October 3, 2011
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas pushed backlast week against critics of his successful prosecution of 10 students who tried to shut down a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren last year at the University of California, Irvine.
Since a jury convicted the 10 who stood trial on two misdemeanor counts Sept. 23, Islamist groups and their allies have decried the case as an assault on the First Amendment sure to chill political speech. The students were charged criminally solely because they are Muslims, the argument goes, and because they dared challenge an Israeli official.
Rackauckas’ response? Bunk. In a column published by the Orange County Register, he said the case stands in defense of free speech, no matter how hard critics spin.
“History tells us of the dire consequences when one group is allowed to shout down and intimidate another or a group of people so as to not allow them to have opinions or be heard. History requires us to draw a line in the sand against this sort of organized thuggery.” Continue reading