S. 2614 (105th): First Amendment Freedoms Act of 1998

105th Congress, 1997–1998. Text as of Oct 09, 1998 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

S 2614 IS

105th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2614

To amend chapter 96 of title 18, United States Code, to enhance the protection of first amendment rights.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

October 9 (legislative day, OCTOBER 2), 1998

Mr. COATS introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To amend chapter 96 of title 18, United States Code, to enhance the protection of first amendment rights.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act maybe cited as the ‘First Amendment Freedoms Act of 1998.’.

SEC. 2. EXTORTION DEFINED FOR PURPOSES OF RICO.

    Section 1961 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) in paragraph (1)(A), by striking ‘or threat involving’ and inserting ‘constituting a conspiracy, an endeavor, or the commission of’;

      (2) by striking ‘As used in’ and inserting the following:

    ‘(a) IN GENERAL- Subject to subsection (b), as used in’; and

      (3) by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(b) EXTORTION- Notwithstanding section 1951, 1952, 1956, or 1957 or any other provision of law, conduct, in whole or in part, that is alleged to be a violation of section 1951, 1952, 1956, or 1957 shall not be construed to be racketeering activity for purposes of this chapter, to the extent that the conduct includes conduct alleged to be extortion, unless the conduct alleged to be extortion includes the trespatory taking by any person of property (tangible or intangible) of another, either for that person or for another.’.

SEC. 3. PLEADINGS, DISCOVERY, EVIDENCE, AND APPEALS.

    (a) PLEADINGS- Rule 9 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(i) CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED CONDUCT- In any civil action or proceeding involving conduct that includes the protected exercise of freedom of religion, speech, press, peaceable assembly, or petition of government for redress of grievance, any averment of unprotected conduct of any natural person, its proximate consequences, the association, if any, of any natural person with another, the unlawful objective, if any, of the association, the state of mind of any natural person with regard to an unlawful objective of the association, and the evidence on which the averment of state of mind is based shall be stated, to the maximum extent practicable, with particularity in the complaint.’.

    (b) DISCOVERY- Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(h) CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED CONDUCT- Discovery may not be obtained that unduly interferes with the protected exercise of freedom of religion, speech, press, or peaceable assembly, or petition of government for redress of grievance.’.

    (c) EVIDENCE- Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence is amended--

      (1) by striking ‘Although’ and inserting the following:

    ‘(a) IN GENERAL- Although’; and

      (2) by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(b) CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED CONDUCT- Evidence may not be admitted that would unduly interfere with or unduly put in issue the protected exercise of freedom of religion, speech, press, or peaceable assembly, or petition of government for redress of grievance.’.

    (d) APPEALS- Section 1292(a) of title 28, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking ‘from:’ and inserting ‘from the following:’;

      (2) in each of paragraphs (1) and (2), by striking the semicolon at the end and inserting a period; and

      (4) by adding at the end the following:

      ‘(4) Interlocutory orders of the district courts of the United States granting or enforcing discovery or admitting evidence that is claimed to unduly interfere with or unduly put in issue the protected exercise of freedom of religion, speech, press, or peaceable assembly, or petition of government for redress of grievance.’.

SEC. 4. LIABILITY LIMITATIONS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Part VI of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

‘CHAPTER 180--FIRST AMENDMENT DEMONSTRATIONS AND RELATED LITIGATION

‘Sec.

      ‘4001. First amendment demonstrations and related litigation.

‘Sec. 4001. First amendment demonstrations and related litigation

    ‘(a) In any civil action or proceeding that involves conduct consisting the protected exercise of freedom of religion, speech, press, or peaceable assembly, or petition of government for redress of grievance--

      ‘(1) no natural person may be held liable in damages or for other relief--

        ‘(A) for the consequences of his protected conduct; or

        ‘(B) for the consequences of his unprotected conduct;

        except for those consequences established by clear and convincing evidence to be proximately caused by his unprotected conduct;

      ‘(2) no natural person may be held liable in damages or for other relief because of his associations with another where another engages in unlawful conduct, unless it is established by clear and convincing evidence that the natural person intended, through the associations of that natural person with the other proximately to cause or further the unlawful conduct;

      ‘(3) no natural person may be held liable in damages or for other relief based on the conduct of another, unless the fact finder finds by clear and convincing evidence that the natural person authorized, requested, commanded, ratified, or recklessly tolerated the unlawful conduct of the other;

      ‘(4) no natural person may be held liable in damages or for other relief, unless the fact finder makes particularized findings sufficient to permit full and complete review of the record, if any, of the conduct of the natural person; and

      ‘(5) notwithstanding any other provision of law authorizing the recovery of costs, including attorney fees, the court may not award costs, including attorney fees, if that award would be unjust because of special circumstances, including the relevant disparate economic position of the parties or the disproportionate amount of the costs, including attorney fees, to the nature of the damage or other relief obtained.

    ‘(b) For the purpose of this section, a natural person shall be construed to be acting recklessly if that natural person consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk, such that the conduct of the natural person constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a law-abiding natural person would observe in the situation of the natural person.’.

    (b) TECHNICAL AND CONFORMING AMENDMENT- The analysis for title 28, United States Code, is amended by inserting immediately after the item relating to chapter 179 the following:

4001’.

SEC. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subsection (b), this Act and the amendments made by this Act shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act.

    (b) EXCEPTION- The amendments made by section 2 of this Act shall apply for purposes of any proceeding under section 1964(c) of title 18, United States Code, to any conduct in violation of section 1962 of that title that occurs before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act, unless that prior conduct has been the subject of a final judgment by a court of competent jurisdiction and all avenues of appellate review have been fully exhausted before the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 6. SEVERABILITY.

    If any provision of this Act, an amendment made by this Act, or the application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, the amendments made by this Act, and the application of the provisions of such to any person or circumstance shall not be affected thereby.