No, seriously. He’s a douchebag.
Anyone who has encountered or followed Todd Kincannon (@todd_kincannon) on Twitter knows what a contentious character he is. Love him or hate him, both liberals and conservatives have to admit, Todd, a South Carolina lawyer, also known as the honey badger of American politics, knows how to shine the light on the most divisive issues of our time.
You say contentious, I say douchebag. Long story short, he had a book coming out this summer wherein he expresses his opinion that liberals are “Useless Idiots.”. But instead of sending out the books that people had pre-ordered and paid for, he sent out this email:
If you are receiving this email, it means you ordered a copy of my book. Yet no one has received any copies yet, and I owe you an explanation why.
I am presently legally barred from fulfilling the order. The South Carolina lawyer disciplinary authorities—government officials—have determined that my political and religious commentary is “unethical.” I am legally barred from sending you a copy of my book at this time. (Well, I could send you a copy, but I could be disbarred for it.)
This is the culmination of a two year secret investigation of me by the South Carolina Commission on Lawyer Conduct and the South Carolina Office of Disciplinary Counsel, two entities that have taken the position that the First Amendment simply does not apply to lawyers. Unsurprisingly, no Democrat lawyers have been targeted so far as I know, and the people in charge of the South Carolina Office of Disciplinary Counsel have solid Democrat voting histories.
The reason for my silence about this matter until now is that I truly thought they would come to their senses about all of this. In fact, they indicated to me more than once that they would not punish me for political or religious commentary that was not to their liking, after initially demanding that I stop saying anything offensive on Twitter. (That was why I briefly stopped using profanity on Twitter in late 2012, in case you were wondering what that was all about.)
However, in early June, just as I was preparing to send out my book, I received an unexpected notice from the South Carolina Office of Disciplinary Counsel that the investigation was going to continue because of comments I made on Twitter regarding a left wing political activist named Col. Morris Davis, a frequent guest on MSNBC. (I have no indication that Col. Davis has anything to do with this—it appears a supporter of his filed a bar complaint on me, the seventh or eighth complaint filed on me in recent times.)
Kincannon has filed a lawsuit in federal court. I am not familiar with the South Carolina rules of professional responsibility for lawyers nor do I know the specific allegations that have been made against him, but if this is about political commentary he made outside of his practice of law I don’t see how the government can have a case.
I don’t follow Todd Kincannon because as I said earlier, he’s a douchebag. I followed him briefly but quickly regretted it. Kincannon says rude and offensive shit just to be rude and offensive. But rude and offensive douchebaggery is protected by the First Amendment.
It would be different if he was behaving that way in court, or if his comments were directed at or about judges or other lawyers. His clients might have standing to complain (and/or sue) if they could show that his out of court douchiness hurt their cases or that he disclosed privileged information about them.
But apparently that is not what was alleged. They are threatening him with discipline (up to and including disbarment) for being a conservative GOP douchebag.
That is wrong. That is why I find myself in the unpleasant position of defending a douchebag. This kind of bullshit has to stop.
Popular speech does not need protection because nobody is trying to silence it. Neither does speech that the Powers That Be have given their approval. It is unpopular and offensive speech that needs protection and speech that offends the PTB needs the most protection. That is why we have the First Amendment.
even though because he is a douchebag.