Status: Not Logged In; Sign In

Dead Constitution
See other Dead Constitution Articles

Title: Alex Jones and the Freedom of Speech
Source: [None]
URL Source: ... nes-and-the-freedom-of-speech/
Published: Oct 20, 2022
Author: Andrew P. Napolitano
Post Date: 2022-10-20 19:33:35 by Ada
Keywords: None
Views: 41
Comments: 2

“Congress shall make no law abridging … the freedom of speech.” — First Amendment to the Constitution

The iconic language of the First Amendment can be recited by schoolchildren, yet it is ignored by judges in Connecticut when the speech has been uttered by Alex Jones.

Since the modern interpretations of the First Amendment began in the late 1960s, opinions on matters of public interest have been protected speech, so long as some reasons for the opinions were articulated. The reasons can be inaccurate, and the opinions can be wild, bizarre or irrational. But if it is an opinion, it is protected speech — except in Connecticut and except if the speaker is Alex Jones.

Here is the backstory.

The tragedy of Sandy Hook — in which a young madman used his parents’ rifle to slaughter 20 schoolchildren and six adults before killing himself — is a lifelong horror for the surviving family members and their friends. This tragedy is also a matter of public interest implicating the right to keep and bear arms, school security, mental health and free speech.

When the First Amendment was ratified, America was a bold experiment in personal liberty. Yet, the First Amendment only restrained Congress. After the Civil War amendments were added to the Constitution, the courts interpreted the 14th Amendment so as to apply the First Amendment to the states as well.

Stated differently, in modern free speech jurisprudence, the First Amendment prohibits all branches of government — legislative, executive and judicial — and all governments — local, state and federal — from interfering with or punishing the freedom of speech.

If the First Amendment were repealed, would we have free speech?

Those who believe that the law is only what is written down — called positivism — would say no. Those who believe that our immutable rights come from our humanity — called Natural Law theory — would say that we are naturally free whether the Constitution recognizes it or not. We all need to recognize the dangers of a state judiciary that writes down a negation of a fundamental liberty — expressing an opinion — by calling it a non-opinion.

That’s what happened to Alex Jones.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, Jones opined that it did not happen as the press and the government related it; that it was a set-up by anti- gun activists using actors and props. He persisted in this and offered snippets of odd behavior by the participants in order to cast doubt on the official version of events. The government lies all the time, he argued.

His speech was absolutely protected under modern jurisprudence.

The controlling Supreme Court case is Brandenburg v. Ohio, which teaches that all innocuous public speech about matters of public interest is absolutely protected — even opinion, allegory and satire — and all speech is innocuous when there is time for more speech to challenge it. When the parents of the murdered children sued Jones for defamation and mental distress, Jones moved to dismiss the complaints.

When a motion to dismiss is filed, the courts must rule quickly on the law. They must answer the question: Assuming all the allegations are true, does the complaint state a valid, lawful, constitutional claim? The judge to whom these cases were assigned did not rule quickly. She improperly ordered discovery — an exchange of documents between the litigants — prior to ruling on the motion to dismiss.

This was a cardinal error and utterly unnecessary as, in a motion to dismiss, the judicial mind assumes that discovery will show that the plaintiffs’ allegations are supported. When the plaintiffs’ attorneys claimed that they found child pornography among the digitized documents that Jones’ attorneys had sent them, Jones accused the plaintiffs’ attorneys of planting it.

The court was so outraged — not at the presence of child pornography, but at Jones’ allegations about the plaintiffs’ lawyers — that it summarily denied Jones’ motion to dismiss by ignoring the teaching of Brandenburg and doing George Orwell one better by characterizing Jones’ opinions as “non-opinions.”

When Jones declined to supply more discovery than he actually had, this same judge ruled as a matter of law that Jones’ non-opinions had harmed the plaintiffs, and the only issues remaining in the cases addressed the amount of damages Jones owed them. In a tendentious opinion, more conclusory than reasoned, the Supreme Court of Connecticut agreed.

Thus, Jones’ two recent trials addressed his wealth, not his liability. He was ordered to pay more than $1 billion.

This is a profound injustice to Alex Jones and to all who are engaged in the opinion business; and it begs for a reversal.

If the First Amendment means what it says, if no government can abridge the freedom of speech, if the 14th Amendment means what it says and the states may not take anyone’s life, liberty or property without due process, if due process means a fair ruling on the merits, then Alex Jones has not had his day in court, and the courts in Connecticut — where his judicial demonization was met with public approval — have emasculated his basic constitutional rights.

In all other states, expressions of opinions on matters of public interest are absolutely protected as natural rights and viewed as a means of challenging those discussing all sides of public issues. Only in Connecticut has a court system summarily — without a trial and in defiance of precedent — declared an opinion to be a non-opinion, thereby stripping a litigant of his natural and constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

For those who value freedom, this is a time to recall Voltaire: “I disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.” Alex Jones has the largest viewership in the podcast world — larger than the television networks. Now we know what government does to silence its most effective critic.

Post Comment   Private Reply   Ignore Thread  

TopPage UpFull ThreadPage DownBottom/Latest

#1. To: Ada (#0)

Given all the things shown about this case, I have doubts if anyone was actually killed. Sandy Hoax along with the shit show in Florida where Dumbo Ears Retard got life in prison screamed OP to me. One being completely farcical and one being absolutely contemptible. Much like the Uvalde Shooting the Florida shooting had undertones of being allowed to happen. I still have no faith that anything is real with regards to any of these mass shootings. I live in an area where in the last month, shootings have escalated to the point to where I don’t needs to wonder why the cops are flying through my area with their lights and sirens. Just today there were two shootings not more than 4 blocks from me. Of course nobody arrested, nobody saw anything.

I have more or less resigned myself to the fact that all of the violence is going to continue until the people demand their rights taken away, or stand up and run every last gang banger and every traitorous democrat out of town. Because I am telling you folks, things are getting to where you can’t walk a block without worrying about catching a bullet.

"Call Me Ishmael" -Ishmael, A character from the book "Moby Dick" 1851. "Call Me Fishmeal" -Osama Bin Laden, A character created by the CIA, and the world's Hide And Seek Champion 2001-2011. -Tommythemadartist

TommyTheMadArtist  posted on  2022-10-20   20:17:12 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: TommyTheMadArtist (#1)

Because I am telling you folks, things are getting to where you can’t walk a block without worrying about catching a bullet.

Diversity is our strength, Tommy. What normal person doesn't rise each and every morning and declare "This nation would be so much better if only it were more like Somalia"?

“I am not one of those weak-spirited, sappy Americans who want to be liked by all the people around them. I don’t care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do. The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. My affections, being concentrated over a few people, are not spread all over Hell in a vile attempt to placate sulky, worthless shits.” - William S Burroughs

Dakmar  posted on  2022-10-20   20:37:54 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

TopPage UpFull ThreadPage DownBottom/Latest