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Harold Hutchison / Aug. 28, 2018

The ACLU Stirs Against Cuomo

The New York Democrat is targeting the NRA, but gun rights have perhaps an unlikely ally.

Good news has emerged in the ongoing legal battle of New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s abuse of financial regulations to target the National Rifle Association. The American Civil Liberties Union has joined the fight — and it is siding with free speech.

We have noted the ACLU’s silence on select issues of free speech in the past, and Cuomo was prominently cited. We’re glad to update the record, but this is something that should have been done when Cuomo made the threats. The good news is that the ACLU doesn’t want the case dismissed, which means a favorable ruling could come. The bad news: The ACLU has taken a limited step, only supporting discovery, not the actual objective itself.

The fact is, though, once it goes to discovery, we’re likely to see the evidence that what the NRA claims is being done is actually happening. It’s a fair bet that when the NRA filed its suit, the corporate partners who ended relationships in the face of Cuomo’s intimidation campaign left behind some evidence.

Cuomo’s unapologetic attitude — all but daring somebody to do something about his campaign — will also likely have trickled down, and some aides will have stuff in their emails. This will, in a court of law, make it hard for any jury to find in the governor’s favor.

The fact is, even an injunction and a favorable jury verdict will not completely undo the harm that has been done. Even if the consent decrees for Chubb and Lockton are voided, those companies may not come back — because even with the vindication, the process has become punishment for having the temerity to oppose the Left, just as the “John Doe” investigations were used by leftist prosecutors in Wisconsin against allies of Scott Walker, and just as the IRS was used to stifle the Tea Party.

That said, the ACLU probably didn’t just act on principle. Recently, Louisiana told Citigroup and Bank of America not to bother trying to take part in financing a round of road construction due to the banks’ participation in a push for corporate gun control. In the ACLU’s release, it specifically stated that Cuomo’s actions could be replicated for use against Planned Parenthood or the Communist Party. The ACLU’s decision came eight days after Louisiana’s announcement and was part of a Friday news dump.

So while we can be grateful the ACLU is standing to stop government retaliation against those who exercise their First (and Second) Amendment rights, we also must not kid ourselves. Our constitutional rights are at grave risk.

(Edited.)

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