Washington Markup

Blocked Leaks Bill More About Message Discipline Than National Security

Blocked Leaks Bill More About Message Discipline Than National Security

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:36pm
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) deserves significant credit for placing a hold today on a draft intelligence spending bill that would place enormous new obstacles in the path of journalists trying to report on government illegality, fraud and waste in the intelligence community.  Although it is true that national security sometimes requires secrecy, restrictions on freedom of the press would do little to benefit the national security while significantly insulating government wrongdoing from public scrutiny. 
Get Ready for A Scintillating Discussion on the Finer Points of IP and Foreign Trade Policy

Get Ready for A Scintillating Discussion on the Finer Points of IP and Foreign Trade Policy

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:34pm

So, Wednesday, I’ll be participating in an “Ask Me Anything,” or AMA, discussion on Reddit.  It amazes me that folks are even interested, but the topic will be the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (“TPP”). 

Stolen Valor Vote in House Today

Stolen Valor Vote in House Today

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:22pm

The second coming of the “Stolen Valor” Act (the Supreme Court struck down the first iteration on First Amendment grounds last term) is on the House’s “suspension” calendar today, meaning it will pass with a two-thirds…

Government’s “Anti-leak” Measures Attack Privacy and the Press

Government’s “Anti-leak” Measures Attack Privacy and the Press

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:16pm

Although the conflict between government classification rules and practices and the First Amendment rights necessary to promote a free and open society is nothing new, recent developments may indicate an alarming shift away from basic First Amendment…

“Stolen Valor” Bill Honorable Sentiment, But Bad Idea

“Stolen Valor” Bill Honorable Sentiment, But Bad Idea

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:29pm

“Lying was his habit.”

That’s the first line from Justice Kennedy’s plurality opinion in United States v. Alvarez, last month’s Supreme Court decision striking down the “Stolen Valor Act,” which made…

One Key to Campaign Finance Reform?

By Michael W. Macleod-Ball, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:38pm

I spoke on a panel yesterday sponsored by OpenSecrets.org on the future of campaign finance reform. In the course of the panel, an opinion piece by Fred Wertheimer, who was not at the event, but who is one of the most visible advocates for campaign…

Hoodies and Congressional Expression

Hoodies and Congressional Expression

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:04pm

It was hard to miss on TV or online yesterday the spectacle of Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush of Chicago being ejected from the House floor for wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

After taking off his jacket and raising the hood over his head…

Senate Homeland Security Committee Misses the Mark with Statement on DHS “Fusion Center” Program

Senate Homeland Security Committee Misses the Mark with Statement on DHS “Fusion Center” Program

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 2:35pm

Last week, the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations issued a report criticizing the Department of Homeland Security for its failure to ensure proper oversight over state and local “fusion centers.” …

Constitution Doesn’t Need Purple Heart After Narrower Stolen Valor Bill Approved

Constitution Doesn’t Need Purple Heart After Narrower Stolen Valor Bill Approved

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:46pm

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a revamped version of the so-called Stolen Valor Act. The revamp responded to a Supreme Court decision that declared an earlier version of the legislation—which made it a crime to falsely claim to have a…

Selective Leaks Worst of All Worlds for Free Speech

Selective Leaks Worst of All Worlds for Free Speech

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:21pm

As the election summer heats up, Republicans in Congress are making hay with what they claim are selective leaks by the Obama administration, designed to bolster the president’s national security cred. At a Senate Judiciary hearing yesterday,…