My letter in Monday’s Eugene Register-Guard (and note, IANAL but this letter was inspired by a Yale law professor, who wrote at http://balkin.blogspot.com/2021/09/private-enforcement-mechanisms-and-you.html)
Inspired by Texas
Are you tired of hearing that Trump won the 2020 election? Tired of hearing media promoting lies about COVID-19 vaccines? Texas and the U.S. Supreme Court show Oregon the way out of this dilemma.
Oregon legislators can pass, and Gov. Brown can sign into law, a bill that allows private citizens to sue anyone disseminating these lies and collect damages and attorney’s fees for each successful suit, allowing the one who sues to avoid paying any defendant’s attorney’s fees.
If a radio or TV station, radio host or TV reporter, newspaper or social media influencer, repeats or even reports such a lie, they could be sued as an abettor!
Liars might protest, “Violation of my constitutionally protected free speech rights!” But government officials wouldn’t be stripping their rights, just as no officials of Texas’s government are interfering with the constitutionally protected right to an abortion. Note: The Supreme Court refused to halt Texas’s constitutional workaround.
Act, Oregon legislators! Put an end to these harmful lies! Awaken the law, that confused giant! Show that Oregonians are just as smart as Texans! Many Oregonians would be eager to take the liars and their abettors to court, so give them the tools!