It Really Is True: A Disturbing Number Of Elected Democrats Don’t Understand Or Support The First Amendment

Do the voters who elect these opponents of democracy understand the implications of what they are doing in states like California, Massachusetts, Washington and, in this case, New York? I hope not. I sincerely hope the voters are just lazy and stupid, not genuinely in favor of curtailing individual rights.

Once again, a judge has had to step in and remind a government that “Congress shall make no law– abridging the freedom of speech” as applied to the states through the 14th Amendment. New York’s dangerously woke governor Kathy Hochul happily signed into law last December “The Hateful Conduct Law,” entitled “Social media networks; hateful conduct prohibited.” She had personally called for the law, declaring that “[o]nline platforms should be held accountable for allowing hateful and dangerous content to spread on their platforms” because the alleged “lack of oversight, transparency, and accountability of these platforms allows hateful and extremist views to proliferate online.”

It is thought control Democrats and progressives like Hochul want, and prosecuting those who “spread” ideas that their mob calls hateful and dangerous is essential to that goal. The law, N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 394-ccc(1)(a) defines  “hateful conduct” as

“[T]he use of a social media network to vilify, humiliate, or incite violence against a group or a class of persons on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

Naturally, since the “beauty part” of such a law for aspiring totalitarians is that all-wise, ever-virtuous overseers like Hochul can decide any conduct or expression is “hateful” if they want to silence and punish the speaker. “Vilification, humiliation, or incitement” is undefined, but if whatever it is is directed toward an individual or group based on their “race”, “color”, “religion”, “ethnicity”, “national origin”, “disability”, “sex”, “sexual” orientation”, “gender identity” or “gender expression,” then it’s illegal.

The law requires all social media companies to have (1) a mechanism for social media users to file complaints about instances of “hateful conduct” and (2) to publish the social media network’s policy for how it will respond to any such complaints.

The law is so wildly and obviously unconstitutional, yet the New York legislature passed it anyway. A first year law student who couldn’t answer a multiple choice question about whether such a law breached basic First Amendment jurisprudence, yet when law professor Eugene Volokh and others challenged the law and saought to block in, the predictably disgusting Above the Law

—where the deranged and racist Elie Mystal once roamed free—condemned Volokh for defending “hate speech”. (Hate speech, as you know if you are reading Ethics Alarms and are older than 10, is just speech that someone hates and wants to censor.) “Trans folks . . . have been suffering the joys of ‘free speech,” bleated ABL, adding, “Those in opposition of the law are clearly grabbing at straws.”

Yes, to these progressives, the right to free expression and free speech is a “straw.”

Well, it was the long straw. Judge Andrew Carter Jr.  enjoined the law in Volokh v. James, and granted a preliminary injunction against it, holding in part,  

“Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate.’” Matal v. Tam (2017).…

The Hateful Conduct Law does not merely require that a social media network provide its users with a mechanism to complain about instances of “hateful conduct”. The law also requires that a social media network must make a “policy” available on its website which details how the network will respond to a complaint of hateful content. In other words, the law requires that social media networks devise and implement a written policy—i.e., speech.

…[T]he Hateful Conduct Law requires a social media network to endorse the state’s message about “hateful conduct”. To be in compliance with the law’s requirements, a social media network must make a “concise policy readily available and accessible on their website and application” detailing how the network will “respond and address the reports of incidents of hateful conduct on their platform.” N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 394-ccc(3). Implicit in this language is that each social media network’s definition of “hateful conduct” must be at least as inclusive as the definition set forth in the law itself. In other words, the social media network’s policy must define “hateful conduct” as conduct which tends to “vilify, humiliate, or incite violence” “on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.” N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 394-ccc(1)(a). A social media network that devises its own definition of “hateful conduct” would risk being in violation of the law and thus subject to its enforcement provision.

Well of course. How could these Democrats pass such a thing and not know it would be struck down? Are they that ignorant? Were they just virtue-signaling for people who think obstructing speech is a virtue? Did they just want to look like they were “doing something,” since Hochul asked for the law in response to the May 14, 2022 mass shooting when a white supremacist killed ten people and wounded three others in Buffalo, New York?

Or just maybe they were practicing until a time came when complicit judges, like those tried at Nuremberg, were installed and ready to allow laws like the “The Hateful Conduct Law” to go into effect across the country?

President Biden just got his one-hundredth judge approved by the narrowly Democratic, pro-censorship Senate.

How many of them, do you think, would approve of  “The Hateful Conduct Law”? Meanwhile, ovine voters look on with their fingers in their noses, shaking their heads and “thinking,” “But Hate speech bad! Why judge not like nice law?”

Prof. Turley put it more delicately in his post about the decision:

“One would hope that citizens would be outraged when their leaders seek to limit their constitutional rights. The opposite will be true. This stinging loss will be met with the appreciation of many in the public for having tried to limit free speech in the name of fighting hate.”

