NEW YORK – It was President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, who hired radical regulatory czar Cass Sunstein as a Harvard law professor.
Sunstein, like Kagan, has advocated extraordinary restrictions on speech and expressed extreme views on other topics.
In February 2008, Kagan, as dean of Harvard Law School, announced the arrival at Harvard of Sunstein, then a longtime University of Chicago scholar. Kagan called Sunstein “the preeminent legal scholar of our time.”
WND previously reported Sunstein drew up a “First Amendment New Deal” – a new “Fairness Doctrine” that would include the establishment of a panel of “nonpartisan experts” to ensure “diversity of view” on the airwaves.
WND also reported that in a recently released book, “On Rumors,” Sunstein argued websites should be obliged to remove “false rumors” while libel laws should be altered to make it easier to sue for spreading such “rumors.”
In the 2009 book, Sunstein cited as a primary example of “absurd” and “hateful” remarks, reports by “right-wing websites” alleging an association between President Obama and former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers.
Sunstein also singled out radio talker Sean Hannity for “attacking” Obama regarding the president’s “alleged associations.”
Ayers became a name in the 2008 presidential campaign when it was disclosed he worked closely with Obama for years. Obama also was said to have launched his political career at a 1995 fundraiser in Ayers’ apartment.
Meanwhile, in a lengthy academic paper, Sunstein, argued the U.S. government should ban “conspiracy theorizing,” WND reported.
Among the examples of speech that should be banned, Sustein offered, is advocating that the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud.
Sunstein also recommended the government send agents to infiltrate “extremists who supply conspiracy theories” and disrupt the efforts of the “extremists” to propagate their theories.
Just yesterday, a video at Breitbart.com showed Sunstein proposing that Congress hold hearings about mandates to ensure websites post links to a diversity of views on issues.
Meanwhile, when it comes to other First Amendment issues, Kagan shows strong beliefs for court intervention in speech, going so far as to assert free speech should be weighed against “societal costs.”
She has advocated silencing some kinds of speech, stating, for example, speech that promotes “racial or gender inequality” could be “disappeared.”
In her 1993 article “Regulation of Hate Speech and Pornography After R.A.V,” for the University of Chicago Law Review, Kagan writes: “I take it as a given that we live in a society marred by racial and gender inequality, that certain forms of speech perpetuate and promote this inequality, and that the uncoerced disappearance of such speech would be cause for great elation.”
Also in a 1996 paper, “Private Speech, Public Purpose: The Role of Governmental Motive in First Amendment Doctrine,” Kagan argued it may be proper to suppress speech because it is offensive to society or to the government.
The paper asserted First Amendment doctrine is comprised of “motives and … actions infested with them,” and she goes so far as to claim, “First Amendment law is best understood and most readily explained as a kind of motive-hunting.”
Kagan’s name was also on a brief, United States v. Stevens, dug up by the Washington Examiner, stating: “Whether a given category of speech enjoys First Amendment protection depends upon a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs.”
Kagan’s academic writings are sparse – just nine articles, two of which are book reviews.
Her stand on free speech could become a hot-button issue as the Senate confirmation hearings convene.
With research by Brenda J. Elliott