Friday, September 27, 2002
UPDATE: Appeals Court rules against Davis.
Two months ago I predicted that the American Taxpayers Alliance would win on appeal, and now they have.
The ATA had run TV ads attacking Gray Davis for his mishandling of the California energy crisis, but refused to file reports divulging its financial backers. Davis sued and got a Superior Court judge to order the ATA to reveal the information. This was so contrary to previous First Amendment precedents that I couldn't imagine it would hold up. It didn't.
This is exactly why we have a First Amendment: So people can be free to criticize government officials without worrying about retribution. Does anyone doubt that our corrupt governor would retaliate against his enemies with all the power he had, if only he knew who to target? In fact Davis' lawsuit itself was a form of retaliation, intended to drain ATA's money into legal fees instead of more TV ads. That's why the First Circuit Court dismissed it under the anti-SLAPP ("Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation") law.
I love it when I'm right. It helps (just a little) to average out all my bad predictions.