a great idea to silence anonymous speech by way of an official state bill that read in part like this: "Creates the Internet Posting Removal Act. Provides that a web site administrator shall, upon request, remove any posted comments posted by an anonymous poster unless the anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate"
Ira should have known better, we, the people of the State of Illinois have every right to expect that he should have known better than to even attempt this! Here is a verbatim copy of Ira's biography: "Attorney; Degrees from Loyola University in 1982 and John Marshall Law School in 1985; past President of the Northtown Community Council; board member of the Korean Senior Center; member of the Greek Pan-Hellenic Laconian organization; Director of the Bernard Horwich JCC; married (wife, Debra), has four children."
Ira's excuse for attempting to silence the people of his state was said by him to have been an effort to protect children and introduce New York's similar bill. But, wait a moment! If Silverstein pulled the bill, why does the Illinois General Assembly site show the bill has been referred to the Assignments Committee? Maybe the State Senate is terribly embarrassed by Ira Superdunce, and so they don;t want it to read that the bill has been removed? OR are they re-wording the bill so as to re-introduce it?
Either way, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it very clear that anonymous speech is indeed protected: "Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society." McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, 514 U.S. 334 (1995)
Further, SCOTUS also says this: "an author's decision to remain anonymous . . . is an aspect of the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment." This is because "the interest in having anonymous works enter the marketplace of ideas unquestionably outweighs any public interest in requiring disclosure as a condition of entry." The Supreme Court has also held that there is "no basis for qualifying the level of First Amendment scrutiny that should be applied to . . . [the Internet] medium." Accordingly, "[i]t is clear that speech over the internet is entitled to First Amendment protection" and that "[t]his protection extends to anonymous internet speech."
See the IT Law Center for more, to include Applicable Tests.
From the Electronic Frontier Foundation, we have this bit that speaks volumes in itself:
"The tradition of anonymous speech is older than the United States. Founders Alexander Hamilton James Madison and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers under the pseudonym "Publius " and "the Federal Farmer" spoke up in rebuttal. The US Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized rights to speak anonymously derived from the First Amendment."
Shortwave America urges everyone in the State of Illinois to contact the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to demand that Ira Silverstein be properly disciplined, even if that means revocation of his law license. The people of the State of Illinois should NEVER ONCE tolerate or forgive ANY elected or appointed official's actions when such actions are so grossly out of line as to violate the constitution or the bill of rights at the state or federal level!!
Ira Silverstein, this author, as one of the people of the State of Illinois on behalf of fellow state residents, demand that you resign from Illinois law and Illinois politics altogether for your attempt at such a grievous and unethical act! You truly need to go back to law school, that much is a fact! where were your brains and common sense, Ira? Did you have a "God" moment? Maybe you thought you were a hero of some sort? Thought you would throw your weight around? You likely know that none of us buy your "someone think of the children" story! While cyber-bullying or bullying of any sort is not acceptable in the least, squelching freedom of speech is never an answer!
YOU, Ira Silveratein, at least for the time being, are a public official who is held to public ridicule and are at all times, a target for public discourse. Even with all of the above information being true, Ira, no one in the public eye has any right to not be offended, that right simply doesn't exist. No one participating in public discourse has a right to not be offended. The distinction of this from bullying is that bullying actually has the aim of committing grievous harm to a particular victim, whereas simply being offensive can and usually is aimed at public government officials or other people in a general sense without any real threat to anyone.
In closing, the problem, Ira, is that you apparently don't have the intelligence to think like that and to define things in proper context. This is what makes YOU a dunce, an ignoramus, a worthless low life! You really should leave politics and law to those who hold real competence.
The public can contact the less than honorable Ira Silverstein:
|Senator 8th District|
|501A Capitol Building|
|Springfield, IL 62706|
|(217) 782-5340 FAX|
|2951 West Devon|
|Chicago, IL 60659|
|(773) 743-4750 FAX|