Opinion | Kalaignar’s Contribution To The Body Politic Of Tamil Nadu And India Is Unquestionable

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Free political speech is at the very apex of constitutional protections. Disagreement and dialogue are at the heart of our democracy. As Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote in a 1988 opinion, the Supreme Court has “been particularly vigilant to ensure that individual expressions of ideas remain free from governmentally imposed sanctions.”

It is hard to conclude that Mr. Trump’s actions are anything other than a “sanction” to punish and intimidate Mr. Brennan and others who dare to speak out. Fear of the state’s unconstrained power is what Vladimir Putin and other autocrats use to govern. But fear is no way to govern a democracy.

Because the individual agencies grant and “hold” the clearances of the former officers, the president’s statement directs the agencies to “implement this determination.” Before carrying out his order, the agencies should seek the advice of the Department of Justice as to whether the president’s direction is consistent with the First Amendment.

At the same time, Congress should look at Senator Moynihan’s recommendations and enact those that are necessary, particularly to protect against future abusive conduct by a president. Congress should leave the standards for classifying and declassifying with the president, but should enact a statute providing that the president cannot classify information for any reason other than the protection of national security. Also, as recommended by Senator Moynihan, Congress should establish an independent executive branch office to oversee the revocation of clearances that assures due process to individuals.

I do not know whether Mr. Brennan or others who may have their security clearance revoked by the president will choose to litigate. But if they do, it will be up to the courts to decide whether the First Amendment still matters in the age of Trump.

Jeffrey H. Smith, senior counsel at the law firm Arnold & Porter, served as the general counsel of the C.I.A. from 1994 to 1995.

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Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/opinion/illegal-trump-revoke-brennan-security-clearance.html

Thanks you for read my article Opinion | Kalaignar’s Contribution To The Body Politic Of Tamil Nadu And India Is Unquestionable
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