Obama’s AG choice: Regulate Internet communication

posted at 10:34 am on November 21, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Danny Glover at Eyeblast reveals a nine-year-old NPR interview with Eric Holder regarding how the government needs to regulate Internet communications.  The rumored front-runner for Attorney General told NPR that the Columbine killers may have found some of their venom through Internet access, as well as a bomb recipe or two. If the government can regulate pornography, Holder insisted while serving as Deputy AG during the Clinton administration, surely the government can restrict speech in general:

My friend Kerry Picket has the transcript at Newsbusters:

The court has really struck down every government effort to try to regulate it. We tried with regard to pornography. It is gonna be a difficult thing, but it seems to me that if we can come up with reasonable restrictions, reasonable regulations in how people interact on the Internet, that is something that the Supreme Court and the courts ought to favorably look at. – May 28, 1999 NPR Morning Edition

Pardon me, but I’m looking at the First Amendment (in my official Robert Byrd Pocket Constitution, natch), and I’m a bit confused. Where in this statement does it say that the government has the authority to impose “reasonable restrictions” on speech?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.  That appears rather clear.  It doesn’t authorize “reasonable restrictions”, or “reasonable regulations”, or what Holder really wants, “reasonable federal censorship”.

We apparently will have an incoming administration blissfully ignorant of the Constitution they will swear to defend.  Barack Obama couldn’t articulate a coherent statement on gun rights despite his supposed status as a Constitutional scholar, Joe Biden couldn’t figure out what Article I actually establishes, and now Eric Holder hasn’t read the First Amendment.  Maybe we should pass out more of those Robert Byrd Pocket Constitutions during the transition, and hold a test before Inauguration Day.

Anyone want to guess what form those “reasonable restrictions” might be?  Perhaps, say, regulating content in the blogosphere?  I’m guessing that will be Target One for the Holder-run DoJ.


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