Journalists are pressing forward in their pursuit of the rescue of the Bill of Rights from a federal government determined to hold not only the Constitution hostage, but perhaps indefinitely detain those brave enough to defend it.
Seven dedicated plaintiffs have filed a complaint in federal court challenging key provisions National Defense Authorization Act. Specifically, the suit avers that the vagueness of several key terms in that law are creating a dangerous environment for reporters and activists to such a degree that the right of free speech is being infringed.
Named defendants in the complaint include President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Attorney General Eric Holder, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and Arizona Senator John McCain among others.
The Freedom 7, as the plaintiffs have been christened by the media, count many notable journalists and activists in their number. First, there is Pulitzer Prize-winning Chris Hedges (pictured). Hedges is joined by Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, and Icelandic politician Birgitta Jonsdottir.
On Thursday, March 29, a few of the plaintiffs appeared for the first time before District Court Judge Kathryn B. Forrest in a federal courtroom in Manhattan. In order for the case to proceed, representatives of the Freedom 7 must demonstrate that those who have joined in the lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the NDAA have legal standing to initiate a proceeding against the federal government.
In order to clear the “standing” hurdle, plaintiffs must provide evidence sufficient to demonstrate a “reasonable fear” of being denied their First Amendment rights and of being detained by the government of the United States for the exercise thereof.
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