Do politicians have a First Amendment right to lie to you?

Do politicians have a First Amendment right to lie on the campaign trail? Perhaps so, a federal court suggests in a new ruling.

North Carolina’s ban on dishonesty in political campaigns is “facially unconstitutional,” said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal is not final. Rather, the court held that a lower court erred in not temporarily suspending enforcement against the state attorney general because his challenge to the statute had been exhausted. But in doing so, the appeals court judges also held that the attorney general’s challenge was probably correct on the merits of the case and that it was hard to imagine him losing.

The case stems from the attempted prosecution of North Carolina’s Democratic attorney general (and, now, gubernatorial candidate) Josh Stein. Stein was up for re-election in 2020 and ran against Republican Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill. “O’Neill left 1,500 rape kits on a shelf,” Stein’s campaign ad said.

O’Neill contends that this criticism is inaccurate because police — not prosecutors — are in charge of processing rape kits.

He filed a complaint with the North Carolina Board of Elections, accusing Stein of violating a 1931 North Carolina law that criminalizes “defamatory” campaign advertising that candidates “tell falsely or with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity, When eg Reports are calculated or intended to influence the prospects of such candidates nomination or election.”

The board did not recommend criminal charges. Even so, Wake County District Attorney Lorraine Freeman planned to present the indictment to a state grand jury last summer.

On the offensive, Stein sued to stop the prosecution. A district court declined to grant a preliminary injunction against the statute.

Now, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has handed Stein an early victory, overturning the district court’s denial of the ban and declaring the law “probably unconstitutional on two counts.”

the firstthe law At least some truthful statements appear to be criminal—in effect the First Amendment forbid” Judge Toby J. Haytens wrote, pointing out that the court did not find “any Suggested ‘defamatory’ sources refer only to factually false statements For this reason, the law may be “Chilling Effects on Truthful Speech During Political Campaigns.”

the secondEven if the Act reaches only false statements, it makes it impermissible content-based distinctions in choosing what speech to ban,” Heiten wrote.

The law, for example, “does not prohibit promoting a candidate’s credentials or promoting self-aggrandizing falsehoods, nor does it touch on falsehoods that undermine the presumption of electoral integrity without reference to a particular candidate.” and “Under this law, speakers can lie with impunity As long as businessmen, celebrities, purely private citizens, and even government officials The victim is not currently a ‘primary or election candidate’. This is textbook content discrimination, which the First Amendment prohibits.

The Court of Appeals vacated the district court’s order denying a preliminary injunction and “Remand the case to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

free mind

Missouri’s version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill states that only licensed mental health professionals can talk to students about sexual orientation or gender identity.. The proposal, heard earlier this week before the Missouri Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee, would “prohibit teachers from discussing gender identity or sexual orientation at any grade level, regardless of class subject matter,” the report said. Kansas City Star:

It would restrict any public or charter school staff member from discussing gender identity or sexual orientation unless they are a mental health care provider and have permission from a parent.

It would go further than Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law that passed last year. In Florida, the law prohibits the instruction of gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade, but Missouri does not specify a grade level.

Critics of the bill say it would prohibit LGBTQ teachers from discussing their spouses because it could indicate their sexual orientation. They say it could ban teaching books that include LGBTQ characters or topics, and ban discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in health classes.

Missouri State Sen. Mike Moon, the Ash Grove Republican behind the bill, said the bill is intended to allow mental health professionals to counsel students instead of staff members who may not be properly trained.

The moon is calling it “Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act.” You can find the full text of the bill (SB 134) here. A legal summary says it will “Prohibit any school nurse, counselor, teacher, principal, or other staff member of any public or charter school from discussing gender identity or sexual orientation with a student unless that person is a licensed mental health provider with prior parental permission.”

free market

Would you have more kids if it meant never paying taxes again? The New York Times‘ Jessica Gross looks at Hungary’s plan to exempt some mothers from income tax:

In December, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s political director Dr Tweeted, “Women who become mothers before age 30 will be exempt from paying personal income tax!” This is on top of other initiatives to increase the number of Hungarian children, including a permanent tax exemption for mothers of four or more children, a mortgage repayment plan for families with two or more children, a subsidy program with larger families buying seven-passenger cars, and Allowing grandparents to be eligible for payments to care for their grandchildren.

As Hungarian diplomat Andras Donsev explained in a November talk at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service, it’s as part of a conference on “who’s called.”Worldwide birth strike“The Hungarian government spends more than 5 percent of its GDP on family support; it spends three times as much on families as its army, he said.

Will it work? The history of such pro-natalist policies in other countries does not bode well for this phenomenon. Jennifer D. Sciubba, author 8 Billion and Counting: How Gender, Death and Migration Shape Our World, Noting that Hungary’s fertility rate has risen from 1.2 to 1.5, but it is still nowhere near replacement level fertility (which is 2.1). Hungary only managed to increase its ” super low Fertility to just regular ole low fertility.”

More from Grose:

When Sciubba and I spoke, he said it almost seems like once a country falls below replacement level, no matter how many family-friendly policies are enacted, it can’t get back up. “I think we have a lot more to learn about it, but it’s interesting,” he said. The reason is likely a complex mix of social and cultural forces that are unique to individual countries. But at its core, it seems to me that any amount of additional financial support would make a person not want to be a parent without an underlying desire for children that goes beyond a realistic level of compensation. Some people don’t want to be parents when they’re allowed to make that choice, and that’s not something that should or can be changed.

Quick hit

• A bipartisan group of senators reintroduced legislation to repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMFs) that gave the green light to the Gulf War and the Iraq War. “Congress has failed to repeal these AUMFs to prevent potential abuse by future presidents,” notes an emailed statement from Sen. Rand Paul’s office. You can find the full bill here.

• Josh Barro sees “Biden’s effective and Clintonesque sowing of fear, uncertainty and doubt about Republicans’ stewardship of popular benefit programs.”

• Texas is challenging a Biden administration rule that would have required pharmacies to dispense abortion drugs to anyone with a valid prescription.

• At least nine states are trying to restrict or criminalize drag shows

• A former employee of St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Transgender Center writes about shaky standards of care there.

• The Biden administration’s new Title IX rule becomes public in May, “although it’s unclear when it will go into effect,” notes USA Today. Biden’s changes would add gender identity discrimination to the scope of the law, expand the definition of sexual harassment (requiring schools to investigate anything that meets this lower bar), and require schools to use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard rather than the more stringent “purity.” and credible evidence” standard in sexual assault cases.

• An anonymous State Department official said the Chinese balloon the Pentagon shot down last weekend had “multiple antennas” for intelligence gathering and were “incompatible” with weather balloons. Since the balloon was shot down, several officials have made anonymous statements that it was a spy balloon. But no official statement has been released since the launch of the balloon.

• San Francisco Supervisor Hilary Ronen is urging state lawmakers to decriminalize prostitution.

• The idea that Americans have been gaining weight since the 1980s is wrong, suggests Matthew Yglesias.

• Some things most people get wrong about the brain.