Politicians Free to Lie In Washington State
Posted on Oct 5, 2007
Get ready for the inevitable barrage of jokes on late-night television: The Washington state Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that a law holding politicians legally accountable for lying about their opponents is unconstitutional.
Los Angeles Times:
Justices in the majority of the 5-4 decision said the 1999 law, already rejected by a lower court, violates free-speech rights.
“The notion that the government, rather than the people, may be the final arbiter of truth in political debate is fundamentally at odds with the 1st Amendment,” Justice James Johnson wrote.
Dissenting justices called the decision “an invitation to lie with impunity.”
Residents of Washington state can no doubt look forward to a fun campaign season filled with TV ads like this one: the now-infamous “Swift Boat” spots that questioned John Kerry’s leadership potential during the 2004 presidential campaign.