An attempt by a Democratic politician in California to use the law to silence criticism against her has backfired.
Not only did the court dismiss the politician’s request, it also ordered her to pay hefty fees, the Washington Examiner reported.
Cori Schumacher, a Democratic councilwoman for the city of Carlsbad, has earned a lot of criticism for her far-left politics and is even facing a recall. Schumacher has attempted to silence two of her most vocal critics, Noel Breen and Laurence Posner — bloggers who run Facebook groups that discuss Carlsbad politics.
On one occasion, Breen and Posner highlighted public opposition to Schumacher’s proposal to create a local municipal power company.
Schumacher filed a police report and a restraining order against the men for their criticism, and the pair responded by filing a lawsuit against Schumacher, requesting that she pay their attorney’s fees, the Examiner reported.
Schumacher lost both cases. Her request for the restraining orders were denied, and she has now been ordered to pay $47,191 in attorneys fees.
“As a public official, you cannot try to shut down criticism of you by abusing and misusing the criminal process. Ms. Schumacher needs a basic refresher course in the First Amendement,” said Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky, according to the Examiner.
Punish city residents
Besides the incident that resulted in her being forced to pay a court fine, she also faced heavy backlash in the community for pushing measures that would punish businesses and residents who broke California’s draconian coronavirus restrictions.
For example, Schumacher wanted to use public funding to hire a private police force to go after people who walked together despite being from different households, according to the Examiner.
“Carlsbad City Councilmember Cori Schumacher created a toxic environment in our city and must be recalled from office before more damage is done,” the recall petition reads.
It continued, “In March 2021, a Superior Court judge found Schumacher liable for harassment and retaliation against several of her constituents — and her misdeeds could now end up costing taxpayers more than $100,000 in legal fees!”
“She thought she could silence her critics and do it by force,” said Breen attorney Scott Talkov. “The court told her, ‘No, you can’t do this. This remedy is not available to you.'”