- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 2, 2017

California may not use a state law to prevent bloggers from publishing the home addresses of state legislators, a federal judge ruled in court on Monday, CNN reported.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill issued his temporary injunction in a case involving a blogger who published a “tyrant registry” of state legislators who backed a gun control measure calling for a statewide database of ammunition purchases. 

Armed with California Government Code 6254.21(c), a lawyer for the legislators contacted the blog’s hosting company WordPress, demanding the offending web page be taken offline, an order the company quickly complied with, CNN said.

In response, anonymous blogger Publius took his case to court, and for his part, the judge hearing the dispute believes the blogger to have a strong claim.

“At its core, plaintiffs’ speech is a form of political protest,” Judge O’Neill, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote, CNN said. “The court, therefore, finds that the legislators’ home address and telephone number touch on matters of public concern in the context of plaintiff’s speech.”

Judge O’Neill’s order, in effect, while the lawsuit is before the court, is an indication the jurist believes the plaintiff will win his lawsuit on the merits.

“Plaintiffs’ means of protesting the legislation is by compiling their own ‘database’ of the legislators’ residential addresses and phone numbers,” the judge observed in his ruling, according to CNN. “That information is not just integral to their message, it is their message.”

 


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