George Leef’s latest Forbes column highlights Americans for Prosperity’s recent legal victory over California’s top law enforcement officer.

Most “Progressives” believe that opposition to their plans for a government with the power to create the perfect society is essentially illegitimate. Therefore, they seldom hesitate to use any means they can to delegitimize, defund, and defeat conservatives and libertarians. For many, the weapon of choice is to misuse the law, turning it into a sword that can be used to cut down the opposition.

California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris is a prime example. She has demanded that non-profit groups that solicit funds in the state release their donor lists (“Schedule B”) to her office. Putting names and addresses of those individuals in the hands of their opponents could and probably would result in their being harassed and intimidated.

But one of the targeted organizations, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP), filed suit in December of 2014 in federal district court to parry her thrust.

Last week, federal district judge who heard the case, Manuel Real, issued his ruling in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Harris. He granted AFP a permanent injunction against the attorney general’s demands.

Judge Real — who was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson and thus the “he’s just a Republican partisan” retort won’t work – saw through the pretext that the AG’s office had to have the identities of AFP’s donors so that it could investigate to see if there might be any “self-dealing” or “improper loans.” He wrote, “Over the course of trial, the Attorney General was hard pressed to find a single witness who could corroborate the necessity of Schedule B forms in conjunction with their office’s investigations.”

That’s a good example of what Institute for Justice senior attorney Clark Neily calls “judicial engagement” – not automatically accepting every excuse proffered by government officials for their questionable exercises of authority, but looking at them skeptically.