O'Reilly accused Oregon of "judicial fascism" on adult entertainment, medical marijuana, doctor-assisted suicide; ignored that all were affirmed by voters via ballot initiative

››› ››› SAM GILL

On the October 10 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show and on the October 11 edition of his Fox News program, Bill O'Reilly baselessly asserted that Oregon was "being hijacked by the judges." Infuriated by a recent Oregon Supreme Court ruling that a statute prohibiting live sex acts in adult venues constituted a violation of free expression under the Oregon state constitution, O'Reilly decried the action as "judicial fascism" and claimed that the Oregon judiciary wanted "to turn it [Oregon] into a secular paradise," falsely attributing Oregonian policies on physician-assisted suicide and medical marijuana to the courts. In fact, Oregonians themselves passed ballot initiatives to legalize physician-assisted suicide and medical marijuana. Moreover, while in this case the Supreme Court struck down an existing statutory prohibition against live sex acts, Oregonians themselves affirmed the right of the sex industry to free speech protections by repeatedly rejecting past initiatives seeking to exempt it from those protections.

O'Reilly said, "If the live sex act initiative was put on the Oregon ballot, it'd be voted down big -- remember, Oregonians voted against gay marriage." While the outcome of a statewide vote on live sex acts is a matter of speculation, Oregonians have specifically rejected ballot measures to permit zoning rules for adult entertainment businesses in the past. In 2000, citizens explicitly denied the government the power to create zoning regulation for adult establishments (Ballot Measure 87, November 7, 2000), 771,901 to 694,410. In addition, by a vote of 652,139 to 549,754 Oregonians rejected Ballot Measure 19 (November 8, 1994), the title of which was "Amends Constitution: No Free Speech Protection for Obscenity, Child Pornography." A proposal to amend the state constitution to limit obscenity protections to those currently afforded by the federal constitution (Ballot Measure 31, November 5, 1996) was voted down 706,974 to 630,980.

Oregonians have also passed multiple ballot initiatives in support of physician-assisted suicide and the medical use of marijuana, contrary to O'Reilly's assertion, "And that's why they have the Supreme Court thing on assisted suicide, it's a medical marijuana controversy and on and on and on." The Death with Dignity Act, currently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court, allows doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication for terminally ill patients. The act resulted from a ballot measure that passed by a vote of 627,980 to 596,018 in 1994 (Ballot Measure 16, November 8, 1994) and was reaffirmed by a wider margin following a call for its repeal (Ballot Measure 51, November 4, 1997) by a vote of 666,275 to 445,830. Similarly, Oregon approved limited uses of marijuana for medical purposes in a 1998 ballot initiative (Ballot Measure 67, November 3, 1998) by a vote of 611,190 to 508,263.

From the October 10 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: That's what I said. I said the courts are never going to take the business away from anybody that's already established and make them move in Oregon. And that's what's going on. Look, what has happened here is the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union], with the [Portland, Oregon, newspaper] Oregonian's help, has rammed down another pernicious ruling to the folks, pernicious meaning harmful, because of the secular progressive movement. That's what's happened.

And you guys living in Oregon, you should know. You know what's happening to your state. It's being hijacked by the judges. And they're going to turn it into a secular progressive paradise. That's what they're going to do. And that's why they have the Supreme Court thing on assisted suicide; it's a medical marijuana controversy and on and on and on.

From the October 11 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Now my next comments are directed at our liberal viewers. How can you support a group as nakedly, pardon the pun, radical as the ACLU? This isn't about freedom. This is about imposing a radical secular progressive agenda on a country that has traditionally voted on public policy issues. If the live-sex-act initiative was put on the Oregon ballot, it'd be voted down big -- remember, Oregonians voted against gay marriage. So once again, the ACLU is using an activist court to undermine what the folks want. This isn't democracy. This is judicial fascism.


O'REILLY: Well, they're winning. The ACLU is now -- you know, and as I said, if they put this on the ballot in Oregon, the folks will go, "Come on, we don't want this kind of a state here." We -- no zoning laws. I need to buy a house, and then two houses down, Larry opens Larry's Deli and Sex Emporium, but that could happen. And it will happen in Oregon.

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