Which is Geena’s cue again…

 

9 thoughts on “It Really Is True: A Disturbing Number Of Elected Democrats Don’t Understand Or Support The First Amendment

  1. Oh, come now.

    There are plenty of people who don’t understand the Constitution.
    There are plenty of people who believe the Democrats when they say they want to save Democracy.
    There are plenty of people who are okay with being spoon-fed lies that the Constitution limits individual liberties of the type that offend the Left.
    There are plenty of people who know perfectly well the Constitution doesn’t forbid so-called hate speech and don’t care because they believe the Constitution is flawed and needs to be revamped for the modern age.
    There are plenty of people naive enough to believe the laws curtailing freedom of speech will never affect them.
    There are plenty of people high up who sign these ridiculous laws so that they can blame so-called right-wing extremist appointees for stopping progress.

    Never underestimate the ignorance of the American public. They know their rights and, even more, know which rights should be denied others.

    Remember. They are the good people.

  2. A law professor had to bring this lawsuit on his own? Where’s the ACLU? I know, probably a silly question, but still. I bet one of the new Joe Biden judges wouldn’t even give the professor standing.

  3. Jack wrote:

    the predictably disgusting Above the Law—where the deranged and racist Elie Mystal once roamed free—condemned Volokh for defending “hate speech”.

    Heh. Well, the guy who wrote that on ATL has this bio:

    Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at cwilliams@abovethelaw.com and by tweet at @WritesForRent.

    Seems to me he should’ve stayed a Memelord, because he clearly didn’t pay attention in law school. More likely, he was able to pass because of his race and affiliations.

    I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised to see the former home of the aforementioned Mystal, who is beyond race-obsessed and in a category all his own when it comes to racialism, would hire a guy like Williams. After all, leftist legal sites positively must have racist black CRT scolds on their payrolls, n’est ce pas?

    How could these Democrats pass such a thing and not know it would be struck down? Are they that ignorant?

    I don’t think so. I think we have seen from the Left today that it isn’t necessarily about passing laws that will survive legal challenges, but rather provide themselves an opportunity for moral outrage against “right-wing” judges who actually try to defend the Constitution as their oath requires. That outrage is what gets all the media play, and they expect (and I think they are more right than wrong) to change hearts and minds. To them, losing is just a slower form of winning.

    The exact same thing is playing out in Illinois with their newly-passed assault weapons ban, where a judge has demanded that the AG or whoever is defending the law provide an example of each and every gun or part of gun banned by the new law.

    I can’t wait to see them try — the law is so broad it even bans some common shotguns and .22 rifles.

    In the end, these states all know exactly what they are doing. They further know that the chance their law will survive scrutiny is almost nil. But either way, they get to demagogue the legal system and the “right wing” for the deaths that their own failure to enforce existing law is complicit in producing. Or in the case of New York, they get to further decry the right for “protecting hate speech.” It may be a legal loss, but either way, it’s a political win — they will either successfully ban [insert liberal bugbear here], or they will have been thwarted by the evil right wing and their corrupt judges.

  4. It must be written again that the state generally has no business on whether or not the owner of a web site refuses to remove content.

    Content that “vilif[ies, humiliat[es], or incite[s] violence” are not exceptions (though of course if the incitement meets the Brandenburg standard, the author of the incitement is subject to lawsuit and prosecution)

    As such, a web site refusing to remove “there is no God”, “the Roman Catholic Church is the one true church”, or “Sunni Islam is the real Islam” is not the state’s business, even if it violates the web site’s own Terms of Service.

  5. “Congress shall make no law–– abridging the freedom of speech” means about as much as ‘shall not be infringed’. The courts have so routinely allowed unconstitutional and illegal activities that this is not unusual. All the Affirmative Action programs violate the law, but the courts draw up programs to form ‘allowable’ violations of the law as long as you have ‘reasons’ and follow guidelines on how to violate the law.

    I think the Supreme Court is on the verge of irrelevance. There were several rulings on New York’s gun laws and they just ignored them. States are blatantly ignoring Supreme Court rulings on firearms. The ATF was old they couldn’t make laws and they just went ahead and did it anyway. The ATF is now saying that the things they stated were legal in written opinions are now illegal retroactively (if you bought an arm-braced pistol right after the ATF written decision that they were legal, you now have committed a felony). In addition, the ATF is requiring you to send pictures as proof of your crime to have a chance of given amnesty. If they don’t process your amnesty application within 90 days, you are guilty and you gave them the evidence. Oh, and they are using an “Its illegal if we say its illegal” standard for what is illegal. There are no written guidelines for which of the possible 40 million items is now illegal, despite the Heller rule that you can’t ban any gun in common use. No one cares anymore. Congress members openly state that they are trying to ban guns BECAUSE they are in common use and violate Heller. What is the Supreme Court going to do? Issue another toothless ruling, carefully tailored not to upset the bureaucracy too much?

    Yes, the Democrat do understand the First Amendment, they are just firmly against it, and the rest of the civil rights. They are basically against freedom, and I think they always have been. They are passing these laws because this has worked in the past. In the years while these cases wind their ways through the courts, the laws are enforced. When (or if) they are struck down, the government will just pass another one and let it go through the system (where it is enforced). This has stripped 1st Amendment right from most college students in this country for several decades. Why not apply it to the rest of us? It is a proven system that works.

    Unless the Supreme Court finally grows a spine and outlaws these unconstitutional agencies outright (provoking a Constitutional Crisis) or we start treating people who don’t value the freedoms the Constitution endorses as evil, nothing will change. I mean, the FBI is putting people on the “No Fly List’ as ‘domestic terrorists’ for opposing pornography in schools now.

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