ACLU, NYCLU, and NCAC Work Together against Attempted Censorship of New York Times Reveal of Project Veritas Info

Gavel with open book and scales on table

By Natalia Ruvalcaba

NEW YORK, NY – The New York Times’ right, in relation to Project Veritas, to report and produce knowledge received big support this past Monday as the American Civil Liberties Union, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the National Coalition Against Censorship worked collaboratively to present a supportive amicus brief.

The ACLU reports that the New York Times was told to cease further publications on any information found within the contents of a legal document drawn up by Project Veritas’ attorney. This came after the NY Times was instructed to hand over such documents by a New York judge.

In order to reverse the ruling, the NY Times decided to turn to a state appeals court, according to the ACLU.

As claimed by the ACLU, the NYCLU, and the NCAC, the court’s order violates the First Amendment rights of the NY Times. The ruling of the court is undeniably restrictive, as explained by the ACLU, the NYCLU, and NCAC, prohibiting constitutional freedom of the press and individuals’ right to obtain that knowledge.

Brian Hauss, senior staff attorney at the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project asserted in support of The New York Times, “Courts shouldn’t be in the business of telling newspapers what to print and the public what to read. The appeals court must dissolve this blatantly unconstitutional prior restraint on The New York Times.”

According to the ACLU, the NYCLU, and the NCAC, the court allowed its bias to dictate what amounts to a public concern, and thus infringe on their reporting. The three organizations note that leaks, like that of Project Veritas, are needed because they result in pivotal public revelations that would not be uncovered otherwise.

The ACLU notes that the lower courts had justified the ruling, as they believed that public concern was not relevant and the privacy interests of Project Veritas were valid. However, the ACLU claims the New York state’s ruling presents a greater threat to our constitutional rights, beyond that of just the NY Times.

Donna Lieberman, executive director for the NYCLU stated, “The public’s right to information and ideas is fundamental to a healthy democracy and a free society. Decades of case law have established that the First Amendment does not allow prior restraint on speech. The New York Times should not be barred from doing its job, reporting this story, and informing the people.”

From the NCAC, executive director Chris Finan expressed, “No one can be permitted to control what the American people are allowed to know and think. Our courts must uphold the public’s right to be informed, to receive information and to engage in debate.”

The ACLU, the NYCLU, and the NCAC have requested the court reverse the order made by the lower court—in order to block the infringement of the NY Times’ free exercise of the press.

As of this Monday, Project Veritas v. New York Times remains unsettled in the New York Supreme Appellate Division, Second Department.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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  1. Keith Olson

    Not mentioned in this article is that the ACLU stated that the FBI raid on O’Keefe could have serious consequences for press freedom:

    Nevertheless, the precedent set in this case could have serious consequences for press freedom.Unless the government had good reason to believe that Project Veritas employees were directly involved in the criminal theft of the diary, it should not have subjected them to invasive searches and seizures. We urge the court to appoint a special master to ensure that law enforcement officers review only those materials that were lawfully seized and that are directly relevant to a legitimate criminal investigation.”

    O’Keefe’s phone was seized during the raid and it’s contents are being leaked to the press:

    The Biden administration’s effort to establish itself as a committed champion of press freedom is facing new doubts because of the Justice Department’s aggressive legal tactics against a conservative provocateur known for his hidden-camera video stings.
    A predawn FBI raid last weekend against Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe and similar raids on some of his associates are prompting alarm from some First Amendment advocates, who contend that prosecutors appear to have run roughshod over Justice Department media policies and a federal law protecting journalists.
    “This is just beyond belief,” said University of Minnesota law professor Jane Kirtley, a former executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “I’m not a big fan of Project Veritas, but this is just over the top. I hope they get a serious reprimand from the court because I think this is just wrong.”
    O’Keefe’s lawyers complained to a federal judge this week that the raid unfairly denied him the legal protections afforded to journalists.


    1. Bill Marshall

      Yes, we know… if ‘the Donald’ and conservative Republicans ruled the world, everything would be perfect… got it… Yeah… right.

      The other disaster would be if the far left Democrats ruled the world…

      1. Keith Olson

        Funny, but I don’t remember seeing Trump’s name in the article so your comment is off topic.

        Biden is relevant because it was his daughter’s journal that ended up in O’Keefe’s possession.  Even though O’Keefe turned over the journal to authorities without ever publishing any of it a raid was still conducted on O’Keefe’s home.  Do you think it coincidence that the FBI got involved over a diary?

    2. Bill Marshall

      Who directed FBI and DOJ and encouraged their supporters to “investigate” (or, excoriate) an opponent in the 2016 election, based on e-mails, which are arguably ‘diaries’?

      The best ‘bidding’ in bridge, is NT.  Beats bids in diamonds, clubs, hearts, spades… someone has used ‘hearts’, has ‘diamonds’ (unreported to IRS, of course), and has no problem if clubs beat spades…  NT is the best bid.

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