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February 01, 2007

SILENCING BLOGGERS IN TENNESSEE? I think that this legislation would probably fail under both the Federal and Tennessee constitutions; requiring publishers to take down content upon an allegation of libel would seem to go beyond the sort of thing already struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in Tornillo, and the Tennessee Constitution is supposedly more protective of free speech than the Federal constitution, though there's not much elaboration on that in the caselaw. The provision would also seem to be preempted by the federal Communications Decency Act.

I have more thoughts on libel, the CDA, and efforts to silence bloggers here. Legal analysis aside, it seems like it's mostly an effort to protect incumbent politicians from scrutiny.

UPDATE: That was fast! The bill is being withdrawn, according to an update to the post linked above.