“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.” — First Amendment to the Constitution
According to Declan McCullagh, Congress refused to act on a law aimed at protecting the First Amendment rights of bloggers. You won’t see me siding with Republicans very often, but if this report is accurate, I’ll take exception to this rule:
In an acrimonious debate that broke largely along party lines, more than three-quarters of congressional Democrats voted to oppose the reform bill, which had enjoyed wide support from online activists and Web commentators worried about having to comply with a tangled skein of rules.
The vote tally in the House of Representatives, 225 to 182, was not enough to send the Online Freedom of Speech Act to the Senate. Under the rules that House leaders adopted to accelerate the process, a two-thirds supermajority was required.
“I’m horribly disappointed that this important measure failed to pass,” said Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn. “This bill was designed to protect the free-speech rights of Americans whose only alleged crime is wanting to use the Internet to express their opinions.”
Since I’ve always been told that Democrats are supposed to be the defenders of our civil liberties, I went looking for some Democratic outrage over this outcome, but couldn’t find it. What’s truly telling is that a search for “Online Freedom of Speech Act” over at DailyKos.com provided the response of “Found 0 results.”