Pritzker’s Truth Police: How the Illinois Governor Made the Case Against the Trump Indictment

When the Framers drafted the First Amendment, they did so in absolutist terms to allow no abridgment of the freedom of expression. The language was unprecedented and unqualified. While the courts have read various exceptions into that language, it was a recognition that censorship and speech criminalization have always been an impulse of those in power. Moreover, it can create an insatiable appetite where limiting speech in one area leads to demands in other areas. Democratic leaders have shown that tendency in recent years with an expanding anti-free speech agenda, but no one more embodies this danger than Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker.

Recently, a federal judge correctly ruled that a new Illinois law targeting pro-life centers is “painfully and blatantly a violation of the First Amendment.”  The Deceptive Practices of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers Act would have allowed the state to crackdown on centers for what it considers “deceptive tactics” to influence pregnant women to have their babies. While celebrated by many on the left as a model for the nation, it would have gutted free speech protections and created a type of truth police.

The most concerning statement came from Pritzker himself. In a CNN interview, Pritzker defended the denial of free speech to pro-life advocates by citing the prosecution of former president Donald Trump. Some of us have objected to the second federal indictment of Trump as an attack on the First Amendment. Pritzker, however, appears to view it as a virtual invitation to do the same.

Pritzker declared that the law is “just like the case against President Trump. You have a right to free speech, but you don’t have a right to lie.” In his mind, it is that simple.

It is not, of course. Lies are generally protected under the Constitution.

In 2012, in the United States v. Alvarez decision, the Supreme Court held 6-3 that it is unconstitutional to criminalize lies in a case involving a politician who lied about military decorations.

Notably, the Court’s warning about criminalizing false or misleading speech fits the Illinois law and Pritzker to a tee. The Court said that such laws “would give government a broad censorial power unprecedented in this Court’s cases or in our constitutional tradition. The mere potential for the exercise of that power casts a chill, a chill the First Amendment cannot permit if free speech, thought, and discourse are to remain a foundation of our freedom.”

Pritzker, however, insists that the law is not just “constitutional . .. legal” but noble. He explained that they are just acting to prevent pro-lifers from saying “something that’s false.”

He added: “Remember what they’re doing, they’re putting their crisis pregnancy centers next door to abortion rights centers, and they’re directing people to go in their front door or telling them things that aren’t true often. And when that’s the case, they ought to be held liable.”

Clearly, there is no law against locating a pro-life center near an abortion center (or the inverse). Yet, Pritzker feels empowered by the prosecution of Trump over his speech: “it’s just like the case against President Trump. You have a right to free speech, but you don’t have a right to lie. You don’t have a right to use those lies to push people into situations in which they, frankly, are breaking the law or where they are unaware of what their full rights are. So, we need to make sure that people know what their rights are.”

Let that sink in a moment. Under Pritzker’s  view of the First Amendment, the government can prosecute anyone who is lying and “push people into situations in which they. . .  are unaware of what their full rights are.” The way to “make sure that people know what their rights are” is to prosecute lies.

In one interview, Pritzker made the case for the Trump legal team in showing how the demands for greater and greater speech curtailment can expand in real time. He is correct that, if Trump can be prosecuted for false political statements, other citizens can be prosecuted for lying on other subjects. Much of political speech concerns the rights shared by all of us. Whether it is a comment on elections, police brutality or gender identity, it can be treated as contributing to doubts of people “of what their full rights are.” The government would then become a truth police, protecting citizens from dangerous or disinforming opinions.

In the federal case, Smith acknowledges that the Constitution protects false statements (which Pritzker does not in the interview). However, he simply argues that Trump knew they were false because many people told him so. The fact that other lawyers argued that he could challenge the election is simply dismissed as disinformation. While Smith cites efforts to challenge the certification of the election and submit an alternative slate of electors, it all comes down to whether Trump believed that he might have had a case or could have changed the result of the election. Millions continue to hold that view. I do not. However, are they all spreading a criminal lie by voicing it or confusing others on their rights?

Justice Louis Brandeis once warned that “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” Gov. JB Pritzker is one of those men and he is now offering to police the truth if only you will allow him.


154 thoughts on “Pritzker’s Truth Police: How the Illinois Governor Made the Case Against the Trump Indictment”

    1. The great minds of history and science were at one time or another accused of “lying” or spreading dis information.
      Pritzker is an autocratic, authoritarian fascist. this seems to be the direction the democrat Party has been heading for in the last 20 years or so. George Soros, Media Matters, weaponization of the justice system against not only political adversaries but journalists, scientists and religious groups is no better than the beginnings of the National socialists in the 1930’s and the communist blocs in Czechoslovakia and east Germany post World War II.
      The premise of the ” crimes” that the left is accusing ordinary Americans with is no better than Orwell’s 1984 or Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

  1. Re: “Justice Louis Brandeis once warned that ‘The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.’ Gov. JB Pritzker is one of those men and he is now offering to police the truth if only you will allow him.”
    Why do you assume he is “well meaning”?

    1. Yes, it boils down to just that. It’s terribly unfortunate so many miss this simple observation.

    1. I think Alan Dershowitz’s and JonathanTurley’s views on the Trump indictments are the views worth listening to. Both are esteemed law professors, neither are Trump supporters. Both Professors take a dim view of these idictments, as do I. I think freedom of speech is pretty important. I think this “Get Trump” stuff, going after Trump in the courts criminally – without any real evidence of criminal behavior – is an abuse of process. It’s also election interference. If you don’t like Trump, don’t vote for him.

