Dear attorneys general, conspiring against free speech is a crime: Glenn Reynolds

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Apr 13, 2016.

  1. Revmitchell

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    Feb 18, 2006
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    Federal law makes it a felony “for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).”

    I wonder if U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, or California Attorney General Kamala Harris, or New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have read this federal statute. Because what they’re doing looks like a concerted scheme to restrict the First Amendment free speech rights of people they don’t agree with. They should look up 18 U.S.C. Sec. 241, I am sure they each have it somewhere in their offices.

    Here’s what’s happened so far. First, Schneiderman and reportedly Harris sought to investigate Exxon in part for making donations to groups and funding research by individuals who think “climate change” is either a hoax, or not a problem to the extent that people like Harris and Schneiderman say it is.

    This investigation, which smacks of Wisconsin’s discredited Putin-style legal assault on conservative groups and their contributors, was denounced by theCompetitive Enterprise Institute’s Hans Bader as unconstitutional. Bader wrote:

    Should government officials be able to cut off donations to groups because they employ people disparaged as “climate change deniers?” ... Only a single-issue zealot with ideological blinders and a contempt for the First Amendment would think so. ...

    The First Amendment has long been interpreted as protecting corporate lobbying and donations, even to groups that allegedly deceive the public about important issues. ... So even if being a “climate denier” were a crime (rather than constitutionally protected speech, as it in fact is), a donation to a non-profit that employs such a person would not be.

    Nope, but conspiring to deprive “deniers” of their free speech rights would be. As Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle noted: “They threw the word ‘fraud’ around a lot. But the more they talked about it, the more it became clear that what they meant by ‘fraud’ was ‘advocating for policies that the attorneys general disagreed with.’”
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