James O’Keefe has been taking on America’s most corrupt institutions and laws for years now, and his fight has led to a massive increase in public awareness regarding institutions like Pfizer and BlackRock.
Of course, the famed investigative journalist has come up against hurdles—the political, cultural, and corporate elite don’t want to be exposed—who does?
One of these obstacles was Oregon’s Statute 165.540(1)(c), which prohibited the recording of individuals without their consent.
O’Keefe filed the lawsuit PVA vs Schmidt in 2020 to overturn the law, and on Monday he happily reported that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the unconstitutional law. O’Keefe broke the news in a Twitter post:
PORTLAND, Ore. (OMG) The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has OVERTURNED the law that prohibits recording in the state of Oregon on the grounds it violates the 1st Amendment.
I filed the lawsuit (PVA v Schmidt) with attorneys Benjamin Barr and Steve Klein at the Marc O. Hatfield courthouse in Chapman Square in downtown Portland with heavy security three years ago.
Oregon Revised Statute 165.540(1)(c). This law prohibited anyone from making an audio recording unless that person “specifically informed” others they were recording. But the law also included special permissions from the government to allow for the non-notified recording of the police, but not any other government employee.
That just leaves the government putting its thumb on the lens of news-gathering, deciding which news is easiest to get, and skewing reporting. As the Ninth Circuit has explained before, whatever concerns Oregon has over shoddy reporting or “fake news,” the remedy for speech that is false is speech that is true and not the suppression of speech.
Oregon has no power to protect the conversational privacy of some people in a public place from the First Amendment-protected news-gathering of other individuals. Because the law lets government distort the news-gathering process and bans entirely too much effective journalism, it violated the First Amendment on its face.
Circuit Judge Sandra S. Ikuta out of the 9th circuit in Pasadena, California authored the opinion. Ikuta wrote, “Oregon does not have a compelling interest in protecting individuals’ conversational privacy from other individuals’ protected speech in places open to the public, even if that protected speech consists of creating audio or visual recordings of other people.”
The Epoch Times reported in 2020:
The news outlet claimed in its lawsuit that the only way employees can safely and effectively practice their First Amendment rights is to secretly record demonstrations.
“We think it’s an injustice. There’s no expectation of privacy in a public place or public park to record what people are doing and saying,” O’Keefe said Monday outside downtown Portland’s Hatfield Federal Courthouse.
“They’re not going to be honest with us if I say I’m with Project Veritas and I’d like to know all the fraud you’re committing.”
James O’Keefe began the fight against Oregon’s unconstitutional recording statutes in 2020—when he was still central to Project Veritas’ efforts.
— James O’Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) August 24, 2020
michellemalkin: RT @JamesOKeefeIII: BREAKING: Here is the lawsuit that @PVeritas_Action and @Project_Veritas just filed in the Mark O. Hatfield United States Federal Courthouse challenging Oregon’s unconstitutional recording law ORS 165.540 pic.twitter.com/FdPijnxE3D #pjnet #tcot
— ConservativeDad (@_Conservative_1) August 25, 2020
Don’t take my word for it.
Watch here: pic.twitter.com/MgcfbbcTXJ
— James O’Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) August 25, 2020
The Oregonian also took note:
The lawsuit names Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt as respondents but does not question any specific actions they have taken or link them to the recording law, beyond their roles prosecuting violations of state laws.
Among the endeavors Project Veritas would pursue if it could secretly record in the state: investigating whether Gov. Kate Brown improperly pressures the state public records advocate and public records advisory council and recording statements by anti-police brutality protesters and Portland police.