This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal on January 23, 2022.
Your editorial left out an important point about President Biden’s demagoguery. Much of the Freedom to Vote Act has nothing to do with voting. Nearly 200 pages of it propose an unprecedented assault on free speech.
Mr. Biden claims opponents are on the side of Bull Connor. Yet Connor trampled free speech to defend segregation. He famously sued the New York Times for reporting on his campaign’s “platform of race hate.”
This bill’s antispeech provisions would have been a powerful tool for Connor. It would publicly expose supporters of advocacy groups, as well as people who spend as little as $500 on Facebook ads promoting social change. This would put backers of controversial causes at risk of harassment and retaliation. Groups across the political spectrum, including the ACLU, have warned that these provisions and others would damage our democracy.
It’s a good thing Mr. Biden’s antispeech proposals were not the law in Alabama in the 1960s. I have no doubt Connor would have used them to undermine and intimidate his opponents.
President, Institute for Free Speech