Daily Media Links 7/12

July 12, 2022   •  By Tiffany Donnelly   •  
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Biden Administration

Tablet: Kamala Harris’ Free Speech Task Force

By Jenin Younes

For many women with large Twitter followings, using the platform entails not only incessant insults, but also an unrelenting stream of angry, threatening, and sexually explicit messages. Using the platform primarily to criticize U.S. government-imposed COVID restrictions and the unscientific approach of hysterical elites and experts compounds the gender-specific vitriol, an unpleasant new feature of my life for which I would eagerly welcome almost any realistic legal solution. Vice President Kamala Harris’ new “White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse,” meant to help women, racial minorities, and LGBTQ individuals, clearly isn’t it. Neither government nor the tech companies themselves seem capable of regulating “harassment and abuse” without also curtailing the constitutionally protected speech intrinsic to a healthy democracy. In fact, the Biden administration’s unconstitutional policing of nongovernment approved viewpoints on COVID-related subjects has demonstrated with particular clarity that it cannot be trusted to determine what constitutes “harassment and abuse.”

The Courts

Center Square: Gun rights advocates file lawsuit to block a new CA gun law, say more challenges are forthcoming

By Madison Hirneisen

A group of guns rights organizations and shooting sports associations are suing to block a new [California] law that prohibits firearm marketing to minors. Under the law, which was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last month, firearm industry members are prohibited from advertising or marketing guns, ammunition or firearm precursor parts “in a manner that is designed, intended, or reasonably appears to be attractive to minors.”

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which includes the California Youth Shooting Sports Association and the California Rifle and Pistol Association, say the law “violates well-established free speech precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court” and are seeking “equitable relief declaring the law invalid.” The lawsuit was filed Friday in a federal court in Los Angeles.

“This law is a clear First Amendment violation of speech and assembly. It’s really an attempt to wipe out the next generation of hunters and shooters,” CRPA President and General Counsel Chuck Michel said in a statement Friday.

Reason (Volokh Conspiracy): What Does Connecticut “Racial Ridicule” Law Mean?, Federal Court Asks Conn. S. Ct.

By Eugene Volokh

Late last year, Connecticut lawyer Mario Cerame filed a federal lawsuit (Cerame v. Lamont) on his own behalf, seeking to invalidate the statute. He had represented one of the defendants in the earlier UConn case, but the prosecutors dismissed the racial ridicule charge in that case, so there was no occasion for him to challenge the statute on appeal; filing the lawsuit for himself could get the courts to consider the question going forward. And just today, the district court stated that it would ask the Connecticut Supreme Court to authoritatively construe the statute:

Colorado Politics: 10th Circuit: Right to record police is clearly established under First Amendment

By Julia Cardi

A federal appeals court said in a ruling Monday that recording police encounters is a clearly established constitutional right in Colorado, reversing a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a journalist who claims a Lakewood officer prevented him from recording a DUI stop…

Recording video is speech creation, not just conduct, which warrants protection under the First Amendment, said the 10th Circuit.


Insider: Federal officials failed to investigate Trump campaign’s money ‘laundering’: lawsuit

By C. Ryan Barber

In a 26-page lawsuit filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center said the Federal Election Commission failed to enforce campaign finance disclosure requirements by declining to investigate the Trump campaign’s use of two firms — American Made Media Consultants and Parscale Strategy — to hide the details of its spending.

The lawsuit followed a separate case, filed in March, in which the Campaign Legal Center accused the FEC of failing to respond to the group’s July 2020 complaint and a January 2021 supplement laying out allegations against the Trump campaign.

Free Expression

Washington Post: Companies are segregating politically — and it’s costing them

By Jason Willick

The genius of market democracies, as opposed to socialist or authoritarian regimes, is supposed to be their separation of the economic and political spheres. The free exchange of goods ties people together regardless of partisan affiliation, while political conflict is contained within institutions designed to manage it.

That separation is breaking down, with bitter implications for markets and democracy alike. A recent working paper, “The Political Polarization of Corporate America,” quantifies the trend.

Online Speech Platforms

Wall Street Journal: Twitter Is the Biggest Musk Loser

By The Editorial Board

Elon Musk’s decision Friday to call off his purchase of Twitter is a loss for the social-media site as well as for political free speech. The only winners will be progressives who support the site’s censorship of views that don’t conform to theirs on politics, climate and many other subjects.

The States

Insider NJ: Former Governor Whitman Backs Disclosure for Independent Spenders and Maintaining Public Funds for Gubernatorial Candidates

Former Governor Christine Todd Whitman said she strongly supports expanded public disclosure by special interest groups that are spending fast-rising sums on New Jersey elections independently of parties or candidates.

“…to allow them to raise that money without having to disclose in the same time frame that a candidate has to disclose is just wrong. People should know because it makes a difference,’’ Whitman said during a June 3, 2022 interview with ELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle.

“It makes the difference when you know it’s a Citizens for Green Grass and then you find out it’s a big oil company. Yeah, but they use that nice name, right? People just get confused…(anonymity) allows them to have an influence that they should not otherwise have,’’ she said.

While Whitman was speaking generally about the need for disclosure by independent groups, legislation is pending in both houses (S-2866/A4372) that includes this among its changes to campaign finance law.

Tiffany Donnelly

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