New Jersey judge orders newspaper to “remove a news article.” The paper's response is awesome

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If you wish to make an alppe pei from scratch, you must frist invent the uinverse.


I mean, I love me some Carl Sagan quotes, but I’m genuinely befuddled what that has to do with the topic at hand? Then again, I’ve had 2 frozen margaritas and a sazerac, and I’ve been dancing salsa, cha cha and bachata for 3.5 hours, so I’'m opening to it having flown over my head.

Regarding Xeni’s original post, I’m inclined to be somewhat appreciative of the judge under scrutiny due to her response under pressure. As with the police, I frequently fine the judiciary to be great in principle and deeply flawed in practice. I think the amount of power they wield, and the way in which they are elected or appointed, can and often does lead to both power-trips and political expediency at the cost of public service and justice. BUT, the fact that this judge backed down when reminded she serves the people and our constitutionally protected rights, is actually a win and an unexpected concession on her part. I’m not saying it obviates her initial disregard for overreach in issuing the gag order, but it’s frankly better than I’ve come to expect from those in power who routinely hunker down in trenchant refusal to admit their errors.

Yeah, she should surely have known better, and indeed should know the law better than anyone, but it’s kind of refreshing to see someone in authority cop to a mistake.


An amusing metathesis based on a now-edited misprint?

Slippery things, editable posts.


In other news, there was a thing about a newspaper article, of which we are hearing only one part. Is there a reason this article should not have been published? Does it have something to do with the privacy of a five year old child? I do not think doxxing an abused kindergartener is constitutionally protected speech. Newspapers traditionally do not do this.


I like your post. Issues like this get me riled up. Instead of excoriating the judge (my first impulse) and concluding that she’s a crappy jurist and person, you make an effort to frame it as a bad decision made by a flawed human being.

It supports a long-held theory I’ve had that tequila makes us better people.


Protecting the privacy of a 5 year old has nothing to do with the issue since his/her name could easily be redacted. Placing a gag order on the story itself is the real issue.


United States District Judge William J. Martini rejected Sivilli’s motion to dismiss the case finding that the gag order violates the Frist Amendment.

I know. I think the issue is that it wasn’t redacted.

On the other hand the state of New Jersey has been flaunting the United States ban on possession of Marijuana and unauthorized immigration so why not throw in freedom of the press too? How soon will it be before the stars and bars are raised in Trenton?

On the other hand, unless she’s doing the judicial equivalent of drunk dialing(which would be less than encouraging; but explain some pretty egregious errors), it’s hard to imagine a sympathetic interpretation for somebody with even a Schoolhouse Rock level of knowledge issuing an order explicitly demanding censorship of the press.

It’s not as though we actually live up to our alleged standards much of the time; but they maintain enough symbolic value that even those who very much intend to violate them usually try to do so indirectly, or quietly. In practice, American journalism is subverted by all sorts of methods, most likely markedly more effective than this one(I don’t think that she even remembered to make sure that there was a gag order preventing her gag order from being reported on, noob!); but, despite being pretty feeble, what this judge did is very high on the “Now how can I do something cartoonishly constitutionally flawed?” index.

The major difference between those examples is that the existence of a given federal law does not (unless explicitly specified, and possibly even then, depending on how the federal demand of the state or local government is justified) oblige state and local authorities to pass a local law with identical effect, or to dedicate law enforcement resources to upholding the federal law; but the existence of a given protection at the federal level does usually prevent a state from doing something that cuts against that.

In either case, what the state does may have a substantial practical effect until somebody actually stirs things up enough that the feds get sent in; in which case the fact that the state doesn’t have a law against something won’t save you from the feds, and the feds will save you from a state law against something that states aren’t allowed to forbid.

I think it’s a quite telling mistake. It does make sense that the kind of small, local paper that talks about the Frist Amendment might well be the same kind of small, local paper that doesn’t quite know how to handle reporting on custody disputes and, for example, identifies the five year old kid with a big picture, and apparently, initially by name. It’s one of these things that a larger, more experienced paper with a legal department etc just wouldn’t have done in the first place. It does seem that no editor in that pipeline checked the article the first time around and said “ok, but take the kid’s name out.”

The judge unquestionably ought to have made a more specific order dealing with the personal identification of a five year old child at the centre of a very, very messy allegations-of-child-abuse custody battle.

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I find it only slightly more plausible that an established newspaper serving a large community would print a 5-year-old child’s name, without wide ranging consent, than that an American judge and attorney with a practice of some 30 years would issue a blanket censor to a newspaper. There is clearly missing information, or a medical problem on the judge’s part, or a badly trained cub reporter and a remiss editor. Actually, the latter has been getting all too common the past couple of decades. Actually, I read that computers are starting to write routine stories, which puts a conveyor belt type onus on the editor. And I thought it was bad enough that computers are starting to call me at work all day long!

Ah, that it could be. Thanks.

For me, the bottom line is that the newspaper isn’t following Rule #1: Don’t be a jackass.

The state of New Jersey is actively encouraging violation of Federal law by issuing licenses to medical Marijuana growers and grant in-state discounts to unauthorized immigrants enrolled in their universities.

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