Robert Hanlon to the Defense of Anonymous Blog Commenters

Re-posted from Illinois Leaks, with permission:

Woodstock Attorney defends First Amendment rights of anonymous commenters –


McHenry County, IL. (ECWd) – When anonymous posters made comments to some of McHenry County Blog’s articles referencing former McHenry County Clerk and current Judicial Candidate Mary McClellan, the candidate filed a pre-lawsuit Motion to identify the anonymous posters.

The NW Herald took offense to the method used in defending against the Motion, and the Chicago Tribune took offense to the Poll the NWHerald posted asking people to vote on an offensive definition to the word whore.

McClellan claimed in the court filing that she was honest and enjoyed a good reputation – in defense Hanlon cited her Sanction from 7th Circuit Court of Appeals attacking her honesty and reputation.

In particular, McClellan claimed she was called a “whore,” however, when reading the offending post, she was called a “150 union whore” (she must have “accidentally” left out the 150 union part) – which has a completely different contextual meaning.

Nevertheless, as part of the blog’s defense of the word used, Attorney Rob Hanlon quoted Merriam-Webster dictionary’s definition of “whore” – which is promiscuous or immoral woman (then pointed to her having a child out of wedlock) to explain that even though offensive and distasteful, it cannot be deemed actionable (page 7) using the innocent construction rule and Illinois Rules of Evidence, Methods of Proving Character (Rule 405).

We suspect McClellan’s court filings will go nowhere, but who knows, we could get a surprise.

Below are some court rulings on speech, whether it be hate speech or anonymous speech:

In Matal v Tam (2017), Justice Alito said “that the Lanham Act constituted impermissible discrimination based on viewpoint. The law’s prohibition of offensive ideas “strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate.’”

In protecting anonymity in speech, the United States Supreme Court, in the 1995 McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission states that “Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

In 2018, a United States District Court of Appeals determined that unmasking an anonymous blogger’s identity, even after losing a defamation case, infringes on his rights under the First Amendment because the unmasking in connection with both his protected and unprotected speech might hinder his ability to engage in anonymous speech in the future.


Robert Hanlon to the Defense of Anonymous Blog Commenters — 14 Comments

  1. Please join me in my outrage after reading Mr. Hanlon’s argumentation with regards to all the garbage spewed daily by compassionate conservative, sunshine commenters in this sewer sunshine blog. This McHenry County sunshine blog, the shining city in the journalism hill, is protected by the second amendment, not the first amendment. Stay tuned…331 days…tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock, meeeeeeeeoooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww…

  2. The fact of the matter is SHE is the one who chose to leave out the ‘union 150’ part.

    Thus leaving herself wide open.

    She hoped to spark outrage, which it did for a few ppl.

    She keeps blaming everyone that she has been attacked because she is a woman.

    Gee, I have heard that from her many times before.

    She is not under scrutiny for being a woman.

    She is under the microscope because of her threatening, immoral, narcissistic personality.

    Being a woman might have worked 50 years ago – but not today.

    As a woman, I am enraged that she feels the need to try to bring us down because of her dillusions of becoming a Judge.

    I wish she would just go away – for the sake of all us hard-working, HONEST women…

  3. Look for the union label!

    When you are hiring a strumpet or whore!

    Remember somewhere 150’s working
    our wages going to feed the kids, and run the house.

    We work hard, but who’s complaining?

    A union whore works night or day

    So always look for the union label,

    it means you’re able to make it the American way!

  4. Mary takes offense at being referred to as a whore and makes her case by omitting the Local 150 part which gave the word context.

    OTOH, I believe that most true prostitutes (a/k/a/ whores) are quite candid about what they are unlike somebody else making noise about it.

  5. Didn’t the IUOE local 150 give her money and robocalls in her McHenry Co. Clerk election?

    She took money and in kind benefits from a nefarious union of thugs,

  6. The worlds oldest profession is a whore. McClellan would never be confused with being a professional, so given that information…you all now know what she really is.

    BYE CYA (as her juvenile vanity license plate reads)

  7. Message to Hanlon: Pull her old campaign data on Typhoid Mary from the SBOE, and there you will find proof of her whoredom ties.

  8. Angel there should be outrage over MCClellan’s conduct.

    1) she is on her 4th bankruptcy.

    2) she lied in court pleadings

    3) she got caught lying to federal Judges

    4) She had plenty of Election Day issues

    5) she hired her husband and tried to promote him before anyone on the then County Board knew they were married.

    6) how many mistakes did she make in her case so far?

    7) If her husband was abusing that kid she’s no judge worth having.

    8) I don’t care that her dream as a little girl was to be a judge. My boyhood dream was to be an astronaut. Let’s elect me astronaut because it was my dream.

    9) she fired plenty of good people to make way for her nepotism

    10) NWH/Jack Franks.

    11) didn’t she know how to fix her gun problem before she went down the appeal path??? Not too bright. (MM ever heard of a motion to vacate Ab iinito? McFly

  9. Joe, what would you know about having a job anyway? when was the last time you were gainfully employed?

  10. Saw her latest campaign flyer at the printer.

    She claims to have ‘Extensive experience in bankruptcy proceedings”


    “Appeared as a guest Plaintiff before Judge Wapner on Peoples’ Court (Episode 3342/case of the Trailer Trash Debutante) and WON!!!!

    Best part is her motto:

    “I know corruption when I see it!”

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