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Constitutional Expert and Attorney Mark Fitzgibbons on Cuccinelli and Westboro Baptist Church Case

Editor’s Note: Mr. Fitzgibbons wrote an excellent Letter to the Editor of the Washington Post concerning the Westboro Baptist Church and AG Cuccinelli’s position on the case. Please read the impressive bio at the end of this letter and I am sure you will agree that Ken Cuccinelli has it exactly right on the Westboro Baptist Church issue. And Mr. Fitzgibbons is an expert in this field. (Printed with permission.)

To the editor of The Washington Post:

The partisans quoted in your ever-watchful eye on Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (whom The Washington Post reminds its readers nearly daily is a conservative!) seem to consistently demonstrate the weakness of the arguments in opposition to Mr. Cuccinelli’s actions.

Regarding Mr. Cuccinelli’s Climategate taxpayer fraud investigation, you relied on left-wing academicians who actually believe that, by virtue of the fact that they have PhDs and “teach,” they aren’t subject to the taxpayer fraud statute. That’s quite a lesson.

Your latest example involves Democratic Virginia House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong, who criticized Mr. Cuccinelli’s refusal to sign an amicus curiae brief of state attorneys general in the case of the Westboro Baptist Church military funeral protest (Friends, foes hit Cuccinelli over Marine funeral case). Mr. Cuccinelli stated his 1st Amendment concerns in declining to sign the brief. His position is consistent with many constitutional scholars, such as Professor Jonathan Turley. The American Civil Liberties Union sides with Mr. Cuccinelli, as do more and more conservatives, especially after becoming aware of the full constitutional ramifications of the case.

I’ve read the attorneys general brief, and Mr. Cuccinelli was kind to his colleagues in how he stated his reasons for not signing it. The brief is terribly flawed factually, legally and constitutionally. Among its many errors, the brief argues that the corporate media have greater First Amendment rights than citizens do.

You generously quote Mr. Armstrong’s criticizing Mr. Cuccinelli’s decision not to sign onto the brief.  Mr. Armstrong’s 1st Amendment argument (while claiming Cuccinelli has made Virginia a laughing stock) is that “you can’t shout fire in a crowded theater.”

The correct point, which of course is that the 1st Amendment does not protect falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater, comes from Justice Holmes in the case Schenck v. United States, which upheld imprisonment of American citizens for protesting war. Keep it coming, Mr. Armstrong.

It is Mr. Armstrong, like the Climategate PhDs, who appear to be the laughing stocks by demonstrating their frivolous and privileged view of our rights.

Virginia conservatives eagerly look forward to whomever it is you next pick in your efforts to provide counterpoints to Mr. Cuccinelli.

Mark Fitzgibbons

Manassas, VA


Mark J. Fitzgibbons is President of Corporate and Legal Affairs for American Target Advertising. Since 1993, Mr. Fitzgibbons has litigated constitutional cases and battled excessive and unreasonable government regulation of the direct marketing industry.  He has been a guest on numerous radio talk shows and his work on fundraising law has been featured in national publications, including the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Mark’s commentaries have appeared in Politico, The National Law Journal, DM News, The Nonprofit Times, Philanthropy Monthly, The Washington Times and  Working with such organizations as the Free Speech Coalition, he has been a leader in the fight to protect the First Amendment rights of charitable organizations.

Mr. Fitzgibbons is a member of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia Bars, and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th and 10th Circuits, and the United States District Courts for the District of Columbia and Virginia.  According to The Nonprofit Times, state regulators have described him as “very litigious, “contemptuous,” and “a royal pain.”

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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