Sunday, May 20, 2007

Prior Restraint

Hat Tip to the Huffington Post for this AP report:

On the advice of lawyers, the filmmakers spirited a master copy of "Sicko" outside the United States in case the government tries to seize it. Asked whether the inquiry could prevent the film opening in the U.S. as planned on June 29, [Michael] Moore said: "We haven't even discussed that possibility."

This is just sad. Who would have thought it would come to this? Michael Moore has to send a master copy of the movie Sicko because of the threat that the film will be seized by American authorities.

The legal theory that used to be followed in these cases is called "prior restraint." If you want to read more about this issue, you can find a lot of information on FindLaw.

See also generally "strict scrutiny."

Maybe this will be seen as a publicity stunt (and it might be), but to think that it even has to be considered is cause for alarm. This is America. We are supposed to be secure in our discussions of political matters. Obviously things have regressed enough in the area of civil liberties that some dissenters (such as filmmaker Michael Moore) have to consider extraordinary measures to protect information of political expression.

That should never happen in America. This isn't a potential national security case like the Pentagon Papers, so it should be obvious that an attempt to prevent the movie from opening would be a violation of Moore's constitutional rights.

No comments: