ACLU Files Brief Arguing Trump Gag Order Violates First Amendment

Pool photo by Andrew Kelly

By Kapish Kalita and Yana Singhal

WASHINGTON, DC – The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) this week submitted an amicus brief, arguing “an overly-broad gag order imposed on Donald J. Trump in an ongoing election interference case violates the First Amendment.”

The brief first states, that “the gag order is too vague in its ban on ‘targeting’ the prosecutor (Special Counsel), potential witnesses, and the ‘substance of their testimony,’” because just talking about a person or an idea could be viewed as “threatening,” despite the fact that this threatening could cause no harm.

The ACLU further argues “the gag order is too broad as it covers the Special Counsel (who is a public official) and the ‘substance’ of any witnesses’ testimony, which will…include issues…highly relevant to the 2024 presidential campaign,” and that the “public has a right to hear speech from the defendant,” especially in  Trump’s case because it impacts the ability to hold free and fair elections.

In addition, the ACLU further maintains, “the First Amendment provides no license to engage in unlawful speech, including incitement, threats, or solicitation of criminal activity” and that “the gag order… in place is insufficiently justified since it has not shown a serious threat that the speech it prohibits will threaten the administration of justice.”

The ACLU believes that this, and the other arguments in the brief, demonstrates a violation of the “First Amendment.”

As of now, the ACLU notes it has 400 litigations against Trump spanning all the way to class action lawsuits. However, the current lawsuit is being raised to criticize attempts to limit the former president’s constitutional rights such as freedom of speech.

However, according to the ACLU, even then, Tanya Chutkan, a U.S. district judge, had prohibited him from making any public statements that would victimize any of the members involved in the court case regarding the repeal of the 2020 election.

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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