ACLU of Nevada Asks Court to End Ban of Book Critical of the IRS

Affiliate: ACLU of Nevada
May 1, 2003 12:00 am

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LAS VEGAS–Joined by several national organizations opposed to censorship, the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada today filed a friend-of-the-court brief that seeks to end the ban of a book written by an anti-tax activist.

“This matter is significant because it is an attempt to ban a book that primarily consists of a political diatribe attacking the government,” said Allen Lichtenstein, General Counsel with the ACLU of Nevada and author of the ACLU brief. “Regardless of what one thinks about the author’s theories, his right to espouse them must remain unhindered.”

The brief was filed in the case, United States v. Irwin Schiff, and seeks to lift a temporary restraining order imposed earlier this year by senior U.S. District Judge Lloyd George. That ruling prevents the book’s author Schiff from distributing his book, “The Federal Mafia: How the Government Illegally Imposes and Unlawfully Collects Income Taxes.”

Government attorneys have called on Judge George to convert the current restraining order to a preliminary injunction. They argue that Schiff, through his book, advocates the “false and frivolous position that paying federal income taxes is voluntary.” The current order bars Schiff from disseminating information advocating that position.

“By joining this brief, we are endorsing the idea that even misguided or mistaken ideas have the right to be placed in the public arena,” said Jonathan Bloom, a New York-based attorney representing the Association of American Publishers. “The government doesn’t have the right under the Constitution to pick and choose which ideas can see the light of day.”

Other groups who have signed on to today’s brief include: the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Freedom to Read Foundation of the American Library Association, and the PEN American Center.

A copy of the friend-of-the-court brief filed in this case is available on line at /node/34979

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