Politics can be an interesting thing to watch, especially if you really understand how things are done. There’s an old saying that the two things you don’t want people to see you make are laws and sausages, and it’s an accurate statement. But it certainly gets interesting.
Like most people, politicians can be downright petty at times. Most are slick enough to hide their pettiness, but sometimes they don’t even bother.
That is what’s alleged to have happened in a new lawsuit against New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
Gov. Phil Murphy improperly booted a gun rights activist from New Jersey’s daily coronavirus press briefings, the New Jersey Second Amendment Society alleges in a new federal lawsuit.
Alexander Roubian, the group’s president, attended the briefings in March to ask Murphy about the governor’s closure of gun stores and ranges as part of his shutdown of businesses the state believes are not essential. The same day Murphy announced a limited re-opening of gun stores, the Murphy administration started barring Roubian from the briefings.
Roubian’s exclusion amounts to retaliation for him “taking on” Murphy over the gun store closures, the lawsuit says.
“The governor’s actions in barring NJ2AS and Mr. Roubian from a public forum such as a press conference is not only inappropriate, it clearly violates their First Amendment rights and the oath of office the governor took to uphold the constitution,” Roubian’s attorney, Albert Rescinio, said in a statement. “Our First Amendment rights must be protected and the lawsuit filed by NJ2AS and Mr. Roubian are paramount not just to them but to the public at large.”
Roubian wants the judge to force the state to allow him to attend the briefings as a reporter.
While some might scoff at that, the truth is that there isn’t really a credentialing process for who is a reporter and who isn’t. Anyone can wear that moniker these days and Freedom of the Press requires that to be respected, at least by the government. Murphy doesn’t have any reason to bar Roubian or anyone else from NJ2AS.
In fact, I’m inclined to agree that retaliation is likely at least partially responsible for Muphy’s actions, but I’m also somewhat inclined to believe that he’d have done it before Roubian asked his question if he’d have thought about it. In other words, it may not be retaliatory, merely personal. Murphy despises the Second Amendment with every fiber of his being. I don’t care what he might say, his actions speak loudly enough. As such, it’s safe to say he doesn’t care for Second Amendment advocates very much either.
Regardless of his motivation, Murphy has no justification for barring people from the briefings that are open to the media. Especially since there’s nothing stopping him from making other pronouncements relevant to the Second Amendment, thus falling within the scope of a Second Amendment group.
It’s my most sincere hope that the judge agrees and Murphy gets the proverbial slap down on this one. Another ould-be tin-pot dictator isn’t really needed in this country right now. After all, we clearly have a variety to choose from, so Murphy’s contribution is unnecessary.