As Christmas approached, President Biden and the First Lady were engaged in the traditional role of having the President publicly “answering” calls to NORAD’s Santa tracking center. An Oregonian, Jared Schmeck, called in with a question and ended the call with Merry Christmas and “Let’s Go Brandon,” Republican code words for insulting Biden. Schmeck was roundly criticized for such boorish, vulgar behavior in a Christmas-oriented ceremony. Schmeck respond that he was being attacked for exercising “my God-given right to express my frustrations in a joking manner,” an obvious reference to the First Amendment. Incredibly, some people agreed with his invoking the First Amendment, even while criticizing his behavior.
It’s disappointing that even knowledgeable media commentators miss the key point about Schmeck and the First Amendment. It’s not just about incivility or the right of others to criticize him. Here’s the real fact: the First Amendment has no bearing on his case whatsoever. It is inapplicable. The First Amendment does not give a positive grant of freedom of speech to every individual American. The First Amendment establishes a restriction on the United States Congress. In regard to speech, it says: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..” Since an act of Congress had nothing to do with Schmeck’s words, they do nor involve the First Amendment at all.
So you can not only condemn Schmeck four ways to hell for his gross ill manners, you can do so without any worries whatsoever about trampling on the First Amendment.