Please – SUPPORT passage of the NATIONAL version of New Yolberrrk State’s
“Rachel’s Law”—THE FREE SPEECH PROTECTION ACT (S-2977 & H.R. 5814)—-Rachel Ehrenfeld, the heroine of Free Speech


 
The “Free Speech Protection Act” was introduced by Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Arlen Specter (R-PA).
 
Like NYS’s “Rachel’s Law” this federal bill would protect American journalists from libel suits brought in foreign jurisdictions lacking the same free speech protections found in the U.S. Constitution.
 
The bill has been assigned to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.
 
 
If free speech is important to you, PLEASE contact the House and Senate Judiciary Committees’ Members and staff (contacts below) and urge them to approve the bill and vote for its passage as soon as possible.
 
“Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of expression of ideas, opinions, and research, and freedom of exchange of information are all essential to the functioning of a democracy, and the fight against terrorism,” Senator Specter said. “There is a real danger that American writers and researchers will be afraid to address the crucial subject of terror funding and other important matters without these protections.”
 
“Discovering the truth requires full and open debate, which is not possible when courts are used to chill inquiry and research,” Senator Lieberman said. “The freedom of American journalists should not be threatened by foreign courts that do not adhere to America’s principles of free speech.”
 
“Our journalists provide us with insight on issues that affect all Americans, such as war and terrorism,” Rep. King said. “We cannot allow their voices to be silenced by those who prefer to keep secret
the inner details of these issues. American authors and journalists should be able to practice their first amendment right without the fear of a lawsuit.”
 
This legislation will create federal jurisdiction and a federal cause of action allowing federal courts to determine—when foreigners sue U.S. journalists, speakers, or academics  in foreign courts for their U.S. speeches or publications—whether defamation has occurred under U.S. law. The bill will authorize a U.S. court to bar enforcement in the U.S. of a foreign judgment or damage awards.
 
The impetus for this legislation is litigation involving Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, a U.S. citizen and Director of the American Center for Democracy (www.acdemocracy.org
<http://www.acdemocracy.org> ). Dr. Ehrenfeld’s 2003 book, Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It, which was published solely in the United States by a U. S. publisher, alleged that a Saudi Arabian and his family financially supported Al Qaeda in the years preceding the attacks of September 11. Although only 23 books were sold in the United Kingdom, the Saudi sued Ehrenfeld for libel there.
 
Defamation plaintiffs around the world have made the U.K. a popular venue for libel suits  since English law does not require a libel plaintiff to prove falsity or actual malice as is does U.S. law. Until
now, U.S. journalists or publications named as defendants in such cases were not protected by the First Amendment in the U.S. Rather, they were forced either to take on the massive expense, inconvenience and distress of fighting a foreign libel case, or of accepting the defamation inveighed on them by the courts otherwise certain to rule against them by default.
 
 
To protect U.S. writers, publishers and free speech rights against frivolous foreign libel suits—and a bedrock foundation of U.S. Democracy—it is critical that all Americans urge members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to support this measure.
 
 
Below is a sample letter—and links to websites of the House and Senate Judiciary Committee Members and their staffs.
 
Thank you.
 
 
 Dear….
 
PLEASE SUPPORT THE FREE SPEECH PROTECTION ACT (S-2977 & H.R. 5814),
aka “Rachel’s Law”
 
 
“Rachel’s Law” was introduced to provide legal protections from
“libel terrorism” to New York authors and publishers. In a tremendous
victory for free speech rights, the bill passed both the Assembly and
the Senate and was signed by Governor Patterson on May 1, 2008.
 
Legislation to protect authors and publishers in all states has now
been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives (bill number H.R.
5814) and Senate (bill number S-2977). Entitled the “Free Speech
Protection Act,” introduced by Representatives Peter King (R-NY) and
Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Arlen
Specter (R-PA).
 
This bill would protect American journalists from libel suits brought
in foreign courts that do not have the same protections for free
speech that are found in the U.S. Constitution.
 
I urge you to support efforts to approve the bill and vote for its
passage as soon as possible.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Below is contact information for the Senatorial Judiciary Committee,
the Congressional Judiciary Committee, and Staff.
 
