Newspapers v. Maryland News

I’ve been following a case filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland by a group of newspapers against the Maryland Election Commission seeking to overturn a vague and patently unconstitutional law dealing with online political advertising. It turns out that I have a dog in that fight because there are months when the traffic here at Hogewash! is sufficient for the law to apply to this blog.

The newspapers are seeking a preliminary injunction prohibiting the State from enforcing the law. A hearing is scheduled on their motion on 16 November before Judge Paul Grimm. I plan to cover that hearing.

Stay tuned.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

Neal Rauhauser is one of the original members of the Team Kimberlin crew. For a while, it seemed that he was a key member of The Dread Deadbeat Pirate Kimberlin’s operation, and he was carried on the roster here at Hogewash! as First Mate. FMNR’s main function was to be an Internet troll, and that gave rise to this post from six years ago today titled In the Hall of the Mountain King.

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If the phrase In the Hall of the Mountain King means anything to most people, it’s as the title to one of the parts of Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite. Cinema buffs may also associate that tune with the movie M, as the music played just as the serial killer played by Peter Lorre strikes.

I was reminded of the phrase while reading this post about Neal Rauhauser over at The Other McCain. Stacy McCain wonders whether Mr. Rauhauser is evil or crazy or both. (My guess is that both is the correct answer.)

Rauhauser thinks of his evil acts as heroic, avenging the wrongs he alleges have been done by the dehumanized scapegoats whom he alternately diminishes (as insignificant “trolls,” etc.) and magnifies as dangerous enemies, as suits his selfish purposes.

I would argue, and this where the Hall of the Mountain King comes in, that what Neal Rauhauser wants to be is King of the Trolls like the character in Act II of the Ibsen play Peer Gynt. After Peer Gynt meets the Troll King’s daughter, the Troll King offers him the opportunity to become a troll—if Peer marries the daughter. Peer declines in the end. An important plot point that is crucial to understanding the play is a question asked by the Troll King: “What is the difference between troll and man?” The answer given is: “Out there, where sky shines, humans say, ‘To thyself be true.’ In here, trolls say, ‘Be true to yourself and to hell with the world.'” Egoism is a defining trait of the trolls in the play.

So it is with Mr. Rauahauser. His seeming lack of empathy might allow him to believe that he is merely following Polonius’ advice (and the Troll Motto)—To Thine Own Self Be True—while ignoring “And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Neal Rauhauser, wannabe King of the Trolls. That might explain a lot.

Oh, and one more thing … Stacy McCain describes Neal Rauhauser as Patient Zero in the Weinergate nonsense. A better description might be the virus.

Yet one more thing … You can tell that I didn’t go to Harvard. I referred to M as a movie instead of a film.

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FMNR slithered off around the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013. Too many people in Maryland were aware of his outstanding warrants. He’s still hiding.

The Newspapers v. Maryland

I’ve previously posted about a group of newspapers filing suit against Maryland to stop the state’s unconstitutional attempt to regulate political advertising on the Internet. The newspapers are seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the law from going into effect. The State has filed an opposition to the motion for a preliminary injunction.

There will be a hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction. It was originally scheduled for early October, but the lawyers and Judge Grimm are trying to resolve scheduling conflicts. When the hearing is scheduled, I’ll make arrangements to attend and report on it.

“Speech is Powerful”

During a 2016 campaign rally in Kentucky, Donald Trump asked that some disruptive protestors be removed. He said, “Get them out of here,” and, “Don’t hurt them.” The demonstrators who were removed sued Trump for, among other things, inciting a riot, which is a cause of action under Kentucky law. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has found that Trump did not incite a riot and that his words were protected under the First Amendment.

Here’s their opinion—

If the embedded document is not displaying properly on your browser, you can read it here.

And here’s the money quote—

“Speech is powerful.” Snyder, 562 U.S. at 460. Yet, as a nation, we have chosen to protect unrefined, disagreeable, and even hurtful speech to ensure that we do not stifle public debate. Id. at 461. The First Amendment demands governmental tolerance of speech, in the name of freedom, subject to “a limited number of categorical exclusions.” Bible Believers, 805 F.3d at 243. The speech that forms the premise for plaintiffs’ incitement-to-riot claim does not come within any of these limited exclusions. It follows that, even if the allegations were deemed to state a plausible claim under Kentucky law—a proposition we do not accept— prosecution of the claim would be barred by the First Amendment.

