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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tom Corbett vs. the First Amendment

Just read about this on a post on Gort's Gort42: Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett is trying to unmask the individual (or individuals) who has been posting nasty things about Republican Gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett. From the blog CasablancaPA:
CasablancaPA: CORBETT LOOKING FOR IDENTITY OF ANONYMOUS CRITICS

CasablancaPA today received notice that Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett has subpoenaed Twitter for identifying information about our Twitter account.

It is unknown whether Blogger has received a similar subpoena; we have received no such notice.

The subpoena for Twitter can be found here.
On the surface this looks bad. This looks like a petty and unlawful abuse of power by someone who is simultaneously serving as Attorney General and running for Governor, an attempt to make an example of an online critic and have a chilling effect on anyone else who may want to use freedom of the virtual printing press to criticize him. And below the surface, that may be exactly what this is.

If that is so, Tom Corbett is finished. As a politician, and probably as Pennsylvania Attorney General.


Some of the coverage of this issue:

Corbett assailed over Twitter subpoena

Pennsylvania AG Tom Corbett Can't Take Anonymous Twitter Criticism ...

Attorney General Tom Corbett subpoenaes Twitter account ...

Tom Corbett subpoenas Twitter for names of critics WHYY News and ...

Attorney General Tom Corbett subpoenas Twitter to identify ...

CL&P Blog: Tom Corbett -- The Hypocrisy of Some Who Sue to Keep ...

Tom Corbett for Governor? : floor9.com

Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett Sends Subpoena To Twitter

Phawker » Blog Archive » TWITCH HUNT: Is PA Attorney General Tom ...

Instapundit » Blog Archive » ABUSE OF POWER? Pennsylvania Attorney ...

Pa. Attorney General Tom Corbett Taking On Twitter

Twitter Fighting Order to Reveal Names of 2 Users - NYTimes.com

Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate takes on Twitter - On Politics: Covering the US Congress, Governors, and the 2010 Election - USATODAY.com

...and many more. Blogs, regional news organizations, national news organizations. If Corbett was seeking attention, he's got it.


UPDATE: Well, maybe Tom Corbett doesn't really need a subpoena, since he's already decided that the anonymous blogger is actually a defendant in a case Corbett was pursuing - a defendant whose sentence Corbett is now trying to have extended, based on the nasty things the anonymous person said about Tom Corbett. No explanation is given as to what proof Corbett has that the blogger and the defendant are the same person:

State recommends more than 3 years in prison for Veon co-defendant

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