The $25 million verdict against the organizers of the Unite the Right Rally was largely praised for holding them responsible for the death and injuries caused when one participant drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors. Many also saw this as a way to send a message to other activists who might organize events with the intent of fomenting violence.
While Neo-Nazis aren't a tough group to feel sympathy for, can civil suits against rally organizers serve as a convenient end-run around the First Amendment? In this episode of YDHTY, Garrett Epps, Professor Emeritus at the University of Baltimore School of Law, discusses the case of DeRay McKesson, a Black Lives Matter activist who has been locked in a five year legal battle launched by a police officer who sustained injuries at a rally he spoke at.
In this episode, we discuss how the arbitrary nature of state law and more partisan courts can make financial ruin a consequence of activism and provide states with a way to suppress speech they don't care for.
You can listen to the full episode below, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or other podcast players.