Wednesday, May 6, 2015


As the valiant M-Razz persists in his efforts to preserve the integrity of anti-SLAPP legislation in the Silver State, consider the ongoing strife weathered by Cody Wilson. Mr. Wilson posted instructions on how to 3D print a single-use firearm. The State Department ordered the materials taken down under international arms trafficking regulations.Bless his heart, but he's fighting them with a 1A defense.

I'm sure I needn't remind you that SLAPP stands for "strategic lawsuit against public participation." A SLAPP suit is tort action designed to get someone to cease and desist by tying them up in an expensive, time-consuming legal proceeding. Most folks would sensibly cease and/or desist in otherwise protected critical speech if it meant avoiding the harrying frustrations of an encounter with the state's justice system. Enter anti-SLAPP. Prominent defenders of speech (I loathe the term 'free speech' more with each passing day) like Randazza or Ken White at Popehat or others in my 1A twitter blawgophere favor harsh penalties for vexatious litigants.

I too favor harsh penalties for vexatious litigants. However, the most vexatious of all are overambitious law enforcement agencies with scant regard for constitutional jurisprudence. Prenda or Roca Labs might end up in hot water for frivolously seeking to silence people they don't like, but it'll be a cold day in hell when State Department officials face the same administration of justice. Furthermore, that's a feature of the sovereign immunity doctrine. The public has no interest in law enforcement agencies scared of their own shadow. I submit for your consideration that the problem with state-sponsored harassment of Mr. Wilson lies not with executive function, but with the malcompetent ambitions of legislators so eager to appear "productive" that they pass rafts of poorly-considered, incoherent, unnecessary legislation to appeal to ill-informed, irrational constituents to cement their tenure and guarantee their legacies. Substantive due process in the legislature is an impediment to having a library named after you someday.

Anti-SLAPP statutes go a long way towards making public participation more euvoluntary. Pity we can't take the last few tottering steps and constrain the wild ambitions of the sovereign while we're at it. #BTFSTTFG

No comments:

Post a Comment

Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?