Psychic Science Laws and Psychic Readers

In terms of Constitutional Law, the First Amendment, in no way, protects against expression regarding psychic science, and its practitioners. Accordingly, there is nothing in the Constitution that guarantees the right of media professionals to speak about matters that they deem to be psychic. There is absolutely no textual support for the proposition that any right of media could be protected by law against criticism (even if such criticism takes the form of criticism of the particular media by a third party). Such a view is clearly inconsistent with our system of constitutional free speech. In this regard, it must also be noted that there are no laws in the United States that restrict media professionals from discussing matters that have anything to do with psychic science or spirituality kham pha khoa hoc.

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There are a number of authorities who disagree with the view that the First Amendment permits media to be critical of spiritual practices. The view is obviously inconsistent with modern society’s appreciation of freedom of speech. Modern society, however, does not seem willing to foreclose its doors on virtually any concept of freedom of thought. While there are a few jurisdictions that recognize a separate right to be free speech, very few jurisdictions protect that right from being infringed by the First Amendment. Accordingly, the decision of the courts is divided on the issue.

There are many ordinances in California that are deemed to be impermissible, as applied to the practice of psychic readings. The most important of these ordinances, article I, section 2, of the California. Sutleja v. City of Azusa. This case was decided after the City Council of Azusa, within the county of Riverside, passed an ordinance that required a psychic reader to obtain a license prior to providing an application for a reading. That ordinance also contained a requirement that the applicant had to disclose any past disciplinary action. The Court held that the City had no compelling interest in enforcing the licensing requirement, and that the First Amendment did not immunize the City from the requirement of licensing. The opinion was divided among the three judges (Chief Justice Warren Burger, concurring in the judgment), with the Chief Justice Burger writing the opinion for the majority (including his opinion that the ordinance passed was not a violation of the First Amendment).

More recent attempts to regulate the psychic community were the results of two subsequent decisions. The first of these attempts was the adoption of a rule which requires a “cooling off” period before a reading is provided. The second was the adoption of a rule requiring a waiting period before any reading is conducted. These two rules are obviously designed to prevent a situation where a fortune teller can foretell events that are in fact based on coincidence or other non-natural means. In addition, these rules are obviously designed to create a buffer zone between the free speech rights of the individual and the more stringent protection that would be allowed if the City Charter was reading to include a broader guarantee of free speech. While the reasoning of the court was based on the public’s right to free speech and the need for a buffer to prevent unreasoning or illiterate speech, the result was again highly disproportionate to the actual harm sought to be prevented.

Applying California’s own form of judicial review, the court found that the ordinance did not violate the First or Fourteenth Amendment. However, the court found that the ordinance did violate the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause. Specifically, the court held that the ordinance targeted African-Americans and Hispanics with an unrelated purpose, namely to protect their ability to foretell future events from coincidences or other “voodoo” techniques. Unlike the majority opinion, the court held that the ordinance imposed an irrational distinction in what qualified a membership in a psychic organization from the ability to predict events. Accordingly, the ordinance was declared invalid.

The case was appealed to the state court, which affirmed the appeal of the City of Azusa. The court heard arguments from both sides of the argument regarding whether or not the ordinance violates the due process clause of the United States Constitution. In its view, the only way to distinguish between membership in a legitimate organization and predicting events is to look at whether the predictive process itself is rational. Arguments supporting the conclusion that the ordinance was irrational include (but are not limited to) the fact that no other law has ever allowed one to predict the future, that no other law exists that would require one to predict the future, and that the prediction of the future is inherently subjective. Because these reasons do not support the conclusion that the ordinance was unconstitutionally passed, the case was affirmed on a 7-to-5 vote.


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