Friday, April 18, 2003

Free speech and government money 

Eugene Volokh posts about a computer contract with the Defense Dept. that was cancelled. The catch is that the leader of the company had made anti-war statements, and contends that the contract was pulled because of his views. Volokh points out that there may well have been other reasons (the company has a number of foreign developers, with which the government may not want to share secrets), but that if the company's contention is correct, it is a violation of that company's speech rights. Would that we learn that lesson here: A local business leader had a letter to the editor of the local paper suggesting that state employee wages be frozen to help balance the state budget (such a proposal is already under consideration in the state legislature, causing much acrimony.) The leader of one of the university's unions circulated it with a call for stopping to do business with that firm. Once again, left-wing speech is the only speech that is protected. Someone who wants to ask government spending to be curtailed rather than pay higher taxes is not granted to same rights.