Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Republicans playing with constitutions II

These fools have never heard of Near v. Minnesota

Here are bills proposed by the House and the Senate in the Minnesota Legislature:

The Minnesota House and Senate Agricultural Committees recently introduced bills (HF1369 and SF1118) that would make it illegal to record photographs and audio/video at an "animal facility."

If you check, you’ll see that one of the authors of the Senate bill is Julie Rosen,  who is also carrying the bill to lift the nuclear moratorium. If SF1118 is an example of Rosen’s intellectual wattage, it ought to give you pause about her judgment in matters of the safety of nuclear energy. A law enforcement guy, Bill Ingebritson, is also a sponsor.

In the House, the bill is authored by, inter alia, Tony Cornish, the guy who is willing to lock up ten year olds for life, and the tree hunter, Steve Drazkowski.

The initiatives are, of course, classic prior restraints against speech, because clearly what is sought to be prohibited in the dissemination of information about practices at “animal facilities.” Prior restraints were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Near v. Minnesota, which involved another statute that the Minnesota Legislature passed that tried to restrain the publication of sensationalistic, tabloid newspapers. Near is probably the most famous First Amendment case in American history.

I have written about Near v. Minnesota several times, most recently here. You would think that the boys and girls in the Lege would want to avoid the embarrassment again.

Whether it’s the First Amendment, the Tenth Amendment, or Article XIII of the Minnesota Constitution, Minnesota’s Republican legislators prove over and over again that they don’t have a freakin’ clue.

Update: the quote is from an excellent op-ed in the Strib titled, in the paper edition, anyway, Animal abuse won’t report itself, by Gregory Cruz.

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