I've written about a number of threats to the First Amendment in recent years. But few have riled me up as much as a recent letter written by attorney Joseph E. Sandler (firstname.lastname@example.org). Sandler was hired by CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) after the organization learned that Robert Spencer was about to give a speech called "The Truth About CAIR" at the National Conservative Student Conference held by the Young America's Foundation (YAF).
Here's what Sandler wrote to my friend Ron Robinson, President of YAF:
"You should be aware that Mr. Spencer, a well-known purveyor of hatred
and bigotry against Muslims, has a history of false and defamatory statements. Several of those statements have falsely accused CAIR of activity that would constitute a federal offense."
After failing to provide a single "false and defamatory" statement by Spencer, Sandler went on to exercise his constitutional right to praise CAIR for its work in fighting terrorism. (Note: This is not to suggest that such praise is in any way deserved, just that it is protected by the First Amendment).
After, a) citing specific evidence in support of the notion that CAIR is an anti-terrorist organization, and b) citing no evidence of false and defamatory statements by Spencer (nor any of the evidence supporting Spencer's contrary opinion), Joseph E. Sandler (email@example.com) made a rather outrageous request that is worth reproducing in its entirety:
"For these reasons, we demand that YAF cancel the subject session (at which Spencer is speaking), or else take steps to ensure that false and defamatory statements are not disseminated at that session. Our clients have instructed us to pursue every available and appropriate legal remedy to redress any false and defamatory statements that are
made at the session. Please let us know by the close of business today whether you intend to comply with these requests. Joseph E. Sandler, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 479-1111"
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