Legal Question in Constitutional Law in New Hampshire

Coercion and Civil Rights

Under what circumstances can the government coerce a person into sacrificing his/her constitutionally protected Civil Liberties? In a previous answer (, it was suggested that the government may (and they do) require a person to sacrifice certain liberties as a condition of using the airlines. Would the same logic allow the government to require that individuals refrain from criticizing the government or voting in federal elections as a condition of holding a drivers license (a privilege)?

Asked on 11/09/06, 8:08 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Re: Coercion and Civil Rights

No. The government can only restrict First Amendment rights in order to meet a compelling state interest and even then must do so by the least restrictive means possible. There is no connection at all between driving and political speech, so the type of restriction you describe would be unjustifiable. There is, however, a very strong connection between carrying concealed items through airport security on the one hand and airline bombings and hijackings on the other. The two situations you describe are not morally equivalent.

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Answered on 11/09/06, 4:26 pm

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