ON-Lion Letter
In response to widespread public outrage in the wake of a First Amendment lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice (IJ) in Arlington, Va., on behalf of newspaper columnist John Rosemond, the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology has backpedaled from its threats to censor his syndicated column.  The board is now actively misleading the public by claiming that it did not attempt to censor him.

"The cease-and-desist letter John received clearly states that his response to a specific question from a reader is the illegal practice of psychology," said Jeff Rowes, a senior attorney at IJ, which is substantially supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.  "Now that the media's spotlight is shining on them, the Board is suddenly disavowing their outrageous attempt to censor a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist."

In May, the Kentucky Attorney General and the board sent Rosemond a cease-and-desist letter telling him that his column -- syndicated in more than 200 papers nationwide -- is the unlicensed practice of psychology.  The letter also stated that because he is only licensed to practice psychology in North Carolina, Rosemond may not call himself a "family psychologist" in the tagline of his column.

Rather than back down, Rosemond joined with IJ to fight back.  In July, IJ filed a First Amendment lawsuit to vindicate his right to give parenting advice and to truthfully describe himself as a "family psychologist" in his newspaper column, just as he has in Kentucky for more than 30 years.

In response to the lawsuit, the chair of board, Eva Markham, now claims that it had no intent to censor Rosemond's speech.  On CBS This Morning, Markham said, "That's fascinating that this has turned into the First Amendment.  We are perfectly happy -- he can say anything he wants to as long as he is clear that he is not a psychologist in Kentucky."

But the cease-and-desist letter the board sent to John tells a different story.  In reference to a column of John’s that ran in the Lexington Herald-Leader on February 12, the letter states:  "The article is your response to a specific question from a parent about handling a teenager was [sic] a psychological service to the general public, which constituted the practice of psychology as defined by [Kentucky law]. ...  By providing professional services in Kentucky, constitutes [sic] the practice of psychology in Kentucky."

In addition to sending the letter, the board also sent Rosemond a "Cease and Desist Affidavit and Assurance of Voluntary Compliance," which it ordered him to sign or else risk "further legal action."
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