Schneiderman’s New Catchphrase for Free Speech: “First Amendment Opportunism”

New in the climate change subpoena saga: Last Thursday New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman delivered a speech (video below) at the Bloomberg Big Law Business Summit defending his investigation against claims that it violates free speech rights.  One charge that Schneiderman repeatedly made was that his critics were guilty of “First Amendment opportunism.”

Schneiderman characterized the statements of the energy industry, and those of global warming skeptics generally, as fraud.  When you hear a government official complain about fraud in a policy debate, he’s got his sights set on censorship, plain and simple.  And in the context of global warming, his goal is not to win that debate through evidence, but by shutting one side down through “law enforcement.”

The phrase “First Amendment opportunism” apparently originated in a 2000 legal research paper, and perhaps Schneiderman is now trying to turn it into a catchphrase for his 17-member coalition, Attorneys General United for Clean Power.  That coalition should more accurately be called AGs United for More Power.  And if Schneiderman has a problem with First Amendment opportunism, then he ought to take it up with James Madison.