Strange Bedfellows: ACLU Backs Rush
In what must certainly rank as the strangest marriage since President Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton were together named the Most Admired Americans in a year-end poll, the highly liberal American Civil Liberties Union is backing the archly conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh in his fight to keep his medical records off-limits to prosecutors probing drug-related charges against him, the Associated Press reports.
On Monday, the Florida chapter of the ACLU filed court papers in support of Limbaugh’s argument that authorities violated his constitutional right to privacy by seizing his medical records in November. A judge has subsequently sealed those records.
Limbaugh is under the microscope for having possibly violated drug laws when he purchased prescription painkillers. The radio host, 52, has not been charged with a crime, and he has labeled the investigation “politically motivated” by Democrats.
“It may seem odd that the ACLU has come to the defense of Rush Limbaugh,” the state chapter’s executive director, Howard Simon, admitted in a statement. “But we have always said that the ACLU’s real client is the Bill of Rights, and we will continue to safeguard the values of equality, fairness and privacy for everyone, regardless of race, economic status or political point of view.”
State Attorney Barry Krischer had no comment on the ACLU’s involvement, says AP. That office’s spokesman, Mike Edmondson, said prosecutors have followed state laws and have protected Limbaugh’s rights throughout the investigation.
Limbaugh’s attorneys have asked an appeals court to keep the records sealed past a Jan. 23 deadline set by the Palm Beach Circuit Court. Prosecutors say they cannot continue their investigation until they review Limbaugh’s medical records.
Limbaugh, who in October admitted to an addiction to prescription painkillers (owing to back pain), reportedly received more than 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six months, at a pharmacy near his Palm Beach, Fla., mansion.