Opinion: Christine O’Donnell threatens to sue radio station, retreats when reminded about the 1st Amendment


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Christine O’Donnell is still having trouble understanding that pesky 1st Amendment.

After a 20-minute radio interview with an AM station in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday, a representative of the Republican nominee for Senate demanded that the station turn over a video that had been made of the interview so it could be destroyed.

O’Donnell’s campaign manager, Matt Moran, called the station, WDEL, and threatened to ‘crush’ the broadcaster with a lawsuit if the unauthorized video wasn’t released to the ‘tea party’ darling, the station reported.


WDEL’s attorney told the O’Donnell campaign’s law firm that no prior authorization was required to record the interview on video or post it online because the station’s actions were protected by the 1st Amendment as free speech, according to a story posted online by WDEL.

‘After seeing the video the attorney for the O’Donnell campaign contacted WDEL’s counsel again to apologize for charges made by their campaign manager,’ the station wrote. ‘The attorney agreed that there was no legal issue with the video and expressed regret for the incident.’

‘There is no threat to sue D-E-L,’ O’Donnell’s press secretary Doug Satchel told the radio station, on video, Wednesday, apparently putting the matter behind them.

When asked if the campaign likes the video, which is posted on WDEL’s Facebook page, the press secretary seemed happy with it. ‘We think the video shows Christine to be a strong candidate that went toe-to-toe with a strong talk show host,’ Satchel said.

On Oct. 19, O’Donnell raised questions about a different portion of the 1st Amendment when, during a debate with Democrat Chris Coons, she challenged him on the separation of church and state. After Coons said that ‘religious doctrine doesn’t belong in our public schools,’ O’Donnell, a Christian, who recently said that her inspiration to become the next senator from Delaware came directly from God, challenged the veteran lawyer.

‘Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?’ O’Donnell asked Coons as the audience chortled. Coons said it appeared in the 1st Amendment.


‘Let me clarify,’ O’Donnell went on. ‘You’re telling me that separation of church and state is in 1st Amendment?’

‘Government shall make no establishment of religion,’ Coons summarized.

The exact phrase is ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.’ But who are we to split hairs?

-- Tony Pierce