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Vice-President Cheney’s Office ‘Requests’ That Satirical Website Remove Material About Lynne Cheney

The NYCLU yesterday sent a letter to the Office of Vice-President Richard Cheney vowing to protect a website that Mr. Cheney’s office has demanded remove material satirizing Mr. Cheney’s wife Lynne Cheney. In a letter received by the website’s editor on February 13, the Office of the Vice-President objected to photographs and a “fictional biographical statement” about Ms. Cheney found at The letter also objected to the website’s use of the “seal of the President” (which as used on the site features not a bald eagle but a vulture).

The letter from the NYCLU notes that the “the Supreme Court of the United States has held that the First Amendment fully protects satirical treatment of public figures, even when that satire is outrageous and false.” Indeed, in 1988 the Court held that Hustler Magazine was free to publish an advertisement suggesting that the Reverend Jerry Falwell had had sex with his mother in an outhouse. The NYCLU letter asks that the Office of the Vice President promptly notify the NYCLU that it intends to take no further action against the website.

NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said, “The right to parody political figures like Lynne Cheney lies at the heart of the First Amendment, and we will defend the website against any effort to censor it by the Bush Administration. This is government intimidation pure and simple.”

NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn added, “The letter from Mr. Cheney’s office reflects a fundamental disregard of the First Amendment. If Administration officials had any sense and had any sense of humor, they would just laugh at the parody on this website rather than try to censor it.”

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