Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Kentucky Bloggers Lawsuit

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A federal judge refused to dismiss a free-speech lawsuit filed by a political commentator against Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell on Friday referred the case filed by Internet blogger Mark Nickolas to a federal magistrate to manage the exchange of evidence in the case and to conduct a settlement conference ?as he deems appropriate.?

The Fletcher administration blocked state employees from surfing various Internet categories, including entertainment and humor, online auctions and Web logs, known as blogs.

Nickolas, represented by the Washington-based advocacy group Public Citizen, claims in the lawsuit that the Fletcher administration singled him out, blocking access to his Web site, www.BluegrassReport.org.

Nickolas has used his site to criticize various politicians, including Fletcher.

The lawsuit contends the state infringed on Nicholas? rights under both the First Amendment and the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

The state produced a list of Web sites that were blocked, in addition to the political blog. That list included religious sites, blogs operated by newspapers and one University of Kentucky Web site.

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