Florida Judge Defies First Amendment and Breaks Oath
He should be disbarred too.
Judge Mahon is the Interim Chief Judge of Florida’s 4th Circuit Court based in Jacksonville.
He was appointed to that position last year after serving in Florida’s legislature.
The Florida Judge issued an order this week in direct violation of the most basic American Constitutionally protected First Amendment Rights; the Rights of free speech and the Right to petition our government for redress of grievances. (complete copy at bottom)
The thin skinned Judge simultaneously banned opinion, petition and criticism in public.
His order (as recorded into public record below) specifically calls for “No speech that ‘degrade[s] or call[s] into question the integrity’ of judges on courthouse sidewalks”.
The legal specifics of why Mahon’s order defies the governing document of the land can be found within The Volokh Conspiracy’s article of the same name as seen in the Washington Post.
Already, this illegal order has caused Law Enforcement Officers to threaten PINAC journalists with arrest for nothing more than recording from public sidewalks nearby the Jacksonville Courthouse.
How can we allow Judge to rule from on high, when he cannot understand the most basic Constitutional tenets to which he owes loyalty under oath?
Judge Mahon Shit on the Constitution Just in Time For the 4th of July
There’s no more appropriate day to examine the words of our Constitution than Independence Day. The First Amendment reads thusly:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Declaring Mahon’s orders unconstitutional is one thing.
This author declares that issuance of such an order violates not only Florida’s Judicial Cannons, but the basic oath of office administered to all lawyers in the State of Florida which reads in part (author’s emphasis in italics):
Oath of Admission to The Florida Bar
The general principles which should ever control the lawyer in the practice of the legal profession are clearly set forth in the following oath of admission to the Bar, which the lawyer is sworn on admission to obey and for the willful violation to which disbarment may be had.
“I do solemnly swear: I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida;
Willfully ordering citizens expressing their opinions to self-edit, doesn’t sound like it supports the constitution to me.
Therefore, it is URGENT that citizens of the United States take up the tools of protest – signs, words, ideas – then exercise them vigorously to remove from both office and commission as lawyer, a Judge who refuses to “support the Constitution” on this 4th of July.
Why is this judge’s order so serious an offense that it merits the ultimate professional penalty?
The oath of office and term “support the Constitution” is no mere formality.
It is my privilege, as a beneficiary of those who have fought and died for that document – no mere piece of parchment – to share with you the Oaths Clause of our US Constitution, also known as Article VI (again, author’s emphasis in italics):
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution;
Why is this so important?
The Heritage Foundation article by Matthew Spalding, Phd. “Support and Defend: Understanding the Oath of Office” eloquently states (again, italics by author):
Although the practical application of the Constitution is largely in the hands of state judges, the primacy of the Constitution ultimately depends on officers of the law—in particular, officers of each branch of government—being equally bound to its support.
The simple declaration to “support the Constitution” has constitutional significance at all levels of government. An opinion of the Attorney General in 1875 declared that Members of Congress do not assume office until the completion of the oath, but that a state may not question a state representative’s motives and refuse to allow him to take the oath and his seat. Bond v. Floyd (1966). The oath was at the heart of John Marshall’s opinion in Marbury v. Madison (1803) obliging judges to give priority to the Constitution over ordinary legislative acts. Justice Joseph Story likewise stated in his “Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States” that officers sworn to support the Constitution are “conscientiously bound to abstain from all acts inconsistent with it,” and that in cases of doubt they must “decide each for himself, whether, consistently with the Constitution, the act can be done.”
Even more can be found about the legal and national significance of Oaths of Office here in Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.
I write this column sitting within a mile from the National Archives containing the original United States Constitution and Bill of Rights – which I have taken the occasion to visit.
In fact, this Judge’s order to shit on the Constitution caused me to interrupt a 4th of July vacation, to stand up for the liberties in these United States we hold most dearly.
I can think of no better way to celebrate my American Citizenship, nor a better way to show appreciation for the good fortune to have been born in this great nation.
Stand up and have your voice heard!
Stand up today on the 4th of July, tomorrow or any day of the week upon which you may hear of this incident.
I urge all who read this column to exercise those First Amendment Rights and force Judge Mark Mahon from office.
Florida’s Judicial Qualifications Commission complaint form can be filled in electronically, then must sent by mail.
All of the 4th Circuit Judges can be phoned by dialing the 904 area code with the listed numbers.
Judge Mahon’s chambers have a publicly listed number, 904-255-1228 where you can call and deliver your opinion of his failure to support the constitution.