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Supreme Court refuses to hear Project Veritas vs. Massachusetts Registration Act case

The United States Supreme Court declined to hear James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas appeal against lower court decisions dismissing a challenge to a Massachusetts law that prohibits anyone except officers from police, to make secret recordings.

According to his petition for certiorari (i.e. his appeal to the Supreme Court), Project Veritas challenged a decision made against him by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, noting that the law was in conflict with decisions of other circuits that such laws were “overly broad under the First Amendment”, that is, they were so broad as to infringe upon the liberty of the hurry.

Project Veritas hadn’t actually broken the law, but wanted the law thrown out so it could carry its trademark of undercover journalism into the state. As a result, he asked the Supreme Court to rule against the First Circuit’s ruling that Project Veritas should describe “any kind of speech activity contemplated” that could break the law in order for the case to be “ripe.” – that is to say for it to reach the stage where it would be appropriate for the courts to intervene on its behalf.

In its ruling, the First Circuit overturned judgments for both Project Veritas in the lower district court. The district court had agreed with Project Veritas that the law should not apply to recordings made by government officials in “public spaces.” He sent the case back to the district court to be dismissed – but without prejudice, which means it could be re-filed later.

An amicus brief filed by Gene A. Schaerr argued that Massachusetts law violated the First Amendment and criminalized behavior that in the smartphone age has become so commonplace that it is almost trivial.

These cases are distinct from Project Veritas’ attempt to prevent the Justice Department from using materials seized in a bizarre raid on O’Keefe’s New York home, and his libel lawsuit against the New York Times in a New York court.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent eBook Ni Free ni Fair: The 2020 US Presidential Election. His latest book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni scholarship recipient. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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