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Free Speech 1, Whiny SC Politician 0




|| By FITSNEWS || Last November we picked up the story of Greg Duckworth, a thin-skinned member of the S.C. General Assembly who sued two of his constituents after they criticized him in letters to the editor during his 2012 campaign.

What a whiner …

We wrote at the time that Duckworth was nothing but a big crybaby who was wasting the court’s time … and this month the court agreed with us.

S.C. circuit court judge Roger M. Young has thrown out the charges against Duckworth’s critics – Charles Collins and Bren Gibson.  Not only that, Young made it pretty clear Collins and Gibson weren’t lying when they accused Duckworth of using his position as a member of North Myrtle Beach’s city council to steer business to his company.

“There is no showing of clear and convincing evidence that any of the statements made in the (letters) were made with the knowledge that they were false or in reckless disregard of their truth,” Young wrote in his ruling.  “Indeed, one could make a reasonable argument that most of the statements contained in the letters were demonstrably true, and those that weren’t fall within the category of political speech given special protection by the United States Constitution.”

Well, well …

So it turns out Collins and Gibson’s attorney – Reece Boyd – was correct last fall when he termed Duckworth’s legal assault as nothing but an attempt to suppress free speech.  And not just any speech, political speech (a.k.a. the right to criticize our “leaders”).

Props to Young.  In a state where petty, vindictive lawmakers wield total control over the judicial branch, it’s rare to see a judge stand up to a sitting lawmaker – even when the facts of the case are abundantly clear.

Let’s hope this case serves as a reminder to whiny politicians everywhere … as well as an example for judges everywhere.

First Amendment freedoms are – and must remain – inviolable.  But free speech can’t defend itself, which means all of us must fight daily to protect it – especially from politicians who can’t handle truthful criticism.