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June 2004



Judge rules for free speech; Istook vows fight to eliminate it

In tomorrow’s Washington Post: Judge Voids Law Against Drug Ads On Metro

A federal law aimed at keeping advertisements critical of national drug policy out of Metro stations and bus shelters illegally chills free speech and cannot stand, a federal judge ruled yesterday

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman barred the U.S. government from enforcing a law passed by Congress this year that calls for denying federal transportation money to any transit system that accepts ads promoting the legalization of drugs. …

“Congress . . . cannot prohibit advertisements supporting legalization of a controlled substance while permitting those that support tougher drug sentences,” the judge said. He called the law “an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’ broad spending power.”

My earlier posts on this are here, here, and here (reverse chronological order). The idiot that got this all started was Ernest Istook, Moron First Class from Oklahoma.
I’m still trying to decide if Istook is just that stupid, or if he’s actively attempting to subvert the Constitution of the United States.
Today’s ruling didn’t slow him down:

“I’m confident that ultimately the courts will agree with the long-standing principle that Congress is free to decide what we will or will not fund,” Istook said. “We provide major funding to combat drug use, and tax dollars should not be used to subsidize contrary messages.”

He’ll have a hard time convincing the courts. The judge’s opinion (available at Change the Climate specifically stated:

There can be no legitimate argument that the government is “speaking” through its funding of capital improvements to mass transit facilities or that the grant of funds for mass transit is “designed” to facilitate private speech.


The government has articulated no legitimate state interest in the suppression of this particular speech other than the fact that it disapproves of the message, an illegitimate and constitutionally impermissible reason. …
Just as Congress could not permit advertisements calling for the recall of a sitting Mayor or Governor while prohibiting advertisements supporting retention, it cannot prohibit advertisements supporting legalization of a controlled substance while permitting those that support tougher drug sentences.

Now it’s time for someone to send the bill for the costs of this court case to Istook. I don’t want to have to pay for his violation of his oath of office.

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