Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Are We About To Codify a Legal Double Standard?

The Washington State Supreme Court is about to decide the issue of whether or not radio talk show hosts John Carlson and Kirby Wilber violated campaign finance laws by advocating for I-912, the failed measure to repeal the 9¢ a gallon gas tax. This decision will have a far-reaching impact on First Amendment freedom of speech rights — and especially political speech, if the court rules against Carlson and Wilber.

I have wondered why the defense didn't question and equate this situation to KIRO talk show host Dave Ross staying on the air after it was clear he was going to be a candidate for the 8th District congressional seat. Personally, I believe he should have been paying KIRO for the airtime instead of the other way around. From the time he was first mentioned as a possible candidate, until he declared for the position at the very last possible minute, all Ross did was parrot the Democratic Party platform and basically campaign for office on his show.

I'm certainly not a lawyer, but the fact that the defense didn't tie these two together, seems like a major legal blunder to me, because there sure isn't any difference I can see between what Dave Ross did and the actions of John Carlson and Kirby Wilber. All were actively advocating for political causes and using the public airwaves to do so.

The last thing our ultra-liberal state Supreme Court wants is force liberals to live by the same laws they demand of conservatives. Equating Dave Ross with Carlson and Wilber was a premium opportunity to not legalize the double standard that is sure to result — as well as put the hypocrisy of the court on display as two of the most liberal justices are about to face the voters — if the Supreme Court finds against the two talk show hosts

Just as in the Rossi case, I believe the Republican Party is guilty of some very bad lawyering, coupled with a flawed legal strategy. I have said numerous times before that there isn't a way for the Republicans to shoot themselvs in the foot they haven't thought of, but I have great faith in their ability to invent new ones. They haven't let me down — again.

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