The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that a law banning the recording of persons who do not explicitly consent to their voices being captured is unconstitutional, as it violates the First Amendment.
James O’Keefe of O’Keefe Media Group (OMG) announced the decision online, noting that this follows his filing of a lawsuit in Portland, Oregon about three years ago. In PVA v. Schmidt, O’Keefe’s former journalistic organization argued that Oregon law violates the US Constitution, especially in regard to the rights of those engaging in undercover investigative journalism.
The ruling concerns Oregon Revised Statute 165.540, which states that a person may not “Obtain or attempt to obtain the whole or any part of a conversation by means of any device” in any case where involved parties are not “specifically informed” that the conversation is being recorded.
Circuit Judge Sandra S. Ikuta out of the 9th circuit in Pasadena, who drafted the opinion, wrote, “Oregon does not have a compelling interest in protecting individuals’ conversational privacy from other individuals’ protected speech in places open to the public, even if that protected speech consists of creating audio or visual recordings of other people.”
Ikuta also said that Oregon's law amounted to a "content-based restriction that violates the First Amendment right to free speech," adding that it is "therefore invalid on its face."
"Accordingly, we conclude that the statute is facially unconstitutional," Ikuta's opinion read.
O’Keefe added that a prior decision by a judge named Michael W. Mosman was overturned and overruled.
"I knew this law was unconstitutional when my masterful free speech attorneys Barr, Klein and I entered the Marc O. Hatfield courthouse in 2020 with heavy security under threat of violence. Journalism is alive and well in the state of Oregon, expect to see more of OMG in the beaver state," O'Keefe told The Post Millennial.
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