While Republicans have cheered on money being made free speech (again), at least one Republican is sulking that a lower court ruled today that a billboard criticizing their action of not expanding Medicaid has legal standing, and may stay up.
According to Governor Bobby Jindal, criticizing Duck Dynasty’s politics is an “attack against free speech,” but trying to take down a political billboard that criticizes your actions in office is what, exactly? Is this Republican hypocrisy day?
The state of Louisiana, representing Governor Jindal and the Lieutenant Governor’s office, sued MoveOn.org, a popular progressive organization who advocates for many liberal causes such as Obamacare, abortion rights, gay marriage, etc.
U.S. District Judge Shelly D. Dick ruled Monday that the Billboard may stay. The issue wasn’t necessarily the what the billboard said, but how it said it. The billboard’s design, according to the Lieutenant Governor’s office, ripped off the state’s multi-million dollar tourism brand, which parodies “Louisiana: Pick Your Passion” motto and logo by saying “Louisiana: Pick Your Passion! But hope you don’t love your health. Gov. Jindal is denying Medicaid to 242,000 people.
Just last week, Governor Jindal was asked why he stood up and so staunchly defended Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, to which the Governor responded:
“Whether people liked what Phil had to say or not, he had a right to say it. And I just think it’s a bad thing in our country when people aren’t willing to stand up for the right of other people to speak up, whether you like them or agree with them.”
When it’s a bigoted red-neck, we must support them. When it’s a billboard that criticizes your decision to basically kill people because you’re withholding healthcare, they need to be silenced. However, the law has prevailed, and the law socks it to Jindal and his office.
In his decision, Judge Shelly ruled that MoveOn.Org had legal standing, stating:
“Sticks and stones may break bones but words can never hurt, or so the adage goes…..The subject Billboard is critical of the State’s health care policies. MoveOn.org has a First Amendment Constitutional Right to criticize the State with respect to any of its public policies, including its health care policies.”
“In this court’s view, the Lieutenant Governor underestimates the intelligence and reasonableness of people viewing the billboard.”
Shelly also ruled that the billboard was not plagiarized, because the Governor and his office did not own the rights to it:
“First, viewers would have to know that the service mark in question is a creation of and sponsored by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office. There is no evidence of this. Furthermore, neither the Lieutenant Governor himself, nor the Office of the Lieutenant Governor as an agency of the State, is the owner of the mark. The owner of the mark is the State, and more specifically its citizens.”
“There has been no showing of irreparable injury to the State.”
Republicans have cheered on money and bigotry as freedom of speech. But the second you criticize them, they will take you to court. However, the law prevails, and shell-shocks the hypocritical GOP.