February 10, 2009

GEERT WILDERS BANNED FROM BRITAIN: “This is the first time ever that a parliamentarian from one EU country has been forbidden entry to another.” Plus, a warning: “Don’t think this couldn’t happen here. The new administration is even further to the multi-culti Left than Britain’s Labourites . . . not that there aren’t plenty of Republicans who would cheerfully go along with the silencing of ‘hurtful’ opinions.” People are willing to endorse all sorts of imaginative extensions of “international law” — but the plain language of Article 19 doesn’t seem to cut much ice.

But here it is, anyway: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”.

For all the talk of trying political leaders for violating international law, where’s the effort to put some teeth in this one?

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh writes:

I definitely do not support the British decision, and I would oppose any such decision by the U.S. government (not that I know of any in the wind). But I should note, for those who are interested in comparing European law and American law on free speech (as I sometimes do), that the American precedent on this question, Kleindienst v. Mandel (1972), generally allows the U.S. government to exclude speakers based on their political views.

That’s true, though it’s generally something of a scandal when it happens — and the United States, unlike Britain, hasn’t placed itself into a federal union with the speaker’s country. The analogy might be closer to Mississippi refusing entry to Martin Luther King . . . .

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