It is more than a little frightening to learn that one can be sued in a foreign court, the case found for the complainant, and the ruling against you enforced here, in the US, even though the trial was in a foreign country, you were not present in the courtroom, , and the laws(?) you were found guilty of breaking are not US laws and you were not in that foreign country when the infraction of the law, you are charged with, took place!
All of this is possible even if you have never set foot outside the US! To make it worse, the law you are charged with is libel for something you said, something you printed… which is covered under the First Amendment in this country…as long as what you say is the truth.
Well, that is what happened to Rachel Ehrenfeld, director of the New York-based American Center for Democracy… all as the result of something she wrote in her book “Funding Evil”.
I had heard of “judge shopping” but, frankly, I had never heard of shopping for a country with laws that would be favorable to your case.
Now, if all this has your head spinnijg… you need to read the editorial: “A victory for free speech”… in the Washington Times. It was published on May 11th, 2008. You’ll find it here:
Sens. Joseph Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, and Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, along with Rep. Peter King, New York Republican, introduced legislation that would provide the same protection to all American citizens no matter the state in which an accused American might reside.
Bloggers, it would seem, would be especially vulnerable to this type of judicial shennagans. It is way past time for the Congress to act on this and make damn sure it’s contituents are protected under the First Amendment. It should also make abundantly clear that American citizens are not subject to the rulings of foreign courts when that US citizen has nothing more that exercise his, or her, 1st Amendment rights
This whole thing is utterly rediculous and should never have happened. If another country’s judicial system can nullify the US Constitution… IN THE US… then what good is the protection it grants to US citizens in the first place? Foreign laws have no weight here, at least they should not.
US citizens, bloggers especially, should lean on their Congressperson and Senators to get this law passed… and we should encourage the President to sign it into law as soon as it hits his desk!
This is just absolutely ridiculous!