Commentary: Curtis Hill Finds Three More Minds Like His
By John Krull
INDIANAPOLIS – Beleaguered and outgoing Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill and some pals have taken on a new project.
Hill and the attorneys general from Texas, Louisiana and Missouri all want to police what social media platforms publish so conservatives don’t get their feelings hurt by fact-checking the right’s more dubious claims. They sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission saying it was unfair and downright mean for conservatives such as them to be subjected to such unjust standards as truth, accuracy and fairness.
Hill’s standing to make such a claim is impeccable.
He is, after all, not quite three months removed from having his license to practice law suspended. His suspension came about because the disciplinary commission and the Indiana Supreme Court determined he had engaged in criminal conduct by groping four women at a party without their consent, trying to cover his boorishness and attempting to discredit and intimidate the women he assaulted.
He also precipitated a small-scale constitutional crisis by refusing to resign his office when his license to practice was suspended, even though Indiana’s attorney general must be a lawyer in good standing.
Lectures about fairness and standards of decency from such a pillar of rectitude are just what America and Indiana need right now.
His cohorts in this effort to muzzle truth and accuracy are almost as impressive as he is.
Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, has been under indictment for federal securities fraud for more than five years. He and his defense lawyers have tossed up one delaying tactic after another to keep the case from moving forward. His latest stunt – er, maneuver – has been to demand that the judge in the case recuse himself because Paxton’s office is defending that judge and 20 others in an unrelated lawsuit over bail practices.
In other words, the attorney general who has been accused of criminal conduct shouldn’t be required to step down, but the judge he’s defending should be.
No wonder Curtis Hill likes this guy so much.
They think alike about questions of personal responsibility and ethical behavior.
They’re scrupulous in applying rigid standards to other people while excusing their own lapses with a generous sense of forgiveness.
Then there’s Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, whose fidelity to both free expression and family are a wonder to behold.
Landry’s zealous efforts to prevent LGBTQ citizens from receiving civil rights protections and to keep Louisiana universities even from teaching courses dealing with LGBTQ issues have been so extreme that his own brother, who is gay, came out in opposition to him.
It’s a peach of a guy who hates gays more than he loves his own blood.
Let’s not forget Eric Schmitt, Missouri’s attorney general.
His novel contribution to First Amendment law was to first offer then withdraw a brief arguing that the constitutional amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech and freedom of the press granted government the right to withhold any document it chose. The brief was unusual in that it cited no – as in, zip, zero – case law to support Schmitt’s position.
When four such brilliant legal minds come together, something special is bound to occur.
That’s what happened in this case.
The heart of their argument is that Twitter committed an injustice by labeling a Tweet by President Donald Trump about the evils of mail-in voting as inaccurate.
To demonstrate how unjust that was, the four scholars cited as evidence their own statements in opposition to mail-in voting and a report from that paragon of journalistic integrity and fairness, Fox News.
The circularity of their argument is every bit as impressive and effective as a dog’s efforts to chase its own tail.
Curtis Hill has only a few more months to serve as Indiana’s attorney general.
It’s good to see that he’s found some buddies to while away the time while thinking deep thoughts.
And arguing legal positions that deserve a special place in the FCC’s trash bin.
FOOTNOTE: John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.