General Judiciary Committee –
http://judiciary.house.gov/contact.aspx
 
Staff Majority Communications Director Jonathan Godfrey –
(202) 225-3951
 
Majority Press Secretary/Spokesperson  Melanie Roussell – (202) 225-3951
             Majority Staff Director/Chief Counsel  Perry Apelbaum –
(202) 225-3951
             Minority Chief of Staff/General Counselor – (202) 226-0002
             Minority Communications Director  Kim Smith – (202) 225-6906
 
Senators on Committee
 
            NY Charles Schumer –
 
http://schumer.senate.gov/SchumerWebsite/contact/webform.cfm
             Press Secretary Brian Fallon –  (202) 224-7433
 
             VT Patrick J. Leahy  –
http://leahy.senate.gov/contact.cfm
             Press Secretary Erica Chabot – (202) 224-2154
 
             MA Edward Kennedy –
http://kennedy.senate.gov/senator/contact.cfm
             Press Secretary Melissa Wagoner –  (202) 224-2633
 
             DE Joseph Biden –
http://biden.senate.gov/services/contact/
             Press Secreatary Elizabeth Alexander – (202) 224-2154
 
             WI Herbert Kohl –
http://kohl.senate.gov/gen_contact.html
             Press Secretary Lynn Becker –  (202) 224-2240
 
             WI Russ Feingold –
http://feingold.senate.gov/contact_opinion.html
             Press Secretary Zach Lowe – (202) 224-8657
 
             CA Dianne Feinstein –
 
http://feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactUs.EmailMe
             Press Secretary Scott Gerber – (202) 224-8657
 
             IL Richard Durbin –
http://durbin.senate.gov/contact.cfm#contact
             Press Secretary Joe Shoemaker –  (202) 224-7028
 
             MD Benjamin Cardin –
http://cardin.senate.gov/contact/
             Press Secretary Sue Walitsky –  (202) 224-7433
 
             RI Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse –
 
http://whitehouse.senate.gov/contact.cfm
             Press Secretary Alex Swartsel –  (202) 224-7433
 
             PA Arlen Specter  –
 
http://specter.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm
             Press Secretary Chris Gindlesperger – (202) 224-5225
 
             UT Orrin Hatch –
 
http://hatch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Offices.Contact
             Press Secretary Mark Eddington (202) 224-5251
 
             IA Charles Grassley –
 
http://grassley.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home
             Press Secretary Beth Levine – (202) 224-6197
 
             AZ Jon Kyl –
http://kyl.senate.gov/contact_form.cfm
             Press Secretary Andrew Wilder –  (202) 224-4521
 
             AL Jeff Sessions –
 
http://sessions.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ConstituentServices.ContactMe
             Press Secretary Michael Brumas –  (202) 224-4124
 
             SC Lindsey Graham –
 
http://lgraham.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.EmailSenatorGraham
             Press Secretary Wes Hickman –  (202) 224-5972
 
             TX John Cornyn –
 
http://cornyn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm
             Press Secretary Brian Walsh –  (202) 224-2934
 
             KS Sam Brownback –
http://brownback.senate.gov/CMEmailMe.cfm
             Press Secretary John Rankin –  (202) 224-6521
 
             OK Tom Coburn –
 
http://coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactSenatorCoburn.Home
             Press Secretary John Hart – (202) 224-5754
 
Congressional Representatives
 
             NY-9th Anthony Weiner –
http://weiner.house.gov/email_anthony.aspx
 
             NY-8th  Jerrold Nadler –
 
http://www.house.gov/nadler/emailform.shtml
 
             CA-24th Elton Gallegly –
https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtml
<file://localhost/wyr/welcome.shtml>
 
             CA-3rd Dan Lungren –
https://forms.house.gov/lungren/forms/email.shtml
<file://localhost/lungren/forms/email.shtml>
 
             CA-29th Adam Schiff –
 
http://schiff.house.gov/HoR/CA29/Contact+Information/Contact+Form.htm
 
             CA-28th Howard Berman –
 
http://www.house.gov/berman/contact/index.shtml
 <http://www.house.gov/htbin/formproc_za/berman/contact/zip_authen.txt&form=/berman/contact/form_contact.htm>
 
