Hoosier free speech threat draws full-spectrum opposition
James Bopp is a member of the Republican National Committee and the lawyer whose legal work tore away limits on corporate campaign contributions. Sheila S. Kennedy is a law professor at IUPUI and former executive director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union.
For the most part, Bopp is a die-hard conservative and Kennedy a liberal.
In the politics makes strange bedfellows department, it gets even stranger than Bopp and Kennedy joining the same side. In their company are the right-wing Eagle Forum, Phyllis Schlafly’s pro-family organization; the Indiana Association of Scholars; the Indiana Coalition on Open Government; the Hoosier State Press Association; and NUVO, the Indianapolis alternative weekly newspaper, among others.
What do the people and groups representing widely divergent points of view agree on? That a Hoosier court went too far in convicting a blogger of obstruction of justice, intimidation of a judge and perjury for his harsh online criticisms of a judge hearing his divorce and child custody case.
UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, who writes the popular Volokh Conspiracy blog, joined with Bopp and another lawyer to file a friend of the court brief on behalf of the people and groups listed above asking the Indiana Supreme Court to hear the appeal of Dan Brewington of Dearborn County. If his conviction is allowed to stand, the brief argues, then much criticism of legislators, executive officials, judges, businesspeople, and others – whether by newspapers, advocacy groups, politicians, or other citizens – would be punishable.