Modern-day Democrats, such as Governor Michelle Grisham of New Mexico (pictured), have little interest in following the Constitution unless they can use it as a cudgel to prove Donald Trump and all Republicans who voted for him are insurrectionists, fascists, or authoritarians. Photo credit: AFP/Saul Loeb via Getty Images
In two recent events, a Circuit Court ruling from New Orleans and an emergency measure authorization in New Mexico, Democrats once again proved that their fidelity to the Constitution peaks when Republicans are in power and becomes sacrosanct when Donald Trump is involved. Otherwise, they treat it as modeling clay that they can shape and mold into whatever they deem lawful.
Let’s start with the ruling from a three-judge panel in Louisiana. The ruling upheld a July 4 finding that the Biden Administration and its various departments had acted to suppress free speech in attempting to restrict “misinformation” on social media platforms.
Next, consider Governor Michelle Grisham of New Mexico. In her desperation to do something, as Democrats often nag, Grisham decided it would be a good idea to unilaterally suspend the Second Amendment of the Constitution for 30 days because she believed the slaughter of children in her jurisdiction would pause if gun owners temporarily disarmed. One wonders how the Left would feel about a Red State governor suspending abortion laws for 30 days because that would stop the slaughter of the unborn. As John Podhoretz of Commentary Magazine put it, “There is a war on the First Amendment out of the White House and a war on the Second Amendment coming from Albuquerque. It is not a good look.”
Steven Lee Myers, writing in the NY Times, gave what can only be called a charitable and leftist take on the ruling in New Orleans, grudgingly admitting “that the Biden administration most likely overstepped the First Amendment by urging the major social media platforms to remove misleading or false content about the Covid-19 pandemic, partly upholding a lower court’s preliminary injunction in a victory for conservatives.”
Interesting that Myers would call the suppression of free speech an overstep. There was a time when liberals of all shades believed in the purity of free speech, not the “steps” taken to abridge it. As for urging, the ruling found that the FBI, the CDC, and the Surgeon General’s office did much more than urge. They interfered with free speech, preventing United States citizens from sharing information or hearing about findings and observations that may have contradicted official government messaging.
The modern-day Democratic Party has little interest in following the Constitution unless they can use it as a cudgel to prove Donald Trump and all Republicans who voted for him are insurrectionists, fascists, or authoritarians. The finger-waving lectures from the Left about the threats that Republicans pose to democracy lose all credence when rulings like this come down. They shed light on the fact that when a crisis erupts, Democrats rush to censor, abridge speech, and quash dissent. In commenting on what the judges had said, Myers reported, “The ruling, by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, was another twist in a First Amendment case that has challenged the government’s ability to combat false and misleading narratives about the pandemic, voting rights and other issues that spread on social media.”
The Times taking the awkward position that the government should be in the business of determining what is appropriate information and what is unacceptable collides with the idea of a free citizenry being able to decide what they believe to be true. If people get suckered into something they read online that is their right. There exists no law that prevents people from accessing information, reading it, processing it, and drawing conclusions. Who in the name of Adams, Madison, or Jefferson decided that bureaucrats in the CDC, the FBI, or the White House should decide what information best reflects the truth?
On the Commentary podcast for September 10, the gang took up the cause. Christine Rosen of the American Enterprise Institute referred to journalists like Bari Weiss on Substack, who reported about the suppression of information on Twitter and other social media sites. Besides the fact the government should not be doing this, Matthew Continetti, also of AEI, pointed out that the White House happily suppressed valid information, not misinformation or disinformation – things like the origins of COVID, the vaccine’s efficacy, and matters relating to Hunter Biden’s laptop. Any of these manipulations were partisan, political, and in opposition to the Constitutional rights of all citizens. It would not be the first time a government tried to justify authoritarian practices for a higher cause. Sadly, the higher purpose in this instance proved to be political power, government mandate, and an elitist notion of superior thinking. The Myers article again reveals this distinctly in the following paragraph:
Government officials have long argued that they do not have the authority to order posts or entire accounts removed from the platforms, which private companies control. They have worked with the tech giants, however, to take action against illegal or harmful material, especially in cases involving child sexual abuse, human trafficking, and other criminal activity. That has also included regular meetings to share information on the Islamic State and other terrorist groups.
In what world, one could ask, do Islamic terrorists or criminals perpetrating abuses against children have free speech rights? This inclusion gives credence to the idea that the Left does not understand free speech. The First Amendment protects opinions absolutely. Even, I might add, the yelling of “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, as reprehensible as that might be.
A health emergency, in effect, allowed public officials to suspend ordinary rules of American Civil Life as they might be in wartime. Inarguably, during times of war, restraining free speech occurs. In a pandemic killing less than one per cent of the people, interfering with free speech looks contrived. The effort to diminish this undertaking only highlights the progressive Left’s interest in squashing views inconsistent with their ideological priorities. As a result, a madness developed.
Things like washing groceries, closing restaurants to 25 per cent occupancy, social distancing, and wearing masks outside, not based on science, but feeding the ideological and political priors of the party in power became standard misinformation fare. It probably explains why the judge called it the “most massive attack against free speech in the United States’ history.” Something the Appeals Court did not challenge.
Blocking a writer like Alex Berenson from publishing an article was not enough. He had to be de-platformed and provided no forum. At one time, the civil religion of Democrats included the First Amendment. Who remembers the attack on Tipper Gore when she spoke out against rock music lyrics? Now, the Left, including the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), wants to squash the free speech of anyone who says anything in opposition to trans rights.
As for Governor Grisham of New Mexico, she faced the consequences of her actions almost immediately. A judge granted a temporary restraining order against Grisham’s order in Albuquerque, interrupting the fantasy that the Second Amendment only exists when liberals nod approval. Using a recent spate of shootings, including that of an 11-year-old, Governor Grisham decided that gun laws had to be modified. No evidence exists that the open gun or concealed gun laws contributed to the shootings.
Grisham’s reflex to lock down on guns reveals a Democratic prejudice. In the face of increased violence, why not crack down on lawlessness and prosecute more vigorously? Instead, populations not responsible for the breakdown in law and order are punished, while the perpetrators continue to do so.
The Supreme Court spoke about this in New York in the last year. In a case somewhat parallel to this one, the Second Amendment prevailed. Even liberals quickly acknowledged Grisham had exceeded her power. A health and political emergency (the threat of Donald Trump) has driven the liberal elite to some questionable actions. Think back to 2013, when Barack Obama decided the government could not wait for immigration legislation when the Republicans took control of Congress. After announcing he could not legalize the Dreamers and the people under DACA, he proceeded to do so. Courts struck him down, but this seeded the ground for Donald Trump to threaten to suspend the Constitution when he claimed election fraud. Sadly, this continues in New Mexico, where Governor Grisham thinks treating the Constitution as a personal menu is viable.
Why did she not enforce laws and send bad people to jail? One can assume that slams into liberal dogma. The idea that constitutional practice can be fluid, like marriage, gender, and many other formerly standard customs, should result as no surprise in this age of accommodation. The incontrovertible wording in the Constitution stands as the bulwark against these unwanted advancements to change or turn the nation’s founding document into a file ready to be modified, altered, or adapted as needed in a pinch. Perhaps liberals learned a small lesson this month on why courts still matter. And why constitutions are not something with which to be trifled.
Dave Redekop is a retired elementary resource teacher who now works part-time at the St. Catharines Courthouse as a Registrar. He has worked on political campaigns since high school and attended university in South Carolina for five years, where he earned a Master’s in American History with a specialization in Civil Rights. Dave loves reading biographies.