BTW, Bill Schmalfeldt tried use Nwanguma as a case law in support of his LOLsuit VIII last year.

Even if Nwanguma had been on point for his case, and it wasn’t, it’s fitting that the Dreadful Pro-Se Schmalfeldt would try to rely on an case that would clearly going to be overruled.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

For the past few days, we’ve been looking at The Dread Deadbeat Pro-Se Kimberlin’s inept presentation of his case during the Kimberlin v. Walker, et al. LOLsuit. He kept trying to bring in non-germane topics. The TKPOTD from four years ago today dealt with his attempt to bring up the legal assistance fund I started to help Tetyana Kimberlin, something that had nothing to do with alleged defamation of TDPK.

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During last month’s Kimberlin v. Walker, et al. trial, The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin seemed particularly interested in the help that Aaron Walker and I had provided to Mrs. Kimberlin. This was part of his questioning of Aaron Walker.

MR. KIMBERLIN: Now, you — after you helped my wife file these things, you create with Mr. Hoge, am I correct? A defense fund for my wife, to raise money for her?

MR. WALKER: That is correct.

MR. KIMBERLIN: And you hired — you raised how much? A thousand? $100 —

MR. WALKER: I don’t know. I did not — personally control the funds.

MR. KIMBERLIN: But suffice it to say, it was a fairly significant amount.

MR. WALKER: Well —

MR. OSTRONIC: Objection.

THE COURT: Sustained.

MR. KIMBERLIN: And you used that money to hire an attorney, another attorney, to represent my wife.

MR. WALKER: I did not use the money. As I recall, John Hoge decided to loan several thousand dollars to your wife to help her get an attorney, and as of last I heard, he’s still in the red on that.

MR. KIMBERLIN: Oh, he loaned it to her? Okay —

MR. WALKER: Well, I don’t — no. It’s not a loan to her. We were hoping that he would get it back from donors.

When he got me on the witness stand he asked me about the fund as well.

MR. KIMBERLIN: And as a result of that email thread, did you terminate the defense fund that you had raised, or started for her?

MR. OSTRONIC: Objection, your honor. I —

THE COURT: Sustained.

MR. OSTRONIC: Thank you.

MR. KIMBERLIN: Did you take any action after you received that email?

MR. HOGE: I don’t know which email you’re talking about, so I — you would have to show me the email, and then I can tell you what action I might have taken as a result of it.

MR. KIMBERLIN: Now, you with my wife after the hearing. Am I correct?

MR. HOGE: Yes.

MR. KIMBERLIN: And as a result of that meeting, you created a defense fund. Am I correct?

MR. HOGE: Not as an immediate result of that meeting. Not our first meeting. No.

MR. KIMBERLIN: Did my wife ever tell you —

MR. OSTRONIC: Objection.

THE COURT: Sustained.

MR. KIMBERLIN: Did you stop that defense fund at some point in time?

MR. HOGE: Yes.

MR. KIMBERLIN: And was that on account of her?

MR. HOGE: At her request.

MR. KIMBERLIN: And at that time, did she ask you to remove any post about —

MR. OSTRONIC: Objection.

THE COURT: Sustained. The objection’s sustained.

MR. KIMBERLIN: Your honor, it goes to malice.

THE COURT: Well, it’s hearsay. He can’t testify what she said. She’s not part in this case.

He got back around to the topic of the legal fund for his wife on redirect examination.

MR. KIMBERLIN: You’ve been to events with Mr. Akbar?

MR. HOGE: Yes.

MR. KIMBERLIN: You’ve been nominated for awards by the National Blogger’s club for writing about me. Right?

MR. HOGE: Yes.

MR. KIMBERLIN: You coordinated with Mr. Akbar to raise funds for this Tetyana defense fund. Am I correct?

MR. HOGE: He volunteered to be a contributor. He wasn’t involved in starting the fund.

Gentle Reader, I suspect that what triggered the Kimberlin v. Walker, et al. vexatious lawsuit was the help we offered Mrs. Kimberlin. Brett Kimberlin made his family issues public when he sought a protective order against his estranged wife and a peace order and criminal charges against her boyfriend. His lawfare against them backfired, and his attempt at brass knuckles reputation management by suing Aaron, Stacy, Ali, KU, and me has resulted in an extra helping of Streisand Effect.

Just wait till he sees what’s coming in the RICO Madness.

