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Jamie Raskin takes the GOP to law school again on the First Amendment

Republicans apparently needed another lesson.


It looks like Rep. Jamie Raskin needed to remind his GOP colleagues, once again, how the First Amendment works.

The Maryland Democrat and former constitutional law professor spoke out against a Republican-backed “censorship” bill that he seemed to think was unnecessary at best, because the First Amendment already blocks government censorship:

The latest constitutional lesson from Raskin followed his previous instruction to colleagues earlier in February, in connection with the half-baked Twitter hearing, where he needed to explain to them that, under the First Amendment, which applies to government action, private companies can curate content however they want, and Twitter is a private company.

Similarly, Raskin spoke out against the latest effort as misguided, noting that it turned the First Amendment on its head, during a House Oversight Committee meeting Tuesday.

Raskin recalled that we don’t say newspapers and television networks “censor” themselves when they make decisions about what to publish. Citing the recent explosive revelations about Fox News knowingly promoting lies about the 2020 election, Raskin observed that it would be strange to say Fox News was “censoring itself” by opting not to air the truth.

He also invoked conservative media when he dragged committee Chairman James Comer for bragging to Newsmax recently about pressuring AT&T to carry the right-wing network on DirecTV.

"If threatening official course of pressure like this — 'follow our orders or else' — applied against not just private social media entities ... but against any media entity, it would transform politics in America in the meaning of the First Amendment," he said.

When I wrote about Raskin’s last lesson, I noted that the Twitter hearing was "the latest sign that we’re in for a long, strange ride with the MAGA Republicans of the 118th Congress. But if they pay attention, they might just learn something. In the likely event that they don’t, however, the public can still benefit from these legal lessons."

It appears that MAGA Republicans still aren’t paying attention, but we can all still benefit.