Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Showing a stunning disregard for the First Amendment last month U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch acknowledged the Justice Department has asked the FBI to look into whether the disbelieving of the unproven climate change hypothesis by climate skeptics merits prosecution for fraud. In other words the Obama government was trying to scare skeptics into silence.
Thankfully some in our legislature have the guts to respond. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), David Perdue (R-GA), and David Vitter (R-LA) today sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, demanding that the Department of Justice (DOJ) end its use of law enforcement resources against political opponents of President Obama’s energy agenda.
“These actions provide disturbing confirmation that government officials at all levels are threatening to wield the sword of law enforcement to silence debate on climate change,” the letter reads. “As you well know, initiating criminal prosecution for a private entity’s opinions on climate change is a blatant violation of the First Amendment and an abuse of power that rises to the level of prosecutorial misconduct.”
The letter demands that Ms Lynch confirm all investigations into any private individual’s views on climate change end within two weeks and that she promise not to initiate any future such investigations.
“Freedom of thought and inquiry is at the very heart of liberty,” Sen. Cruz said. “Sadly, the Obama administration and its allies in state attorney general offices across the country are threatening to use the power of government to intimidate and ultimately silence companies and researchers who do not agree with the government’s opinions about the allegedly harmful effects of climate change and what should be done about it. This is an abuse of power and a direct assault on the First Amendment. The Obama Justice Department should immediately cease any further consideration of such action and should instead do everything in its power to protect the freedom of thought of all Americans.”
Senator Lee added:
“Threatening prosecution of those who dare to challenge the most outlandish scaremongering by climate activists strikes at the very heart of the Free Speech protections on which this nation was founded, Issuing subpoenas to harass researchers and academics with whom they have communicated, as some state attorneys general offices have done, shows a basic disregard for Americans’ Freedom of Association. The public expects us to prevent such abuses, not perpetrate them. It is our responsibility to contain the inevitable chilling effects by calling for an end to any consideration by the Department of Justice of such harassment at once.”
The Attorney General’s action is a threat to the constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech an an attempt to shut down any debate that does not agree with the opinions of the Obama administration. I cannot think of any action more un-American. Using the power of government to enforce silence is exactly the kind of tyranny the Founders fought against in the revolutionary war and wrote the Bill of Rights to prevent. As Ben Franklin wrote:
Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.
Thankfully there are some Senators trying to protect and save our freedom of speech.
The senators’ letter is embedded below: