Mayor Gets City Council To Pass Law Demanding Critical Website Get Shut Down

from the not-going-down-that-freedom-of-speech-road dept

What is it with politicians and their problems with free speech? Apparently, the mayor of Bordentown, New Jersey, one James E. Lynch Jr., is pretty damn upset about the website BordentownMayorReallySucks.com. I guess you can understand why. Now, of course, when you have critics like that, there are all sorts of things you can do in response. You can respond to the criticism. You can ignore the criticism. You can take legal action against specific statements if you believe they are defamatory. What you don't get to do is pass a law that requires the company that hosts the site to shut it down.

But, it appears, that's exactly what Bordentown Mayor James Lynch is doing.

Apparently, Lynch convinced the town council to agree to a "resolution" demanding the ISP that hosts the site take it down, saying that it "violates New Jersey's consumer affairs law and possibly other state and federal laws." I love the vagueness of "possibly" violating other laws. Now, as the article notes, the site was, at one time (briefly) just called BordentownMayor.com, but quickly renamed itself. So it's unlikely that there's any confusion going on these days. Sucks sites have been found to be legal time and time and time again.

If there's specific defamatory content, as the mayor claims, I could see a reasonable case for dealing with that (though, in all honesty, doing so would just call more attention to the content). But demanding that the entire site be shut down? That's going way beyond what the law allows, and no town resolution gets to ignore things like the First Amendment. But, the best part may be the quote from Mayor Lynch:
"This website has to be removed," the mayor said. "I'm not going to go down the freedom of speech road. But some of the stuff that's on there is fraudulent. You want to put information out? Fine. Say you don't like me? Fine. But attacks on my wife, my daughter? I won't stand for that."
Except, you are going down that freedom of speech road by trying to take down the whole site, in pretty clear violation of the First Amendment. If there is specific content that is defamatory, then sue over that content. Do not use your position is mayor to pass a special resolution demanding a website be shut down completely.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    Great article, check your spelling though.

     

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    pegr, May 26th, 2010 @ 1:41pm

    Demading?

     

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    Seth, May 26th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

    This would make me want to vote for him even less, as it is clearly an abuse of power.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2010 @ 1:50pm

    I mean, I can understand his anger if they started expressing gross profanities against his family. Not that I agree or disagree with how he handled the situation, but I can definitely understand his anger and reaction, especially if what was claimed was false and malicious. It is a slippery slope though.

     

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    Phillip Vector (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 1:51pm

    This town I consider my hometown (actually, it was Roebling which was the next town south, but Bordentown was the nearest "big" town near me).

    I feel ashamed all of a sudden.

     

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      aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 2:16pm

      Re:

      Try living in East Texas and see how ashamed you feel.

       

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        tijir (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 3:13pm

        Re: Re:

        "Try living in East Texas and see how ashamed you feel."


        Ashamed of living in East Texas? Not a chance, it is awesome here.

        I guess you are referring to the all the patent lawsuits that get filed here. There is no shame in me for some idiotic judges who refuse to understand these things.

         

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          aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), May 27th, 2010 @ 7:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I don't know about awesome, but yes, I was partially referring to the idiotic judges. The other part is the big truck/shit kicker culture that is so prevalent.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2010 @ 2:08pm

    the basic legal question would be if this is a new law, or just a non-binding resolution by the city coucil. did they actually pass a law, or just a statement? both pieces are lacking in this very basic and very important difference between the two.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2010 @ 2:26pm

      Re:

      Hardly relevant. One is worse, but the other isn't any better.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2010 @ 6:54pm

        Re: Re:

        very relevant, actually. one is a law, must be followed, the other is a non-binding resolution, sort of like talking out loud or perhaps making a post on a blog. the difference would be rather big.

         

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        btr1701 (profile), May 27th, 2010 @ 7:37am

        Re: Re: Law

        > Hardly relevant. One is worse, but the other
        > isn't any better.

        It's extremely relevant legally.

        A resolution is just the city council (or Congress or whoever) saying, "This is what we feel." It's basically just their opinion on the matter. It has no binding requirement on anyone or force of law. As such can't be overturned by the courts.

