Ken White has a good review of Brett Kavanaugh’s decisions relating to the First Amendment posted at his blog.
Kavanaugh’s work on the D.C. Circuit show a judge strongly protective of free speech rights, and part of the trend of applying free speech doctrines both to classic scenarios and to government regulation. His stance on telecommunications and elections laws will get him painted as part of the “weaponize free speech” movement by results-oriented thinkers. He’s strong on First Amendment limits on defamation law and his approach to anti-SLAPP statutes do not, as some have suggested, signal that he wants to make defamation cases easier. But though he might help upset applecarts by applying the First Amendment to regulatory schemes, and will not uphold broad speech restrictions, he will likely not overturn doctrines that make it hard for individuals to recoverfor speech violations.
I don’t support Donald Trump for President, although I do oppose him less than I oppose Hillary Clinton. I’ve written before that I intend to vote strategically this November. By that I mean that I don’t expect my vote to count. Maryland is so blue that Hillary will probably carry the state unless the election is a 49-state blowout for the Republicans. I’m likely to vote for a third or fourth party candidate, either as a matter of conscience or to try to get a minor party over the line to qualify for federal matching funds in 2020 or, and this is a long shot, to send the election to the House of Representatives.
For now, the possible candidate who appeals most to me is David French. Popehat explains why. Will French run? Can he get on enough state ballots to matter? I don’t know, but it would be nice to have someone to support for a change.
Ken White has the Popehat Signal up seeking pro bono legal assistance for consumers who are being sued by a company called Roca Labs because they publicly complained about the company. Roca Labs produces a pink slime that one is supposed to eat to suppress the appetite.
If you’re a lawyer, especially a Florida lawyer, click on the link and check out the outrageous suit Roca has filed.
BTW, Ken White used the Popehat Signal to find pro bono counsel for Aaron Walker, Stacy McCain, Ali Akbar, and me in the state vexatious lawsuit that Brett Kimberlin filed against us.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven … a time to keep silence, and a time to speak …
I believe Ken White is a true First Amendment hero. He helps folks from all across the political spectrum deal with censorious thugs and idiots who try to suppress free speech. I am grateful for the help he has provided my codefendants and me in the Maryland Kimberlin v. Walker, et al. lawsuit. However, he doesn’t get involved in every free speech case. He couldn’t if he wanted to; there are simply too many, and there are some where there are good reasons for him not to be involved.
Ken White has posted what he says is the first in a series of essays about Bill Schmalfeldt. In examining Schmalfeldt’s blogging about Patrick Frey (Patterico) and himself, Mr. White concludes—
Bill Schmalfeldt is a disturbed freak, a twisted personification of narcissistic fury. But what he wrote about me and Patrick probably doesn’t make him a criminal. I’m really not even tempted to say otherwise.
You may (I hope) be surprised to know that Schmalfeldt has admirers, other “journalists” and “activists,” various vapid partisan hacks who favor him and ignore his conduct because he hates the right people and mouths the right dogma. This is salutary; it reminds us not to support somebody’s bad behavior just because they are on “our side.”
The next post will be about the Cabin Boy’s behavior with respect to Aaron Walker.
If there’s one thing on the Internet that might be dumber than trying to outcrazy Stacy McCain, it would be trying to outlawyer Ken White about the First Amendment protected speech. It’s a rare bird that decides to go toe-to-toe with him in defense of stupidly censorious activity on the web. The bad news for the Cabin Boy is that he has taken such a decision. He’s posted a lame attempt at a humorous rebuttal over at Breitbart Unmasked. (No, I won’t link to it.) The good news for the rest of us is that there’s plenty of popcorn.
UPDATE—The Cabin Boy is not only crazy; he is stupid. Over at Old Uncle Bastard (No, I won’t link to it.), he babbles thus—
Mr. Hat has the right to write what he will write. And I have the right to hold him legally responsible for misrepresenting my intent and willfully enraging the “stupid” to further his own interests.
One of the tactics used to attempt to silence criticism on the Internet is a letter from a lawyer threatening a lawsuit. Ken at Popehat has a great post about one lawyer’s surprise when the targeted blogger didn’t just roll over. (H/T, @anexconsview)
The balance of power has shifted as the Internet has given access to a bully pulpit (as Teddy Roosevelt would call it) to anyone with a blogging account, even bush league blogs like this one, and is making the life of the other kind of bullies more difficult. Good.
Lawyers need to learn the lesson of the motto on the masthead of this website: Never pick a fight with a man who buys pixels by the terabyte.
UPDATE–The title of this post comes from the response I heard from a bully when I was a kid. My birthday is New Year’s Eve. Until a kid skipped a grade, I was always the youngest and usually the smallest kid in my class. I experienced my share of bullying, and my response was always to stand up to the bully. When I was physically attacked, my response was to beat up the bully. Bullies consider beatings from their targets to be grossly unfair.
I still believe in standing up to bullies, but I want to second Ken’s advice. Stay legal. Don’t engage in threats or harassment yourself. Don’t encourage others to threaten or harass. Get legal help if necessary. Call the cops if appropriate. Rely on telling the truth.