Senator Durbin, Bloggers and the First Amendment


One of the worst senators in the nation, Dick Durbin (D.Ill.), wonders whether the First Amendment covers bloggers in the above video.  I can understand why Durbin brings this up.  First, because Durbin is a Democrat hack.  Originally elected to Congress from the congressional district including Springfield, Illinois, Durbin ran as a pro-lifer, defeating pro-abort Republican Congressman Paul Findley.  Realizing that a pro-life Democrat was going nowhere in Congress, he switched to being a pro-abort and now has a 100% rating from NARAL and a 0% rating from National Right to Life.  That he is a Catholic is of course of no consequence to him in regard to his politically expedient choice of embracing abortion uber alles.  Durbin is a down the line liberal and most contemporary liberals and Democrats hate and fear the new media that does not give them lock step subservience as does most of the mainstream media.

Second, Durbin, a graduate of Georgetown Law School, must obviously be a rotten attorney as the issue of the extent of First Amendment Freedom of the Press was long ago decided by the Supreme Court in Lovell v. City of Griffin (1938).  In that case, for a unanimous court, except for Benjamin Cardozo who recused himself, Chief Justice Hughes wrote:

The liberty of the press is not confined to newspapers and periodicals.  It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets.  These indeed have been historic weapons in the defense of liberty, as the pamphlets of Thomas Paine and others in our own history abundantly attest.  The press, in its historic connotation, comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.  What we have had recent occasion to say with respect to the vital importance of protecting this essential liberty from every sort of infringement need not be repeated.  Near v. Minnesota, supra; Grosjean v. American Press Co., supra; De Jonge v. Oregon, supra.

This is in complete accord with the intention of the Founders.  In their time news sheets were small affairs, put out by printers to supplement their income through advertising.  In effect they were the equivalent of bloggers who have adds running on their blogs.  Pamphlets and handbills were commonly printed at private expense by any person or group who wished to communicate ideas to the public.  In the years leading up to the Revolution, patriots had organized Committees of Correspondence to inform the public of the dangers from British encroachment on American liberties.  The Founding Fathers would have been the very last to restrict freedom of the press to professional, or paid, journalists, who in any case were very few in number in their day.  Durbin either does not know this, in which case his bone ignorance is a wonder to behold, or he is a threat to fundamental American liberties.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. Second, Durbin, a graduate of Georgetown Law School, must obviously be a rotten attorney as the issue of the extent of First Amendment Freedom of the Press was long ago decided by the Supreme Court in Lovell v. City of Griffin (1938).

    Is it just my imagination, or is it strongly atypical to find a Washington pol drawn from the bar who ever made a decent living as a lawyer? It seems at time that about 80% of them are people who could hardly be bothered (Charles Schumer, Barack Obama, Christopher Dodd, Bilge Clinton), hacks (John Kerry, Joseph Biden), or shady characters (John Edwards, Hillary Clinton). Can the lawyers on this board instruct us??

  2. Is it just my imagination, or is it strongly atypical to find a Washington pol drawn from the bar who ever made a decent living as a lawyer?

    Abraham Lincoln was a fairly successful attorney.

    Oh, you mean in this century? Ummmm . . . .

  3. Is this Durbin the fellow that lately called US troops Nazis?

    Anyhow, I’m wondering whether they wrote the Second Amendment to stop regressive idiots like “Dirtbag.”

    PS: Neither the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution nor the Congress gave it to you. God and the Continental Army gave you freedom.

  4. Arguably, Ted Cruz had a fairly successful background as an attorney (much of it, admittedly, political in nature) prior to seeking elected office (from Wikipedia):

    “Cruz was Solicitor General of Texas from 2003 to May 2008, appointed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.[1] He was the first Hispanic Solicitor General in Texas,[3] the youngest Solicitor General in the United States, and had the longest tenure in Texas history. He was formerly a partner at the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate litigation practice.[4]

    “He previously served as the director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission, an Associate Deputy Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice, and as Domestic Policy Advisor to U.S. President George W. Bush on the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign. In addition, Cruz was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, where he taught U.S. Supreme Court litigation, from 2004 to 2009.


    “Cruz served as a law clerk to William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States,[1] and J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.[23][3] Cruz was the first Hispanic ever to clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States.[24]

    “Cruz served as an associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department[1] and as the director of policy planning at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission under President George W. Bush.[22][1]

    “In 2003, Cruz was appointed Solicitor General of Texas by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.[3]

    “Cruz has authored more than 80 United States Supreme Court briefs and presented 43 oral arguments, including nine before the United States Supreme Court.[3][22][25] In the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, Cruz drafted the amicus brief signed by attorneys general of 31 states, which said that the D.C. handgun ban should be struck down as infringing upon the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.[25][26] Cruz also presented oral argument for the amici states in the companion case to Heller before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[25][27] Cruz did legal work during the Florida recount during the Presidential campaign of Bush/Cheney 2000.[28]

    “In addition to his victory in Heller, Cruz has successfully defended the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds,[22][25] the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools[22] and the majority of the 2003 Texas redistricting plan.[29]

    “Cruz also successfully defended, in Medellin v. Texas, the State of Texas against an attempt by the International Court of Justice to re-open the criminal convictions of 51 murderers on death row throughout the United States.[3][22][25]

    “Cruz has been named by American Lawyer magazine as one of the 50 Best Litigators under 45 in America,[30][31] by The National Law Journal as one of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America,[32][33] and by Texas Lawyer as one of the 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century.[34][35]”

  5. I take back “arguably” in my previous comment. That’s an impressive record for someone’s entire career, much less for someone barely over the age of 40.

  6. I am curious to know what attorneys in private practice make of in-house counsel and government lawyers. This fellow Durbin’s entire career (13 years) was spent in political staff positions: counsel to this and that committee of the legislature and to this or that elected official.

  7. When I was practicing law, in-house counsel positions and certain government positions were often sought after by those who wanted to maintain some semblance of work/personal balance in their lives. I wouldn’t say they were looked upon with any particular disdain by their private practice counterparts.

    My experience was that the bottom of the lawyer food chain (in the eyes of other lawyers) consisted of the ambulance-chasing, television-advertising personal injury lawyers.

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