Carlson attacked ACLU for not "standing up for Rush Limbaugh" -- but ACLU took Limbaugh's side
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Tucker Carlson attacked the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for "not standing up for Rush Limbaugh" while he was being investigated for allegations of committing fraud to obtain prescription painkillers. But in January 2004, the ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Limbaugh's case protesting the state of Florida's seizure of Limbaugh's medical records as a violation of his right to privacy.
On the May 1 edition of MSNBC's The Situation, host Tucker Carlson attacked the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for "not standing up for" nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh while he was being investigated for allegations of committing fraud to obtain prescription painkillers. Carlson asked: "Where is the ACLU?" and concluded: "They're not standing up for him because they think he's a right-wing creep. That's why." But in January 2004, the ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Limbaugh's case protesting the state of Florida's seizure of Limbaugh's medical records as a violation of his right to privacy.
Limbaugh was arrested on April 28. Under an agreement with Florida state authorities, he pleaded not guilty to a charge of illegally obtaining prescription drugs and will avoid prosecution provided he passes random drug tests over an 18-month period.
From a January 12, 2004, ACLU press release:
In a motion filed today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida said state law enforcement officers violated Rush Limbaugh's privacy rights by seizing the conservative radio talk show host's medical records as part of a criminal investigation involving alleged "doctor-shopping."
"While this case involves the right of Rush Limbaugh to maintain the privacy of his medical records, the precedent set in this case will impact the security of medical records and the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship of every person in Florida," said Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida.
The ACLU's request to submit a "friend-of-the-court" brief on behalf of Limbaugh was filed today with the Fourth District Court of Appeal. The ACLU said in its motion that the state infringed on Florida's constitutional right to privacy when it failed to follow well-established protocol, mandated by law, when confiscating Limbaugh's medical files. The organization stated that its interest in the case was "to vindicate every Floridian's fundamental right to privacy by ensuring that the state be required to comply" with the law.
The ACLU's brief was approved the following day by the Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach, Florida.
From the May 1 edition of MSNBC's The Situation with Tucker Carlson:
RACHEL MADDOW (co-host): If you want to have a debate about whether or not it should be illegal to doctor-shop and gets tons of OxyContin in Florida, if you want to have a debate about whether or not the drug laws are right, I'll have that debate with you. But the question of whether or not Rush Limbaugh was selectively targeted and got nailed here in a way he wouldn't have if he wasn't a right-winger is ridiculous. He's getting off with nothing when there was so much evidence against him. This is a case of great American lawyering.
CARLSON: I'm telling you he wouldn't have been prosecuted in the first place, but I am saying this is a perfect example for liberals to stand up. Most liberals aren't standing on principle, I guess, is the point I'm making.
MADDOW: Come on.
CARLSON: Where's all the -- I'm dead serious. Where is the ACLU? Where is all the -- the chorus of the anti-drug people, and I'm on their side, the anti-drug-law people, because I actually don't like drug laws that much.
MADDOW: Fair enough.
CARLSON: But why aren't they standing up for Rush Limbaugh? They're not standing up for him because they think he's a right-wing creep. That's why.