ARs Lose AETA Challenge in Massachusetts

The ARs who challenged the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act in 2011 lost their bid due to no standing, according to the ruling.  They have appealed it and hopefully that appeal will also rubberstamp the verdict.   (below is just the header of the ruling)

Plaintiffs, *
v. * Civil Action No. 11-12229-JLT
ERIC HOLDER, in his official capacity as *
Attorney General of the United States of *
America, *
Defendant. *
March 18, 2013

Here is short blurb on the case from 2012:  Note that the ARs are whining:

AP News

US seeks to block challenge by animal rights group

Five activists represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights sued the U.S. government last year, asking that the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act be struck down as unconstitutional.  A Justice Department attorney on Wednesday argued that the law is not aimed at constitutionally protected activities such as leafleting, writing letters to newspaper editors or peaceful protests.  “It is not aimed at speech. Rather, it is aimed at violent, destructive conduct,” said Deanna Durrett, an attorney in the Justice Department’s civil division.

But the activists say the law is vague and has left them afraid to participate in public protests. The law can be used against a person who “intentionally damages or causes the loss of any real or personal property used by an animal enterprise.” The activists say personal property can include a loss of profits for a business, meaning that a fur protester who persuades a consumer not to shop at a particular store could face a terrorism charge. The law also can be used to prosecute anyone who “intentionally places a person in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury” through threats, vandalism, harassment or intimidation.

“The fear of prosecution is not hypothetical and the chill is not hypothetical,” said Alex Reinert, a lawyer for the activists.  U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro did not immediately rule on the government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Sarah jane Blum, of Minneapolis, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said she has been an animal rights activist for more than two decades, but she has turned down public speaking offers and is afraid to show an undercover video she made at a foie gras farm because she is afraid she could be prosecuted under the law. “Every single time I am asked to speak, I have to do a calculus in my head about whether it can be construed as illegal speech and illegal action,” she said after the hearing.

PD note:  Whine, whine, whine. Until the courts dismantle the law, it’s going to be there.

3/18/13 UPDATE:  …the court concludes that Plaintiffs lack Article III standing to bring their challenges. Accordingly, Defendant Holder’s Motion to Dismiss [#11] is ALLOWED. Find the decision here.

UPDATE to Blum v. Holder: Government moves to dismiss based on plaintiffs’ lack of standing “Because They Have Not Suffered Any Specific Present Objective Harm or Alleged a Threat of Specific Future Harm.” The document, filed 3/9/12, is available here.

9/7/12 UPDATE – “U.S. seeks to block challenge by animal rights group” –  BloombergBusinessweek;

ACLU of Mass. files amicus brief challenging AETA on vagueness that arises from two overarching statutory flaws.

One of the key elements in constitutional law is this: Whatever the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) says, goes…. The Supremes are not reversed by any other courts. Only the Supremes can decide to reverse their own decisions. SO even if the case was appealed and lost, ARs could try for the SCOTUS, and if the SCOTUS refuses to hear it, it’s done.

IF the SCOTUS decides to hear it, as they did with THREE  LOSING HSUS cases— then that means, ARs lose, lose, and lose. This has happened [as we keep saying year after year] in the violent video law of CA, brought to court by HSUS, the no selling of animal cruelty depictions, drafted in part by HSUS, and HEAVILY criticized by SCOTUS as completely and utterly unconstitutional [case is U.S. v Stevens] …and the preemption of the downer cow CA law as it applied to piggies. SCOTUS heard all of these cases and HSUS lost big time.  Are we the only people who realize this?

If you don’t like HSUS then you should know HSUS is not a favorite with the SCOTUS.

First Video to Result in #AgGag Prosecution (and Dismissal) — Watch and See Why: Watch as a Utah woman standing on public property is confronted first by slaughterhouse personnel and then by police. At Green is the New Red.

Muzzling a Movement: First Amendment Cases, here

Civil Liberties Defense Center
A comprehensive primer: AETA intro; background; language of the law; implications; enforcement; and cases where AETA has been used, here
“Under well-established principles of Constitutional law, the AETA is unconstitutional because the language of the law is both too vague and too broad. The law’s vague language makes it impossible for an individual to know if an act of public protest could potentially land the individual in federal prison convicted as a “terrorist.” “   PD:…. Really? and have we seen anyone convicted of protesting and nothing more– go to federal prison?

Jurist: “AETA threatens activism” here
“Regardless of how one feels about animal rights or animal rights activists, the targeting of political activists as “terrorists” because they cause a loss of corporate profits sets a dangerous precedent.”   PD:  Really? And wiping out all sales or display of animals– except if  done by “non profits”— does not set any precedent?

Equal Justice Alliance here
“AETA is excessively broad and vague by covering nearly all enterprises and by implicating individuals who merely attempt or discuss “interference” with their operation. It imposes excessively harsh penalties when compared with other similar federal offenses. It has a chilling effect on social justice advocacy.”

PD:  Really! And since when were we worried with what penalties are meted out? Could it be that the government is tired of all the fire bombing?

Subverting Justice: An indictment of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Acthere, from 2007, by Kimberly E. McCoy, listed as Executive Director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.  “First they came for the terrorists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a terrorist. Or so I thought . . .”

PD:  oh really now! The Sea Shepherd boat that loves to be funded by movie stars and then maybe crashes, gets re funded, and let’s go play pirates?  Sheesh…..

Animal Enterprise Terrorism 101: here
Analysis of AETA: Using “terrorism” rhetoric to chill free speech and protect corporate profits   here       Yeah, yeah, yeah…….but it’s ok to have radical groups infiltrate the government, then end up running the government?  WTH?!

Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) was the lone voice of dissent to speak against AETA before it was signed into law. Read his statement here.
“Balancing Constitutional concerns against the protection of people and property is never easy. Unfortunately, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act goes too far in the wrong direction.”   Well dennis…….even if you were right, we don’t agree with ya.  But we did post your link.


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