Friday, November 17, 2006

Bellevue’s Second Amendment Foundation, by way of ACLU, seeks injunction against Washington libraries

The ACLU has filed a complaint against the North Central Regional Library District (Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, and Okanogan Counties) on behalf of, among others, the Second Amendment Foundation. The complaint alleges the library district violates the First Amendment and Wash. Const. art. I, § 5 by refusing to remove filters for adults engaged in gun-related research. Specifically, the SAF is peeved that the website is blocked.

Plaintiff Charles Heinlen is a fan of both women and guns. He complains the library district's policy has prevented him from accessing "various dating sites, publications such as Soldier of Fortune Magazine, [and] the Web log (or “blog”) that he maintains at"

They want an injunction and, by my unrefined understanding, ought to get it--i.e., at least as to art. I, § 5 and presuming they've got their facts straight.

I’m reading the Volokh Conspiracy, it's true.

1 comment:

Orrin Johnson said...

How a library limiting even "legitimate" websites violates either Constitution is beyond me. Forcing Mr. Heinlen to buy his own computer to hook up with gun totting chicks does notequate to the government "abridging" his freedom to speak or assemble, nor does it deny him the right to "freely speak, write and publish on all subjects," as the Washington Constitution requires. If it did, then those clauses would require the libraries to carry every book ever published, or risk a claim of censorship.

The government cannot deny you your right to speak or publish, but it is under no obligation to build your soapbox or buy you a printing press, either. The libraries have made an administrative choice to provide limited internet services. If they chose to provide none at all, the Constitution would not be implicated in the least. (The government isn't even under any obligation to build a library!)

How sad would it be if the ultimate outcome of this kind of litigation would be for smaller libraries to unplug altogehter to avoid having to pay for lawyers instead of more books?

Mr. Heinlen is no less free now than he was before the library purchased their computers. He is not entitled to use the People's money when those People have already determined (through their representatives) what they are willing to spend that money on. Like most ACLU litigation, this is Big Government Coercion cloaked in Libertarian Disguise. It forces 100% of taxpayers to pay for something a majority of them do not want.