Aaron Walker Defeats Brett Kimberlin, Retains First Amendment Right To Blog About Him

Previously I wrote about how blogger Aaron Walker found himself temporarily jailed for blogging about convicted perjurer and domestic terrorist Brett Kimberlin and prohibited from writing about him. On June 25th Walker won a temporary stay of that order. Today, with the help of his very capable counsel Reginald Bours, Aaron Walker succeeded in overturning entirely Judge C.J. Vaughey's unprincipled and lawless prohibition against blogging about Brett Kimberlin. Judge Nelson Rupp ruled — quite correctly — that writing about someone is not the same as contacting or harassing them.

By all accounts, Kimberlin continued his censorious crusade, asserting that by writing about him Walker was inspiring others to harass him. For that matter, apparently Kimberlin views even examination in open court as harassment:

Kimberlin appeared at times during his appearance to be frustrated and angry. For example, when Kimberlin was asked about whether he had any knowledge of Mr. Walker’s recent SWATting, Kimberlin accused attorney Bours of harassing him by even asking the question, which he referred to as "despicable."

How big a victory is this? Consider the complete meltdown of Team Kimberlin Twitter account "OccupyRebellion":

You faked your swatting last week on the same day as your court case. Will you fake another one today now too? @AaronWorthing

By the time this is all said and done, you'll probably be homeless on the streets. How is this a "win" for you? LOL @AaronWorthing

There's still Brett suing you in civil court. This isn't about the so-called 1st Amendment anymore. @AaronWorthing

People won't be donating to you anymore. You now have to pay your own legal bills yourself. @AaronWorthing

Sooooo Breitbot predator @AaronWorthing thinks he "won" in court today against Brett Kimberlin. You are a shit lawyer if you think that.

(Emphasis added, delicious tears in original.)

I'm sure Aaron will write about this. In the meantime, he has a five-part series about his experience up.

This is a significant victory. Congrats to Aaron, and thanks for standing up.

Edited: Aaron's post about today is up.

Aaron's account shows how stunningly entitled Kimberlin is, and how much he is willing to trammel constitutional rights to avoid criticism:

Kimberlin also tried the argument that since he had set up Google Alerts—commands to Google to search the entire internet for mentions of his name and to mail him those links—that writing him on the internet was equivalent to sending him an email.

What kind of person thinks like that?

Free Speech Webinar At Franklin Center Tonight

I've been invited to be a panelist on a webinar, which I understand is like a seminar, only with a more annoying name. It's being put on by the Franklin Center, and will include Lee Stranahan, Mandy Nagy, Aaron Walker (fresh from being SWATted last night) and me. I am the token obscure small-l libertarian who says "taint" a lot.

I'm looking forward to a robust discussion of the legal and practical threats to bloggers' freedom of expression.

If I embarrass myself, you'll see it on Twitter. Remain vigilant.

Oh, Oh, Right. THAT Brandenburg.

In Brandenburg v. Ohio, the United States Supreme Court, writing per curiam [a legal term meaning "we all think this is bleeding obvious. Not even the irascible octogenarians felt like dissenting."] said this about how the First Amendment protects alleged "incitement":

These later decisions have fashioned the principle that the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

Aaron Walker went to court to refute Brett Kimberlin's bizarre, dishonest, and censorious claims that Walker was inciting people against him. Walker's decision to appear without representation was stupendously foolish, but he is not otherwise a fool, and he very sensibly cited Brandenburg to Judge C.J. Vaughey for the proposition that the First Amendment does not permit the court to forbid Walker from criticizing Kimberlin online.

Judge C.J. Vaughey was having none of it, where "it" means "the rule of law":

WALKER: But, your honor, I did not incite him within the Brandenburg standard though.

THE COURT: Forget Bradenburg [sic]. Let’s go by Vaughey right now, and common sense out in the world. But you know, where I grew up in Brooklyn, when that stuff was pulled, it was settled real quickly.

Judge C.J. Vaughey seems to have forgotten Brandenburg, or wants others to forget it.

The Maryland Circuit Court has just rather forcibly reminded him. Walker reports that today the Circuit Court granted his emergency motion for a stay or modification of Judge Vaughey's order, expressly stating that Walker may write about Kimberlin so long as he does not threaten him or incite imminent lawless action against him. For this proposition, the Circuit Court cited Brandenburg.

That, boys and girls, is what lawyers refer to as a benchslap.

Edited to add: multiple sources inform me that I have set a new Popehat record for typo density.

Edited again: this post is freaking cursed. Leave a comment if you are getting a sitemeter popup on your browser.