Monday, November 03, 2008

Can we find a Democrat in favor of free speech?

The Coalition for America's Families (CFAF) has been running ads criticizing several State Assembly Democrats for supporting "Healthy Wisconsin", the plan by State Senate Democrats to double Wisconsin's taxes to provide universal health care. One Democrat, Mark Radcliffe, went to court to get a restraining order, despite a public statement on the radio in support of Healthy Wisconsin. Radcliffe managed to find a sympathetic Doyle appointee on the bench and was granted his restraining order.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Thomas Lister actually claimed as justification Radcliffe was "put in a box" to make the statement supporting Healthy Wisconsin.

So we have a judge that is willing to shut down free speech just because it made a Democrat uncomfortable. Of course this is unconstitutional and Lister will be overturned on appeal. It may be too late, of course.

But what does it say about Radcliffe that rather than confront political speech with more speech and try to explain his position, he would rather stifle any opposing voices? Legislators, not just the courts, have a responsibility to protect our first amendment rights - even when it is inconvenient for them.