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Tags: andrew napolitano | douglass mackey | first amendment | political | protected | kristina wong

Judge Napolitano to Newsmax: All Political Speech Is Protected

By    |   Monday, 23 October 2023 07:10 PM EDT

Douglass Mackey, a social media influencer and Donald Trump supporter, was sentenced to 7 months in federal prison Wednesday involving prank posts on X about Hillary Clinton voters before the 2016 election.

Yet, Kristina Wong, a liberal comedian who made a similar post targeting Trump voters on Election Day in 2016, wasn't prosecuted.

Former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano told Newsmax on Monday that neither person should be targeted because their posts are protected by the First Amendment.

"[Mackey] should be let out of jail and neither should be charged," Napolitano told "Carl Higbie FRONTLINE." "Here are the words of the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law, no law I'm emphasizing, abridging the freedom of speech. Now that has been interpreted to mean anything goes with respect to political speech, even hateful speech, even harmful speech, even speech in support of monsters like Hamas, that is absolutely protected.

"I'll tell you what else is protected: Satire, saying something that's ridiculous or absurd. I'll tell you what else is protected: Using satire to dissuade people from voting for the person that you don't want to win, everything that this gentleman did."

In the months leading up to Election Day in 2016, Mackey, 34, posted a series of memes, now deleted, on X — on an account that had about 58,000 followers under the name "Ricky Vaughn," after the character in the "Major League" movies — encouraging Hillary Clinton supporters to cast their votes by text. At least 4,900 people texted that number provided, according to the DOJ.

Wong posted on X a video of herself wearing a "Make America Great Again" cap, that included the caption: "Skip poll lines at #Election2016 and TEXT in your vote! Text votes are legit. Or vote tomorrow on Super Wednesday!"

"Everything this guy did is absolutely protected," Napolitano said, "when it is generated at political speech, which this was. Why did they leave Miss Wong alone? Huh. Because it was speech that they like. The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to keep the government out of the business of speech.

"The government has no say as to what speech it likes and what speech it doesn't like. It must protect all speech whether it likes it or not."

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Michael Katz

Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Douglass Mackey, a social media influencer and Donald Trump supporter, was sentenced to 7 months in federal prison Wednesday involving prank posts on X about Hillary Clinton voters before the 2016 election.
andrew napolitano, douglass mackey, first amendment, political, protected, kristina wong
422
2023-10-23
Monday, 23 October 2023 07:10 PM
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