Professor Roger Alford of Pepperdine University recently published a post, Chief Judge Kozinski on the Death of the First Amendment.
Either Alford misquoted Kozinski or Kozinski went off the deep end.
Alford reports that Kozinski declared that “the First Amendment is dead.”
[F]rom my perspective, the essence of his speech was that, in a day when Internet speech is not capable of suppression, the ability of the First Amendment to have a moderating effect is now gone. What use does a constitutional limitation have on government restrictions on speech when the government no longer has the ability to control speech? (source)
Alford reports that Kozinski’s take on the First Amendment is this: Anonymous whistleblowers, judgment proof and anonymous bloggers, internet political speech, the Streisand Effect, and lesser profits for the corporate media all render the First Amendment obsolete.
Kozinski concluded by saying that we may disagree about whether this new world is better or worse, but there is no question that it is different. The First Amendment presumes that the government has the motive and the means to suppress speech. That no longer holds true today. We live in an age of the late, great First Amendment.
If Alford’s reporting is accurate, Kozinski is proving that he doesn’t have the judgment or intellect to judge a traffic court case. I doubt that the reporting is accurate. Kozinski can’t be that out of touch.
If the First Amendment is obsolete, someone give America’s SLAPP suit victims and obscenity law victims the memo. They will be relieved. Phew… thank god there isn’t any prior restraint in America anymore, eh?
HT to Kevin Wimberly.