That’s Not How Any Of This Works

More news coming out of Frederick County tonight, as Republican County Councilman Kirby Delauter proved himself to be a clown.

The Daily Record’s Bryan Sears (via Twitter) was the one who tipped me off to the story of Councilman Delauter threatening Frederick News-Post reporter Bethany Rodgers with legal action if she……wrote about him in the news paper.

Oddly, this is in fact real life and this actually did happen.

Delauter’s efforts then got national attention in a hurry when prominent legal blogger Eugene Volokh posted the story on the world-renound Volokh Conspiracy blog. Volokh notes:

Uh, Council Member: In our country, newspapers are actually allowed to write about elected officials (and others) without their permission. It’s an avantgarde experiment, to be sure, but we’ve had some success with it.

Our friend and former Red Maryland colleague Andrew Langer summed it up thusly:


Needless to say, Kirby Delauter doesn’t seem to understand that this is not how any of this works. We have a right to freedom of speech in this country, a right that was created expressly to allow for criticism of elected officials and those who are in the political world. I’m not entirely sure how Delauter made it this far in political life without recognizing that basic and fundamental aspect of American society, nor am I particularly aware as to how he ever won elected office as a Republican without the most basic understanding of the Bill of Rights. Delauter has every right in the world to not talk to Bethany Rodgers (or anybody else, for that matter), but to say that he has legal protection from having his name mentioned in the newspaper is bizarre and chilling.

Kirby Delauter needs to do the right thing and apologize…..

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