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He did even worse in the RICO Madness case. The federal counts were thrown out for failure to state a claim, and when he refiled the state law claims in state court, he wound up being adjudicated defamation proof.

Everything proceeded as I had foreseen.

Bonus Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

The Gentle Reader may remember that the Maryland Court of Special Appeals dismissed Aaron Walker’s appeal against the State of Maryland in the case involving the constitutionality of the so-called Grace’s Law, a state statute that outlaws using the Internet to publish something that upsets a minor child. Aaron has filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Maryland Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court, seeking review of the lower court’s decision. The petition was filed several weeks ago, but I held off writing about until I was sure that Brett Kimberlin had been served a copy and was aware of the further appeal. He is not a party in the case going forward, the only remaining parties are Aaron and the State, but I wanted to see how Kimberlin would react before I posted anything.

On 21 August, about the time Kimberlin would have been served, Breitbart Unmasked Bunny Billy Boy Brett Unread published a post about the appeal (No, I won’t link to it.) tagged with the line: “Walker appeals court decision that denied him his lifetime right to harass minor children online.” It should not surprise the Gentle Reader who has been following the Saga of the Dread Deadbeat Pro-Se Kimberlin that BU‘s tagline is false and deceptive. Indeed, if another website were to have published such a statement, it probably would have been defamatory. That’s not the likely case with BU because one of the elements of defamation is that the statement damaged the victim’s reputation. No one in his right mind believes anything published on BU, so nothing posted there should be harmful to anyone’s reputation. Of course, the whole post amounts to nothing more than one of the Kimberlin false narratives misrepresenting both the facts and the law related to Aaron’s appeal.

BTW, the fact that I was able to wait to Labor Day to post about an almost-two-week-old article at BU without anyone else on the Intertwebz thaving taken notice of it shows how vanishingly small The Dread Deadbeat Publisher Kimblerlin’s web presence has become.

Here’s Aaron’s petition. It speaks for itself—

One more thing … The picture accompanying the post is a composite of headshots of Aaron and me. That’s interesting because I’m not a party to the case. I never was. Also, the body of the article alludes to the series of TKPOTD-in-review posts that I’ve been publishing while we wait for the final resolution of Aaron’s case. It’s pretty clear that those posts have gotten under Kimberlin’s skin. The Dread Deadbeat Publisher Kimberlin would like think that day-to-day coverage of Team Kimberlin is dying out. It isn’t. While it doesn’t generate the traffic that it did when trials were going on, it still generates thousands of hits per week. I’d be willing to be that the average daily traffic on those posts exceeds the monthly traffic on all the Kimberlin-related websites combined. But the purpose of the TKPOTD series is not to annoy. It’s to inform. It won’t be bullied off of the Internet.

The posts will be around for a bit longer.

I’m not done with him yet.

Government Discrimination Against Religion

Ilya Somin has a post over at The Volokh Conspiracy arguing for a consistent approach to restricting the government’s discrimination against religion. He notes that both the Left and the Right take different sides of the argument when their pet projects are on the  line. For example, the Left support government discrimination against funding private religious schools by allowing students to use vouchers for tuition but opposes the Trump travel ban because it discriminates on the basis of religion. OTOH, the Right generally takes the opposite positions for the opposite reasons.

Many claim that the government should get a pass on otherwise impermissible discrimination in particular types of cases. For example, defenders of the travel ban often argued that special deference is appropriate because aliens have no constitutional right to enter the country. Nothing in the text or original meaning of the Constitution justifies such exceptions to the First Amendment’s ban on religious discrimination. If they were allowed, the exceptions would quickly swallow up the role. While there is no constitutional right to enter the United States, there is also – under current Supreme Court precedent – no constitutional right to government funding of religious schools (the Blaine Amendment cases), and no meaningful constitutional right to be a baker (Masterpiece Cakeshop). The whole point of constitutional restrictions on discriminatory policies is to forbid certain types of discrimination even when it comes to things that are not otherwise constitutional rights. In cases where the activity in question is protected by some other constitutional right, we don’t need anti-discrimination rules, because the government’s restrictions would be struck down regardless.

In a diverse and politically polarized society, government officials on both right and left will sometimes target religious minorities for discrimination, especially ones disliked by their side of the political spectrum. Courts should strike down such discrimination regardless of whether it targets Muslims, Catholics, or socially conservative Protestants, and regardless of whether the policy involves immigration, education, or some other issue.

Read the whole thing.