South Dakota Democrat ex-Senator Jim Abourezk SLAPPs Critical Web Site

Libel suit over someone calling a former Senator a ‘traitor’,” by Eugene Volokh, The Volokh Conspiracy, 3 August 2003, (from Classical Values).

Settlement reached in Abourezk’s “traitor list” lawsuit,” by Dennis Gale, Associated Press, 26 November 2005,

Traitor List,”, accessed 27 November 2005,

Treason: Violation of allegiance toward one’s country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one’s country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.

Traitor: If you do not support our President’s decisions you are a traitor.

Get to know your traitor!

*Parody. Not to be taken seriously. These “traitors” are not legal “traitors” of the United States.

James Abourezk

Note that I have nothing much against former Senator , except for the fact that his wife Sanaa’s recipes, published regularly in the Argus Leader, are awful.

Likewise, I’m not sure of the use nor lexicographical integrity of defining “traitor” as “if you do not support our President’s decisions you are a traitor.”

However, I am sure that this is a perfect example of a :

A settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit that former U.S. Sen. James Abourezk filed against an Internet site that labeled him a traitor, lawyers for both sides said Saturday.

Abourezk, who’s of Arab descent, was a Democratic U.S. senator from 1973 to 1979 and now practices law in Sioux Falls. He accused of libel for putting him on a “traitor’s list” for criticizing President Bush.

Also named as defendants were Michael Marino, the site’s editor and publisher, and Ben Marino, co-owner. is headquartered in West Point, Penn., according to court documents.

More than two years ago The Volokh Conspiracy looked at this case

The rules under libel law are generally the same as the rules the Court discussed above; and under those rules, and other similar speakers should win. The site makes clear that by “traitor” it means those people who “do not support our President’s decisions.” Readers would understand that — as is often the case — the site is expressing a moral opinion about those who don’t support the President’s decisions, rather than making a factual claim about criminal actions that they have allegedly committed. I don’t approve of the site’s rhetoric; but its operators have a constitutional right to engage in it.

This stupid case, which has dragged on for years until ProBush got tired of defending its honor and agreed to pay a nominal fine of $1, while insisting that it was right, is an great case of why laws are so important. Ever since threatened to sue me I’ve been paying more attention of legal harassment of whistleblowers, from Canada to Illinois.

Anti-SLAPP laws, which make it clear that critical speech is not “defamation” and that legalistic harassers should pay for lawyer fees, are an important tool in curbing these attacks on the .

It is particularly sad that this latest outrage comes from my home state of South Dakota. That Senator Abourezk has followed in the long-line of former South Dakotan politicians whose families have grown mysteriously wealth does not bother me — that is life in our simple state, and is habit among both Republicans and Democrats.

But I expected better of Jim than suing a critic into silence.

Blogger Redecorates John Bolton’s Office

I previously blogged Josh of One Free Korea meeting with Ambassador :

Josh on far-left

During his trip, he presented him with a plaque

Several days before the trip, I suggested that we should present Ambassador Bolton with a plaque to thank him for his blunt words about North Korea, as well as his efforts to make human rights an element of U.S. policy toward the North. I designed the plaque with one photograph, which you see here . . .

Half-Slave, Half-Free

. . . and Lincoln’s “half slave, half free” quote. When I presented it to him, I stated that we shared his appreciation that some issues really are black and white. I told Amb. Bolton, not quite half-jokingly, that I hoped he would put it where the Chinese Ambassador would see it. I won’t print his response, however; I’m not sure he’d want me to.

Over at Josh’s discussion thread, one of Bolton’s staffer’s announced that the plaque is now prominently displayed in Ambassador Bolton’s office!


I am the staffer who had the pleasure of meeting with you and your colleagues in New York a few days ago. While I will steer clear of the debates in this thread, I would like to confirm that the plaque you presented him with is now on display directly outside of his door.



Congratulations Joshua!