Ninth Circuit Court Rules that Oregon Anti-Recording Law is Unconstitutional

On July 3, 2023, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a law prohibiting the recording of individuals who do not explicitly consent to their voices being captured is unconstitutional, due to, in the court’s view, how it infringes the First Amendment. 

James O’Keefe of O’Keefe Media Group (OMG) published a post about the decision online, highlighting that comes after he filed  a lawsuit in Portland, Oregon roughly three years ago. In PVA v. Schmidt, O’Keefe’s former place of employment contended that the Oregon law transgressed the US Constitution, especially with respect to the rights of individuals engaging in undercover investigative journalism.

The ruling was dealing with Oregon Revised Statute 165.540, which highlights that a person may not “Obtain or attempt to obtain the whole or any part of a conversation by means of any device” in any cases involving parties that are not “specifically informed” that the conversation is being recorded. 

9th Circuit Judge Sandra S. Ikuta, who crafted the opinion, wrote, “Oregon does not have a compelling interest in protecting individuals’ conversational privacy from other individuals’ protected speech in places open to the public, even if that protected speech consists of creating audio or visual recordings of other people.”

Ikuta also said that Oregon’s law constituted a “content-based restriction that violates the First Amendment right to free speech,” continuing by noting that it is “therefore invalid on its face.”

“Accordingly, we conclude that the statute is facially unconstitutional,” Ikuta’s opinion stated. 

O’Keefe called attention to a decision by a judge named Michael W. Mosman was previously overturned and overruled. 

“I knew this law was unconstitutional when my masterful free speech attorneys Barr, Klein and I entered the Marc O. Hatfield courthouse in 2020 with heavy security under threat of violence. Journalism is alive and well in the state of Oregon, expect to see more of OMG in the beaver state,” O’Keefe said to The Post Millennial.

The US still remains unique for its respect for free speech. While Americans have lost traditional economic freedoms over the last century, free speech has remained largely intact. 

Nevertheless, eternal vigilance is always required.

The bulk of the American political class at all levels of government has no respect for basic freedoms. These people’s tyrannical machinations must be stopped if we want to truly preserve our freedoms. 

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