      1. Overall I agree with you.

        Derschowitz is generally less willing to credit Trump with any merit, BUT far more correct about the fact that it is irrelevant whether you like Trump or not. Whether you think Trump is truthful or not.

        As a POLITICAL matter it is very important whether Trump is telling the truth – and democrats by using govenrment powers to knock him out of the race are PROVING that he was right.

        The same people who would use the DOJ to target political oponents for political speech – an act that as you note is itself election fraud, would engage in other forms of election fraud.

        The J6 indictment of Trump is proof beyond any doubt at all that democrats will do absolutely anything to try to win an election.

        The censorship efforts by FBI and DHS during the 2020 election and likely continuing through this day – are Election Fraud, election rigging. They are immoral, unethical and illegal.

        They are also an excellent reason to beleive that democrats would have no problems committing other forms of election fraud and that they likely did.

        It is inarguable that the censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story alone flipped the election.

        In what world is it that those on the left think it is morally acceptable to supress the truth to win an election.

        David Brooks asked the right question – “Are We the bad guys” unfortunately he was unable to reach the easy truth – “Yes, you are the bad guys”

        When you will get your way by any means necescary – you are the bad guys.

  2. Regardless of whether you support or oppose the 2nd Trump indictment, Pritzker clearly misrepresented it, probably because doesn’t understand it, and so he made a painfully pathetic analogy. Like a lot of people in the media, he thinks the indictment has to do with the riot and Trumps speech before-hand. Perhaps that’s understandable since Jack Smith went on and on about the riot at his press conference regarding the indictment when it has absolutely nothing to do with his indictment — which ought to set off warning bells if you ask me.

    Regardless, Turley knows it’s a bad analogy, and at some point he needs to write about the actual indictment and why it’s wrong.

    1. All of these indictments are just blatant electronic interference masquerading as law enforcement. Everyone knows it but not everyone will admit it.

      1. Don’t pretend that all honest people must have the same opinions as you.

        And if what you claim is true, then the jury will find him not guilty.

        1. A DC jury will not find Donald Trump, or any Republican, “not guilty” of any charge. It should be remembered that a DC jury found John Hinkley innocent of nearly assassinating Ronald Reagan in 1982. A well-known liberal jounalist, whose name excapes me, although it may have been William Raspberry, wrote that the same jury would have found Hinkley guilty within 10″ if the object of the assassination attempt had been a prominent Democrat.

          1. “A DC jury will not find Donald Trump, or any Republican, “not guilty” of any charge”

            That’s false. DC juries have already found Republicans not guilty of charges. Why don’t you know that?

            1. Almost never in recent years.

              Please name 4 instances in the past 6 years in which a case where politics was actually featured any republican or conservative charged with anything in DC was not convicted ?

              We have very real cases where DC courts have convicted republicans of crimes that did not even occur.

  3. From a review of How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson:

    This is one of the most tragic instances of the hummingbird effect: that our ability to listen to sound waves ricocheting off icebergs in the beginning of the twentieth century is being used by the end of the twentieth century to eliminate millions of female babies in-utero.

    Section titles:
    – Historians devote more time and thought to documenting human actions than to understanding how technology has influenced those actions
    – Without glass, we would not have vaccinations, space travel, or high literacy rates
    – Air conditioning moves around cold air, but it has also moved around millions of people over the past century
    – The most impactful use of sound is what it enables us to see rather than what it helps us hear (see above quote)
    – The light bulb and other forms of artificial lighting came about because of what was discovered in a sperm whale’s skull

  4. C’mon Turley you know better.

    Pritzker is known for making these types of statements because he has to…

    He’s a lawyer and he has to say he believes his actions are lawful.
    To admit otherwise he invites lawsuits and other legal issues.


    1. Ian – He also has to because: he gets large donations from the billion-dollar abortion industry.

    2. Pritzker Doesn’t get to play those games, lawyer or no lawyer. He is an executive and falls under Article 6 of the constitution, which requires that he follow the constitution, because he is legally bound to it by his oath and affirmation.
      Mr. Turley fails to Point out Pritzker failure to comply with the constitution.
      Article 6; “ This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

      The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution;”

    3. Mr. Turley,
      In your analysis you failed to mention key points that should be stated. The constitution does not limit speech whatsoever “ or abridging the freedom of speech,”. Nor is Article 6 vague in that federal and states governments are legally bound to the Constitution through oath or affirmation. Meaning, the constitution is absolute, and they absolutely have to follow it. The constitution has never been open for interpretation, however lawyers, politicians, and judges, have unconstitutionally tainted the original meanings of our constitution with their own interpretations. Our constitution is pretty straightforward and simply needs to be upheld as written. It would be nice to see a constitutional scholar, actually just state the Constitution as written as absolute law of this country.

  5. What was de facto President Obama’s cut from the Biden Crime Family bribery and corruption scheme?

    What was de facto President Obama’s cut from the multiple millions of dollars paid to the Biden Crime Family by China?

    1. I know that Obama has enriched himself through the fool Joe Biden; I just hope that the Judiciary Committee investigations find out how — and where that money is stashed.

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