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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Right Wingers Go After Another Blogger

I'm not the only progressive blogger being targeted by Alabama's right wingers these days.

My friend Robby Scott Hill at Novationeering posts that he recently received a rather sternly worded letter from a Riley Administration staffer, advising Hill that he was violating Alabama state law. What was Hill's grave misdeed?

According to O.J. Goodwyn, assistant attorney general and author of the letter, Hill had violated Alabama Code 41-13-6 by placing a document on his Web site that revealed the Social Security numbers of employees of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

"To avoid further action by this office," Goodwyn writes, "you should immediately redact or otherwise remove the Social Security numbers from any document that is available for public inspection."

There's only one problem with Goodwyn's warning: He doesn't have a legal leg to stand on.

You can check out Section 41-13-6 here:

Section 41-13-6: “Use of Social Security numbers on documents available for public inspection.
Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a state department, licensing or regulatory board, agency, or commission is prohibited from placing or otherwise revealing the Social Security number of a person, including, but not limited to, full- or part-time employees thereof, on any document that is available for public inspection including, but not limited to, state personnel evaluation forms and any other forms related thereto unless otherwise required by law, without the express consent of the person with the number, or the consent of that person’s parent, custodian, legal guardian, or legal representative. The foregoing prohibition shall not apply when a federal or state agency makes a request for or releases a Social Security number for a legitimate government purpose, or pursuant to a federal or state statute, regulation, or federally funded program or pursuant to an administrative or judicial subpoena or order. Nothing in this section is intended to create or establish a new cause of action for damages in any court. Nothing in this section shall be construed as a waiver of sovereign or qualified immunity. This section shall not be applicable to a document originating with any court or taxing authority, any document that when filed by law constitutes a consensual or nonconsensual lien or security lien or security interest, or any record of judgment, conviction, eviction, or bankruptcy. If express consent to reveal a Social Security number has not been obtained, a state department or agency shall redact, remove, cover, or otherwise excise the Social Security number of any person from any document that is available for public inspection so that the remaining portion of the document.

It's quite obvious from reading the first sentence that this statute deals only with state agencies.

As Hill puts it:

Check out this silly misapplication of Alabama Code Section 41-13-6 which applies only to state agencies. Therefore, the State of Alabama lacks statutory authority to regulate my conduct in this regard, that is unless they were willing to rehire me. Ha!

What law school did Mr. Goodwyn graduate from? Is it the same place that passed out degrees to the corrupt Republicans who currently pack our courts? I'd say O.J. Goodwyn is about as dangerous around the law as another O.J. we are all familiar with.

Hill has been on the receiving end of a phenomenon I've experienced many times. I call it "Surely He Can't Read Simple English Sentences" Syndrome. It evidently afflicts large numbers of white, male GOPers, particularly those who live in the South (although I bet the condition can be found in other regions).

Maybe Hill and I can contact the National Institutes of Health and apply for a government grant to study this peculiar ailment. We both are becoming experts on the subject.

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