Written by Miguel Palacios
The first amendment of the Constitution gives the people of the United States the assurance that they can speak freely, observe whichever religion they choose, publish materials, congregate, and petition the government for the redress of grievances without the fear of reprisal. Most of us know that, but many on the left do not respect those rights. One of those individuals is City of Carlsbad Councilmember Cori Schumacher.
Councilmember Schumacher filed a petition for a restraining order against political bloggers who she claimed were harassing her. According to Schumacher, these individuals were attending public City Council meetings and causing distractions like walking around during the meeting and asking her questions about her political stance. In response to the petition for the restraining order, one blogger filed an Anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (Anti-SLAPP) motion.
Schumacher proceeded to declare to the courts that the bloggers continued to harass her as she claimed before. Nevertheless, upon reviewing the case, the courts decided that Schumacher’s petition for a restraining order was meritless and granted the blogger’s motion, finding Cori Schumacher in violation of the Anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.
In other words, a public official like Schumacher cannot make complaints or file petitions against individuals of the community to bar them from attending public meetings. These community members have the right to attend these meetings, speak freely and petition the government and public officials to redress their grievances. By restricting them or barring them from public meetings, it violates their constitutional rights guaranteed by the first amendment.
Additionally, Schumacher has now cost herself or the City of Carlsbad about $42,000, as Noel Breen, one of the individuals Schumacher targeted, has sued the city for court fees.
“Which Cori Schumacher filed this restraining order? Was it her individually, as a candidate for public office or as an elected official?” Scott Talkov, Breen’s attorney asked. “She may be very interested in the city finding that she was acting in her official capacity so that the city has to pay it so she doesn’t have to pay it.”
Whether the City of Schumacher’s campaign is liable for the charges is now up to the courts to decide.
“If the court rules her campaign is liable, every person who donates to Cori Schumacher will be donating to the attorneys who defeated her meritless efforts to chill the First Amendment rights of her opponents,” Talkov said. “That will cause her fundraising to dry up overnight.”
Photo via NBC San Diego