Tennessee Law Nullifies First Amendment Right of Free Speech

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More creeping Big-Brother state.

The state of Tennessee just passed a law that criminalizes free speech if an image posted online causes “emotional distress” to someone.

Randy of Patriot Action Network alerts us to a new law in Tennessee which makes it a crime to “transmit or display an image” online that is likely to “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress” to someone who sees it.

Violations can get you almost a year in jail time or up to $2500 in fines.

Shame on you, Bill Haslam

The ban on distressing images, which was sponsored by Democrat Rep. Charles Curtis and signed by Republican Gov. William Edward “Bill” Haslam last week, is an update to an existing law that already makes it a crime to make phone calls, send emails, or otherwise communicate directly with someone in a manner the sender “reasonably should know” would “cause emotional distress” to the recipient. If the communication lacks a “legitimate purpose,” the sender faces jail time.

The new legislation adds images to the list of communications that can trigger criminal liability. But the “emotionally distressed” individual needs not be even be the intended recipient. Anyone who sees the image is a potential victim. If a court decides you “should have known” that an image you posted would be upsetting to someone who sees it, you can face months in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

If you think the law sounds unconstitutional, you’re right. The Tennessee law is a gross violation of our First Amendment free speech right.

In a blog post, constitutional scholar Eugene Volokh points out just how broad the Tennessee legislation is. The law doesn’t require that the picture be of the “victim,” nor would the government need to prove that you intended the image to be distressing. Volokh points out that a wide variety of images, “pictures of Mohamed, or blasphemous jokes about Jesus Christ, or harsh cartoon insults of some political group,” could “cause emotional distress to a similarly situated person of reasonable sensibilities,” triggering liability. He calls the bill “pretty clearly unconstitutional.”

This legislation must be overturned and fast.

Can you just see Muslim Brotherhood groups like CAIR, ISNA, and ICNA using this unConstitutional law to silence, intimidate, and punish critics of jihadists?

[Original source: https://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/06/new-tenness…]


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22 responses to “Tennessee Law Nullifies First Amendment Right of Free Speech

  1. Wow, of course this idiocy must be overturned immediately…but in the meantime…..EVERY image of Obama causes me “emotional distress” I wonder, would I have a case?

  2. e-mail for Tenn.Gov-bill.haslam@tn.gov

  3. Actually…every image of Obama not only causes me distress…but nausea and sickness…as well as hearing his voice. Every politician that circumvents the Constitution causes me DEEP distress, fear for my life, for the lives of my children and grandchildren and their freedom.

  4. 10 to 1 that all the complaints of such verbal and visual atrocities will be from Gays, libs and Muslims and the accusers will be all conservatives. Thank you Dems and Governor RINO our country could not go to hell without ya!

  5. I’m really not sure I even recognize this country anymore. 🙁


  6. lowtechgrannie

    Tennessee must have a huge budget surplus if it can afford to incarcerate all the offenders. Doesn’t it cost in the ballpark of $30,000 per prisoner per year?

    Does that law also apply to broadcast media and print news organizations?

    What about pictures by Pro-life organizations and Gay Pride events?

    What about people like Weiner?

  7. Who gets to define “emotional distress”?

  8. I’m center-left and this law is absolutely, categorically disgusting. I hope that everyone involved in passing this law gets torn apart by attack ads next election season.

    I’m glad this law is something that almost everyone from across the political spectrum can oppose. Who is supporting this law, anyway? Just politicians who don’t read what they sign?

  9. The article mentioned Christians and Muslims but what about the Ashkenazim so-called Jews that are behind every bit of hate crime legislation even though they are the most hate-filled, racist groups of all. Don’t believe it?? Then do the research on quotes by their leadership for the past few centuries and the source of their using anti-Semitic as a trigger term based solely on a false premise.

  10. gee more hope and change… can we as a people (americans) assimilate much more of this garbage? revolution is in the air. when stupid policies are routinely passed and legislated against the greater good eventually the back of the camel will break polictal correctness must go. affirmative action must go. racial quotas must go.. one nation under god . not many nations with no god.. the hyphen must go you are either an american or not…. hate crime is nothing but an oxymoron all crimes have some level of hate involved

  11. I keep expecting the cops to come to my house to search for number 2 pencils.

  12. Pingback: posted online causes “emotional distress” | yeoldecrabb

  13. They have already stripped our school age students of their rights. My son was suspended from school because he would not argue with the principal. He was told his rights stopped at the school doors and any rights that he may retain could be set aside or waived by the school acting as the parents when they are on school property and in the future he would obey any order the principal gave hin @ “her school”. I intend to fight this to the end until the law is changed with any methods the law will allow. P.S. the principal will be moving to Science Hill High School for the next school year

  14. the guy needs some rope…no doubt


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