Monday, June 22, 2015

Instapundit: Free Speech Under Assault in America

Read all about it. 

"When the government orders people not to talk about what it's doing, it's hard to keep track of what it's doing. That's what the First Amendment is intended to prevent. It's ironic that the Obama administration whose supporters in 2008 made much of threats to civil liberties from George W. Bush's national security apparatus has so thoroughly embraced surveillance and gag orders.
But if it won't support a prosecution, why gather this information?"

"Bharara's office isn't talking, but I suspect that the purpose of this exercise is to chill speech: To send a signal that whether or not the First Amendment protects your right to talk smack about a federal judge, you'd be wise not to do so if you don't want to attract the attention of the feds, who might choose to share your information with employers or the news media. Consider it a sort of prosecutorial brush-back pitch, if you like."

("Nice job/office/life you got there...would be a real shame if anything happened to it..."

"Of course, the First Amendment term for "brush-back pitch" is "chilling effect." The goal, presumably, is to discourage speech protected under the First Amendment, but disliked by authorities. That's an odd thing from a prosecutor who is sworn to uphold the Constitution but, these days, perhaps not as odd as all that."