROGAN: That could be, Your Honor, that could be — that could be perceived as political. And I — I think obviously, Your Honor, there — there are some hard calls and
there are always going to be hard calls. And that — that doesn’t mean that the line that we’ve drawn is — is unconstitutional or even unreasonable.
JUSTICE ALITO: How about an “I Miss Bill” shirt?
MR. ROGAN: I’m sorry, Your Honor? I didn’t –
JUSTICE ALITO: “I Miss Bill,” or to make it bipartisan, a “Reagan/Bush ’84” shirt?
MR. ROGAN: Yes, Your Honor, I believe that that’s political.
Rainbow flag shirt? Not political. NRA shirt? Political. Parkland Strong shirt? Not political. Second Amendment shirt? Political.
You get the point.