Massachusetts False Claims statute challenged

On the heels of Judge Black’s historic decision striking down Ohio’s false claims statute as a violation of the First Amendment, a Plaintiff in Massachusetts is challenging the constitutionality of a similar statute in that state.

There, the statute calls for direct criminal prosecution of those who are claimed to have made a false statement during the course of a political campaign.  In contrast, in Ohio, there first must be a proceeding and finding of violation before the Ohio Elections Commission.  Indeed, the Plaintiff in the Massachusetts action has been charged criminally for a claimed false statement made about a candidate during the course of an election campaign.

The Boston Globe reports that noted Constitutional scholar Lawrence Tribe of Harvard says of the law: “It’s dramatically unconstitutional in its sweep….This is an easy one.”

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