Let’s play judge, more specifically, let’s play Chief Judge of Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit. As Chief Judge you get to decide high-profile cases and tell other judges what to do. You also get to issue administrative orders regarding courthouse procedures. It’s a powerful and prestigious position.
But there is trouble in your kingdom. A group of brigands has begun to perform “disturbing activities … involving videotaping on Courthouse grounds.” In fact, one such honor-less bandit was so bold as to shout, from the sidewalk outside the sacred Courthouse no less, “that the Court system and the Judges inside the Courthouse were ‘corrupt.’” This citizen, to use the term loosely, even called law enforcement officers “legalized gang members” and “thugs.”
What’s more, the shocking actions of this outlaw visibly perturbed those outside the Courthouse. Indeed “[p]eople witnessing this encounter appeared to be visibly shaken.” Oh, that the ground could have swallowed up this menace where he or she stood. Oh, that this benighted, evil soul could’ve been struck by lightning for daring to utter such blasphemy.
Imagine the chaos that would ensure if this madman were believed! People entering the courthouse, those innocent lambs, clean of conscience and impressionable of soul, may start to wonder if the elected officials who decide their fate could be anything less than completely impartial. What’s next – street preachers convincing passers-by that the end truly is near? Panhandlers convincing strangers that actually do have twelve kids at home and just lost their job? As Chief Judge it’s your responsibility to protect the citizens of your kingdom from such dangerous thoughts.
There can be only one solution.
You issue a judicial decree, otherwise known in the popular parlance as an “Administrative Order,” putting this kind of outrageous behavior in its place: the clink. Bury these blasphemers under the jail.
But what specific chicanery should be outlawed? Ah, yes, I think I have it: we must outlaw any “[d]emonstrations or dissemination of materials that degrade or call into question the integrity of the Court or any of its judges (e.g. claiming the Courts, Court personnel or judges are ‘corrupt,’ biased, dishonest, partial, or prejudiced)” – such behavior must be punished. How, you ask? “Any person engaging in the type of expressive conduct as indicated in this Order may be found in criminal contempt of Court,” especially those expressing their invalid, base, and infirm opinions from the sidewalk near the Courthouse.
That’s right you brigands, rogues, outlaws, and others who think you can degrade the honor of this Court without impunity – consider yourselves on notice. The only way to uphold the public image of the great institution that is the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida as an impartial arbiter of justice and constitutional rights is to throw those who would dare impugn its virtue in jail. Order shall be restored.