Skip to comments.Blogger Fights for Free Speech in New Jersey
Posted on 12/04/2007 10:02:13 AM PST by antiRepublicrat
Manalapan, NJ - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked a Superior Court judge in New Jersey today to preserve the free speech rights of an anonymous blogger facing legal threats from local government officials.
The blogger, writing as "daTruthSquad" on a site hosted on Google's Blogspot service, has criticized a controversial lawsuit filed by the township of Manalapan, as well as the officials who decided to pursue the case. The township subpoenaed Google for "daTruthSquad's" identity -- as well as for any emails, blog drafts, and other information Google has about the blogger -- claiming that the defendant in the case is actually writing the posts. The defendant, however, has already sworn under penalty of perjury that he is not "daTruthSquad."
"Bloggers, as well as everyone else, have a First Amendment right to speak anonymously," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "Litigants don't get a blank check to pry into the private lives of critics when they say things the litigants don't like. The fact that it is the government trying to abuse the discovery process makes this attempted invasion of privacy all the more repugnant."
In a motion to quash the subpoena filed today, EFF asked the court to block the township's attempt to uncover the identity of "daTruthSquad" and allow the blogger to continue to write about this or any other issue without being forced to identity him or herself.
"Attempts to intimidate critics into silence need to be confronted whenever and wherever they occur," said Zimmerman. "Governmental entities simply cannot be permitted to investigate critics because they dare to voice disapproval of public officials. It remains our sincere hope that the Township will abandon this intolerable legal strategy."
For the full motion to quash:
For more on this case:
Ma-nal’-a-pan. Stress and vowels as in “The GAL a fan.”
(Just in case anybody’s wondering!)
Political correctness is imparting the message that objectionable speech no longer be tolerated. Starting with speech on college campuses, liberals are redefining free speech as being totally dependent on content. The new slogan on free speech is “I don’t agree with what you say, and challenge your right to say it.”
“Governmental entities simply cannot be permitted to investigate critics because they dare to voice disapproval of public officials.”
Let us change that last word in the sentence above to read “Servants”.
Have we forgotten? Have we allowed such POWER bestowed upon “Servants” of the people.
This (Perspective) is a major problem throughout American Politics anymore it seems.
We need to screen the Political wannabees, and have them sign a pledge to the people BEFORE they can run for Representative office, and call them on the carpet for any infraction of their pledges.
This crap of telling us what they think we want to hear, then doing as their Party, or they themselves want for whatever gain at the expense of our Constitution, thus the people has to stop.
Political correctness aside, there is more to consider then the so called rights of a specific blogger. Answer Yes or No
1 is the defendant actually making the posts as daTruthSquad ?
2 is the defendant feeding information to whomever is making those posts
3 if the answer to either above is NO then the 1st amendment is being violated.
4 if the answer to # 1 or # 2 above is yes, then the defendant should be prosecuted for Perjury.
What is the blogger giving up exactly? When you jump into the world of controversies like this lawsuit business, one must understand the need for transpariency in the actions of the defendant.
The blogger, has given up his anonymity by posting. I don’t think the first amendment guarantees you anonimity. It says you have the right to say what you like about whatever you like and they can not silence you.
It doesn’t seem that the plaintiff is being overly demanding of the blogger.
Liberal definition of free speech;
“Say or do anything you want with bravado and gusto while bravely having no fear of any consequential reactions”
Convervative Definition of free speech;
“Say or do anything you want as long as it does not infringe on the rights or present personal danger to others. Suffer the consequences and reactions to your excersize of free speech.”
Unless you can demonstrate that the defendant is guilty of either of those two items, anything you say is BS or sophistry.
Assuming that a crime has been committed is soo much a liberal mantra.
IANAL, but reading the the documents makes it look that the municipality is way out of bounds. The only shot they have is if the blogger is the defendant, who then be in contempt of court. That can be determined by the court without the illegal use of a discover subpeona which the township is using.
The legal standard for discovery is that a litigant is allowed to discover anything that is “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissable evidence.” There is zero evidence to indicate the identity of the blogger could lead to evidence and an affidavit which indicates that it won’t. There is no legal basis for this discovery and it is clear it’s an attempt to intimidate the blogger.
Anonymity is often necessary in order to guarantee First Amendment rights. It is a long-held tradition with a history of uncovering government wrongdoing and advancing public discourse. Hamilton, Madison and Jay used it to write the Federalist Papers.
That's not to say that anonymity is absolute, but the government must have a legitimate, overriding need to unmask the anonymous author. Such need does not exist here. The best they can hope for is that the Judge is allowed to know in secrecy and stops the matter if the blogger isn't the defendant. But that's not what the city wants.
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