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The 19 Senators Who Voted To Censor The Internet

From the free-speech-isn't-free dept - TechDirt

This is hardly a surprise but the lame duck Senate Judiciary Committee on November 20 voted unanimously to introduce the COICA bill, a censorship of the Internet, despite warnings by a number of law professors that the law would be a clear violation of the First Amendment.

What's really amazing is that many of the same Senators have been speaking out against internet censorship in other countries, yet they happily vote to approve it in committee because it's seen as a way to make many of their largest campaign contributors happy.

There's very little chance that the bill will actually get passed by the end of the term but, in the meantime, we thought it might be useful to highlight the 19 Senators who voted to censor the internet:

  • Patrick J. Leahy -- Vermont
  • Herb Kohl -- Wisconsin
  • Jeff Sessions -- Alabama
  • Dianne Feinstein -- California
  • Orrin G. Hatch -- Utah
  • Russ Feingold -- Wisconsin
  • Chuck Grassley -- Iowa
  • Arlen Specter -- Pennsylvania
  • Jon Kyl -- Arizona
  • Chuck Schumer -- New York
  • Lindsey Graham -- South Carolina
  • Dick Durbin -- Illinois
  • John Cornyn -- Texas
  • Benjamin L. Cardin -- Maryland
  • Tom Coburn -- Oklahoma
  • Sheldon Whitehouse -- Rhode Island
  • Amy Klobuchar -- Minnesota
  • Al Franken -- Minnesota
  • Chris Coons -- Delaware

This should be a list of shame. You would think that our own elected officials would understand the First Amendment but, apparently, they have no problem turning the US into one of the small list of authoritarian countries that censors internet content it does not like.

We already have laws in place to deal with infringing content, so don't buy the excuse that this law is about stopping infringement. This law gives the Attorney General’s office the power to take down entire websites without having to explain.

First Amendment protections make clear that if you are going to stop any specific speech, it has to be extremely specific speech. This law has no such restrictions. It's really quite unfortunate that these 19 US Senators are the first American politicians to publicly vote in