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Bonds for Hearing Spectators

"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech ...."  So says the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. "The freedom of speech" is not unlimited freedom to say anything, any time, anywhere. Freedom of speech protects political dissent and other types of expression, but government can place reasonable limitations on "time, place, and manner" so that speakers do not interfere with the rights of others or with the conduct of government business.

Protesters disrupting the current Supreme Court confirmation hearings should not be tolerated, and arresting them isn't getting the job done. One alternative is to close the hearings to public spectators altogether. I suggest a less restrictive alternative.

Let every member of the general public who wants to attend the hearing in person present a credit card, and put a hold on it for $500. At the end of the day, the hold will be released if the spectator caused no disruption. If the spectator does disrupt and has to be removed, the hold becomes a charge. I expect the number of people willing to disrupt will drop sharply.

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