Judge Strikes Down Ohio Law Criminalizing False Political Speech: Amicus Curiae Brief Filed on Behalf of the Plaintiff by P.J. O’RourkePosted: September 13, 2014
An Ohio federal judge landed a blow for free-speech advocates on Thursday, striking down a law that gave the state government the right to regulate political speech it deemed false.
Under the law, it was illegal to “post, publish, circulate, distribute, or otherwise disseminate a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, if the statement is designed to promote the election, nomination, or defeat of the candidate.” According to U.S. District Court judge Timothy Black’s decision: “We do not want the government (i.e., the Ohio Elections Commission) deciding what is political truth – for fear that the government might persecute those who criticize it. Instead, in a democracy, the voters should decide.”
Then there’s this:
I noted [above] U.S. District Court judge Timothy Black’s ruling yesterday striking down an Ohio law that allowed the state election commission to censor “false” political speech.
The judge’s decision is a good one, but the best reading in the case is an amicus curiae brief filed on behalf of the plaintiff — by none other than right-wing humorist P.J. O’Rourke. “The case concerns amici,” he writes, “because the law at issue undermines the First Amendment’s protection of the serious business of making politics funny.”
Co-written with the Cato Institute, the brief manages both to argue and to entertain (with barbs aplenty at both Left and Right)…When it comes to political deception, he says, “a crushing send-up on The Daily Show or The Colbert Report will do more to clean up political rhetoric than the Ohio Election Commission ever could.”
You can read O’Rourke’s brief in full here. (And don’t miss the footnotes.)
- Federal Court: Ohio Can’t Ban Saying Lies About Candidates (dailysignal.com)
- Constitutionally protected a**holes: Musings on the most hilarious amicus brief ever filed (rare.us)
- Federal judge rejects Ohio campaign false statements law (timesfreepress.com)
- Fed judge rejects Ohio campaign statements law (foxnews.com)
- Judge nixes Ohio law on lies (politico.com)
- There Are Amicus Briefs And Then There Is This One (onlygunsandmoney.blogspot.com)
- Federal judge rejects Ohio campaign statements law (washingtontimes.com)