        An ordinance, statute or regulation, however, does bind people and have the force of law and therefore is subject to judicial review.

         

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      Nastybutler77 (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 2:42pm

      Re:

      "Hardly relevant."

      Those two words sum up virtually everything that TAM has ever posted here. Once again he's making his tired "there's not enough information in this article to reach that conclusion" arguement.

      If you're not TAM, then I apologize, but you sure sound like him.

       

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    Anonymous Poster, May 26th, 2010 @ 2:31pm

    James Lynch, meet the Streisand Effect.

    Streisand Effect, meet James Lynch.

    You two play nice now.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2010 @ 3:09pm

      Re:

      Didn't know that Bordentown, New Jersey existed, or anything about it, until know. Now I know that a) it exists and b) the Mayor sucks. So chin(s) up Jimmy, look at what being introduced to the world as someone who sucks did for Monica Lewinsky's career.

      Oh...

       

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      btr1701 (profile), May 27th, 2010 @ 7:38am

      Re: Streisand

      > James Lynch, meet the Streisand Effect.

      What's funny is the Bordentown sucks site actually has a picture of Babs alongside the mayor's photo.

       

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    Pixelation, May 26th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    Fightin' words

    " But attacks on my wife, my daughter? I won't stand for that."
    I'm gonna bitch slap you with a resolution to ban your website, bitch!
    That mayor is one tough SOB. Don't mess with his family or he'll step on your rights.
    Thank God he's only in local politics.

     

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    bubba, May 26th, 2010 @ 3:18pm

    is this the James E. Lynch Jr t who raped his daughters?

    because this could be another James E. Lynch Jr, i would have to check with Streisand on which James E. Lynch Jr this is i guess, but i heard that there was a James E. Lynch Jr who was a rapist and made child porn in his basement...

     

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      james e lynch, May 26th, 2010 @ 3:28pm

      Re: is this the James E. Lynch Jr t who raped his daughters?

      I do not make child porn in my basement. It's too damp. I use the attic.

       

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    identicon
    Pixelation, May 26th, 2010 @ 4:43pm

    Fightin' words

    " But attacks on my wife, my daughter? I won't stand for that."
    I'm gonna bitch slap you with a resolution to ban your website, bitch!
    That mayor is one tough SOB. Don't mess with his family or he'll step on your rights.
    Thank God he's only in local politics.

     

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    Mike, May 26th, 2010 @ 4:54pm

    I just registered a site...

    called BordentownMayorPiratesCopywritedDVDs.com and I'm hosting it at my house.. Now the esteemed Mayor can get the MPAA involved... and really get "All Agencies" involved.
    I may get BordentownMayorBroadcastsMajorLeagueBaseballWithoutExpressWrittenConsent.com but my registrar charges by the letter so I have to sell a few more DVD's in Times Square before I can afford it.

     

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      Dave, May 26th, 2010 @ 5:16pm

      Re: I just registered a site...

      Just use 08505MayorSucksBalls.com it is less then half the letters and can get the same point across.

      And to get the MPAA involved just print the DVD liners with the putz's email address on it.

       

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    steve, May 26th, 2010 @ 11:56pm

    what will the isp do?

    I hope that ISP tells the mayor and the city council to go fuck themselves, and if they don't i hope to God a lawyer will see this story and sue the town and the ISP. A funny thing they could do is just block the site from his home and office ip

     

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    Yogi, May 27th, 2010 @ 12:52am

    WTF

    Does anyone in the United States have any idea how this democracy thing works? Sure doesn't look like it.

    It's as if there is a basic contradiction between politics and democracy in the States.

     

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      Any Mouse, May 27th, 2010 @ 3:51am

      Re: WTF

      Yes, let us take the actions of one incompetent moron and apply them to over 300 million people! That makes sense, right?

       

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    Your confirmation system sucks, May 27th, 2010 @ 6:23am

    Godaddy has hosting for $4.99 per month.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    send the mayor your thoughts:
    btownch@verizon.net

     

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    Overtkill (profile), May 27th, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Hmmm!

    Who runs Bordentown?? Call Him Mayor MASTER-BLASTER!

    You talk bad about mah clan? EMBARGO ON!!!!

     

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