Justice for Freedom


shutterstock_121239673It’s sometimes difficult to adjudicate the the outer boundaries of freedom of expression — for what it’s worth, I prefer to stake as wide a claim as possible — but there shouldn’t be any disagreement over the protection’s core function: to ensure that citizens’ natural right to publicly and freely comment on public affairs goes unmolested. But in a recent and egregious case covered by the Cato Daily Podcast, Colorado resident Tammy Holland was hauled into civil court not once but twice for taking out a series of newspaper ads regarding Common Core and encouraging her neighbors to educate themselves on the matter and the upcoming school board election.

According to the Institute for Justice — which is representing Holland and has a full summary of her case — almost any allegation of campaign finance impropriety in Colorado automatically results in a court case without any discretion from law enforcement. As IJ puts it, this system effectively gives would-be censors the benefit of the doubt, while putting the burden of proof on speakers. It’s a monstrous and shameful inversion of how our political system is supposed to work.

In By the People, Charles Murray described the Institute for Justice as one of the models for his proposed “Madison Fund.” If you can spare a few dollars, there are few worthier recipients of your money. I just made a small donation myself.

There are 6 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda

    Institute For Justice is one of those organizations that I keep telling myself I ought to send a little money to one day.  They really have done a lot to fight for independent business people who are threatened by state-sanctioned cartels.

    • #1
  2. Barkha Herman Inactive
    Barkha Herman

    I heard that podcast.  Outrageous.  And, yes, I donate to them yearly.

    On an unrelated topic, a young lawyer from Institute for Justice, Allison Daniel will be speaking at an event @ casa Herman.  Rico member PJS will be in attendance.  Anyone in the South Florida are welcome, PM me for details.

    • #2
  3. Bob W Member
    Bob W

    A number of years ago a group of citizens in, I think, California were threatened by HUD with prosecution merely for criticizing a proposed housing development.  This kind of thing needs to be immediately fought back against, and any public official involved (and maybe even private citizen in this case)  should be held personally liable for treble damages/costs.  This is a violation of a civil rights and needs to have the same penalties as violations of other civil rights.

    • #3
  4. Manny Member

    I completely stand with you Libertarians on this.  Freedom of expression is very broad.  If they can allow porn of all things under freedom of expression, then criticizing policy is a no brainer.

    • #4
  5. Bob W Member
    Bob W

    Here’s a link to a paper on the HUD abuses.  Look at page 1232 for the 1993 Berkeley case.


    The Tammy Holland case is about free speech being violated in the name of campaign finance.  But HUD has been doing the same thing in the name of fair housing for a long time.  What’s astonishing is that the free speech violators apparently believe that the right to petition is valid only if your petitioning isn’t motivated by racial animus. There’s no evidence that these people were motivated by that, but that should be an irrelevant consideration in any case.

    • #5
  6. RyanM Member

    Fresh out of law school, I interned for Bill Maurer (who has contributed to Ricochet) at the Institute for Justice. I did a terrible job, displaying both youth and ignorance. But the benefits came years later when I thought back on the experience, after having gained some perspective.

    Well worth it, and I am extremely grateful for the experience, especially knowing that the positives were all one-sided.

    • #6

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.