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The King George III Prize: Three Years of Calling Out Government Abuse

Clegg Ivey
Director of Engagement

May 5, 2023

In March 2021, the New Civil Liberties Alliance launched its First Annual King George III Prize, calling out the worst abusers of Americans’ civil liberties. Two years and 96 nominations later, we are nearing the final round of the third installment of what we came to call “The Georgies!”

The Georgies?! Are We Serious? While NCLA is seriously committed to defending our most basic civil liberties, these awards are intended to be a satirical take on some of the people and institutions who have the most impact on our civil liberties. Inspired by examples such as the Golden Fleece Awards and the Golden Raspberry Awards (The Razzies!), the King George III Prize is a light-hearted way to discuss topics that everyone should care deeply about.

During the first King George III Prize tournament, we looked back on the actions taken during 2020, with an obvious emphasis on COVID lockdowns and local, state, and federal overreach in response to the pandemic. That first year, we had so many nominees, including more than a dozen power-mad governors drunk on COVID emergency declarations, that we were forced to split the competition between federal and state nominees. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and CDC Director Nina Witkofsky shared the top prize for their unlawful actions that year.

In year two, Anthony Fauci bested a field of government abusers in a landslide so large that it is unlikely ever to be repeated. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky advanced through the other side of the bracket to face off against Fauci in that year’s final, but she was no match for the architect of America’s disastrous COVID response policy. Still, the message was obvious: COVID mandates (vaccine, mask, etc.) enacted in 2021 were blatantly unconstitutional, in addition to being wildly ineffective, and tremendously costly (both in terms of human suffering and pecuniary loss).

But this year, the competition moved on from lockdowns and mandates themselves to the ability to discuss and criticize those policies without government censorship. A sizable portion of this year’s nominees were a part of the massive government censorship scheme uncovered by NCLA’s lawsuit, Missouri v. Biden and Matt Taibbi’s Twitter Files.

For example, Rob Flaherty was the White House Digital Communications Director caught orchestrating a vast web of deplatforming, banning, and otherwise censoring truthful speech on social media just because it was inconvenient to the Biden Administration. So, too, FBI agent Elvis Chan was forced to admit in his deposition in Missouri v. Biden that the FBI actively coerced Twitter and other social media companies to suppress true information about Hunter Biden’s laptop.

California Governor Gavin Newsom is a frequent flier in the tournament for the King George III Prize, but this year it was his decision to sign into law AB 2098, which empowered Newsom’s administration to take away the licenses of doctors who say things to their patients that the government doesn’t like. NCLA filed for a preliminary injunction in Høeg, et al. v. Newsom, et al. to stop Newsom’s unlawful First Amendment violation.

And, of course, we couldn’t really discuss the government censorship scheme without naming Merrick Garland, the US Attorney General who sat at the head of the censorship table like Tony Montana, doing mountains of … well, you get the simile. But it wasn’t just the censorship at the Department of Justice, or the politicization of hallowed law enforcement institutions that landed Garland in hot water with this year’s voters. He was also responsible for pushing ATF to continue pursuing its unconstitutional bump stock ban, which NCLA opposed, successfully, before en banc gathering of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

But before he can win it all, Garland will have to beat Richard Cordray. As Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid in the Department of Education, Cordray planned and executed the Biden Administration’s student loan debt-cancellation scam. Of course, NCLA is fighting Cordray’s unlawful debt cancellation scheme in two different lawsuits.

As of the beginning of May, we are down to the Flagrant Four: Garland, Cordray, Newsom, and Chan. A Garland win over Cordray, plus a Newsom win over FBI agent Elvis Chan (both likely outcomes) will mean Garland v. Newsom in the final round of this year’s tournament for the King George III Prize. But you can still place your own vote in this competition! Head on over to the webpage for The Georgies and make your voice heard!