Free Speech Washington Post: President-elect Trump wants to ban flag-burning. Here’s why the Constitution protects it. By Eugene Volokh Contrary to President-elect Donald Trump’s tweet, the Supreme Court held that flag-burning is constitutionally protected symbolic expression (in an opinion joined by Justice Antonin Scalia), and the vote was 5-4 when the matter arose in 1989 and […]
Archives for November 2016
By Caleb Brown
The incoming Trump administration raises fears of further regulation of political speech. David Keating of the Center for Competitive Politics discusses the risks and opportunities.
After the election of Donald Trump, those unhappy with the results began protesting across the country. The #NotMyPresident movement is almost certainly futile – the election has been fairly decided – but these protesters, like all Americans, have the right to peaceably assemble and speak out, regardless of the content of their message. This is […]
By Joe Albanese
Overall, White has lived up to the standard that the SEC should “never” make decisions “in response to political pressure.”
Probably the most forceful pressure applied on her was to have the SEC write a disclosure rule on giving by businesses to trade groups. Federal law bans companies from donating to federal candidates, and almost all election spending is already disclosed. The clear aim of those pushing for the rule was to force trade groups out of the public debate. Stockholders have repeatedly voted down such proposals. No one seriously thought they would help investors…
Chair White deserves great credit for maintaining the SEC’s independence despite relentless attacks. She served the public well by declining to appease ideological crusaders. That type of restraint and good judgment is all too rare in government and deserves praise.
By Jim Stinson
Every hour, a computer program, or “bot,” tweets out the name, job, and address of a donor to President-Elect Donald Trump’s campaign.
The apparent goal is sunshine – a more sinister objective may be intimidation. In either case, the account is taking advantage of disclosure laws, and using them to name and shame people…
According to Brad Smith, a former Federal Election Commission member and a Capital University law professor, 49 states and the federal government require some disclosure of campaign contributions and spending…
Smith said disclosure laws “neither provide the public with good information, nor solve the alleged problems of ‘secret money.'”
“Further, they will come at a price in political freedom and safety from government and private retaliation,” Smith wrote. “Precedents protecting civil liberties, established over a half century of painstaking litigation, could be brushed aside in the sudden hysteria for ‘full disclosure.'”
Pacific Legal Foundation: Sacramento city councilman reminded that the Constitution protects freedom of association (In the News)
By Caleb Trotter
It seems that Sacramento City Councilman Jay Schenirer has grown weary of a watchdog organization (Eye on Sacramento) that routinely challenges proposed ordinances and policies, and generally serves as a vocal check on city government. Councilman Schenirer requested the group provide him with a list of its members, a detailed accounting of its funds and donors, and its organizational bylaws-all in the name of “transparency.”…
In 2014, in Center for Competitive Politics v. Harris, a non-profit organization challenged California Attorney General (now Senator-elect) Kamala Harris’ policy that required non-profits soliciting funds in California to provide the Attorney General with a document listing the names and information of all donors giving the organization more than $5,000 in a year. Since the Attorney General’s office routinely discloses that private information to the public “by mistake,” and since the United States Supreme Court held long ago that “inviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly when a group espouses dissident beliefs,” the group urged the court to declare the policy unconstitutional.
By Dana Ferguson
The sprawling reform package, known in South Dakota as Initiated Measure 22, was designed to limit the influence of outside money in state government. The 34-page law, narrowly passed by voters Nov. 8, creates strict new rules on lobbying and fundraising and establishes an independent ethics commission…
Free-speech groups have said they plan to challenge the law for limiting political free speech, a potential civil rights violation. David Keating, president of the Virginia-based Center for Competitive Politics, said he’d heard from at least one person interested in bringing a lawsuit following the law’s enactment.
“I think a court challenge is inevitable,” he said. “It’s just a question of when.”
Other attorneys said the law’s language approving an appropriation from the state’s general fund without consent of the state Legislature violates the South Dakota Constitution and could also be grounds for legal action.
Attorney General Marty Jackley, who will have the constitutional obligation to defend the law now that it is on the books, said he alerted voters to the possible constitutional problems with the law in his explanation of IM 22.