“Group that wanted to call state lawmaker ‘literally Hitler’ in campaign mailer wins First Amendment case”


A group that wanted to skewer a Tennessee state representative as “literally Hitler” in a mailer has successfully challenged a law that blocked false speech, including satire, against candidates in campaign literature.

Tennesseans for Sensible Election Laws created a mailer that lambasted Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, for proposing a new law to chemically castrate convicted sex offenders.

The mailer called the Griffey bill “the kind of thing you would see in Nazi Germany, not Tennessee.” It included bold text saying, “Bruce Griffey is LITERALLY HITLER.”

Because the mailer used false language to parody and criticize a candidate for elected office, the group faced a $50 fine and up to 30 days in jail under state law if members distributed it.

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