             CA-16th Zoe Lofgren –
http://lofgren.house.gov/emailform.shtml
 
             CA-35th Maxine Waters –
http://www.house.gov/waters/IMA/issue.htm
 
             CA-39th Linda Sanchez –
 
http://www.lorettasanchez.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=218&Itemid=17 <http://www.lorettasanchez.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=218&Itemid=17>
 
<http://www.lorettasanchez.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=218&Itemid=17>
 
             CA-27th Brad Sherman –
 
http://www.house.gov/sherman/contact/
 
             CA-49th Darrell Issa –
 
http://issa.house.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm
 <http://issa.house.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm>
 
             MI 14th John Conyers (Chair) –
 
http://capwiz.com/aipac/webreturn/?url=http://www.house.gov/conyers
 
             VA-9th Rick Boucher –
 
http://www.boucher.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=645&Itemid <http://www.boucher.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=645&Itemid>
 
<http://www.boucher.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=645&Itemid>
=
 
             VA-3rd Bobby Scott –
https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtml
<file://localhost/wyr/welcome.shtml>
 
             VA-6th Bob Goodlatte –
http://www.house.gov/goodlatte/emailbob.htm
 
             VA-4th Randy Forbes –
http://forbes.house.gov/zipauth.html
 
             NC-12th Rep. Melvin Watt –
 
http://www.house.gov/formwatt/IMA/issue_subscribe.htm
 
             MA-10th William Delahunt – [email protected]
 
             FL-8th Ric Keller –
https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtml
<file://localhost/wyr/welcome.shtml>
 
             FL-24th Tom Feeney  – [email protected]
 
             FL-20th Debbie Wasserman Schultz –
 
http://wassermanschultz.house.gov/zipauth.htm
 
             FL-19th Robert Wexler –
http://wexler.house.gov/email.shtml
 
             TN-9th Stephen Cohen –
 
http://cohen.house.gov/index.php?option=com_email_form&Itemid=111 <http://cohen.house.gov/index.php?option=com_email_form&Itemid=111>
 
<http://cohen.house.gov/index.php?option=com_email_form&Itemid=111>
 
             GA-4th Hank Johnson –
 
http://hankjohnson.house.gov/contact_hank_write.shtml
 
             OH-13th Betty Sutton –
http://sutton.house.gov/about/emailform.cfm
 
             IL-4th Luis Gutierrez –
 
http://luisgutierrez.house.gov/singlepage.aspx?newsid=1262
 
             WI-2nd Tammy Baldwin –
 
http://tammybaldwin.house.gov/get_address.html
 
             AL-7th Artur Davis –
http://www.house.gov/davis/zipauth.htm
 
             MN-5th Keith Ellison –
 
http://ellison.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=87 <http://ellison.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=87>
 
<http://ellison.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=87>
 
             TX-21st Lamar S. Smith (Ranking Member) –
 
http://lamarsmith.house.gov/contact.aspx?section=Mail
 
             TX-18th Sheila Jackson Lee –
https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtml
<file://localhost/wyr/welcome.shtml>
 
             TX-1st Louie Gohmert –
http://gohmert.house.gov/contact_louie.htm
 
             WI-5th F. James Sensenbrenner –
 
http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/email_zip.htm
 
             NC-6th Howard Coble – [email protected]
 
             UT-3rd Chris Cannon – [email protected]
 
             IN-6th Mike Pence –
https://forms.house.gov/pence/IMA/contact_form.htm
<file://localhost/pence/IMA/contact_form.htm>
 
             IA-5th Steve King – [email protected]
 
             AZ-2nd Trent Franks –
https://forms.house.gov/franks/email_zipcheck.shtml
<file://localhost/franks/email_zipcheck.shtml>
 
             OH-4th Jim Jordan –
 
http://jordan.house.gov/contactform_zipcheck.shtml
 
             OH-1st  Steve Chabot –
http://www.house.gov/chabot/zipauth.shtml
 

 

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