No free speech for New Jersey?

This is just insane:

Besides all of the obvious loopholes (I’ve identified at least a half-dozen in my two reads of this proposed legislation), this bill is lame on so many levels– and I mean a lot more than the below-average writing skills.

Where does New Jersey think they get the right to restrict speech in the context of interstate commerce? As long as we’ve got this governmental system based on crappy precedent (pronounced “some dude’s opinion”), the states are stuck. The current interpretation of the 14th amendment forces the states to incorporate all of the amendments– founding fathers’ intentions be damned. As long as they are a state, they can’t restrict speech. Period.

Placing a requirement for individuals to provide personally identifiable information to a non-governmental third-party in order for those individuals to exercise their constitutionally protected rights is in fact an abridgement of free speech. Likewise, requiring ‘speech brokers’ like America’s Debate to maintain specific records related to those who participate at their sites establishes a greater restriction upon assembly than is permissible under the first amendment, which stipulates that assemblies only need be conducted “peaceably” to remain constitutionally protected, with no mention of identifiable registration to be found.

Back to the 14th amendment for a moment– the incorrectly interpreted amendment that it is. If a state decides to place registration requirements upon speech and assembly, and those restrictions somehow were deemed as compliant with the first amendment, then one could argue that the state must place these restrictions upon all forms of opinion dissemination– from talk show callers and letters to the editor, to scratchings on the bathroom wall and those clever “Bush” stickers that occasionally pop up on stop signs, to standing in the street yelling at the top of your lungs. To place registration and record maintenance regulations upon one specific group of people– Internet posters– would in fact be treating specific types of opinions differently under the law.

This bill is a mess. It will never pass. And if it does pass, I’m ignoring it. New Jersey can come and get me.


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