Republican candidate for US Congress E. Brian Rose has issued a cease and desist letter to incumbent Congressman Steven Palazzo. The letter accuses Palazzo of supressing the First Amendment Rights of Mississippians and demands he stop the practice or face a federal judge.
The full letter sent to Palazzo’s Washington office is below:
Dear Congressman Steven Palazzo:
Long before my candidacy was announced, you began the practice of deleting comments and blocking users on your Facebook page. As you are aware, a federal court in Virginia recently ruled that a local politician violated the free-speech rights of a constituent when she blocked him from commenting on her personal Facebook page.
“The suppression of critical commentary regarding elected officials is the quintessential form of viewpoint discrimination against which the First Amendment guards,” Judge James Cacheris wrote in his 44-page ruling.
The courts have made it clear; if an elected official solicits comments on the issues, they must allow all constituents to participate in the conversation, regardless of whether they agree with your position or not. I have been approached by many people stating they have been blocked from participating in your discussions. Most of these people are fellow Republicans who were banned for questioning your voting record on certain matters.
I have spent the last year listening to the concerns of people throughout Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District. There is a genuine thirst for dialogue about the issues, but you seem to only be willing to hold that dialogue with people that agree with your views.
You have refused the public’s request to hold public discussion via town hall meetings and debates. Now, you are stifling the voices of people that do not agree with your positions on social media. A representative cannot properly represent the people of South Mississippi if he is unwilling to listen to their concerns.
In accordance with the U.S. Constitution and the rulings of the courts, I am formally requesting you cease and desist from blocking constituents of South Mississippi from voicing their views and concerns in your online discussions. If you fail to do so within 60 days, I will act on behalf of the people of the 4th Congressional District and begin the process of seeking a motion for injunctive relief in federal court.
I would like to remind you that you swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Stifling the First Amendment Rights of constituents does not coincide with that oath.
E. Brian Rose
Republican Congressional Candidate, MS-4
CC: Steven Palazzo Chief of Staff
CC: Steven Palazzo Campaign Manager