By Zac Morgan
If you’ve ever scrolled through Facebook or Twitter, or taken a look at bumpers as you sat in traffic, you know Americans are expressive people. For this, we can thank the First Amendment, which protects even vulgar expression. Indeed, in 1971, the Supreme Court upheld the right of Paul Robert Cohen to wear his jacket, which urged sexual relations with the wartime draft, in a courthouse.
Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a less salacious, but no less important, First Amendment case. Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky asks whether Americans may be barred from wearing “political apparel” when casting a ballot. This policy led to a voter being threatened with prosecution for the “crime” of wearing a nonpartisan t-shirt inspired by the Gadsden flag, the “Don’t Tread on Me” symbol flown by patriots during the American Revolution.
Certainly, if the First Amendment protects profane apparel in a courthouse, Americans ought have the right to wear our opinions at the moment we the people decide who should govern…
At an absolute minimum, as my organization, the Institute for Free Speech, urged in our amicus brief in this case, the Supreme Court should instruct state and local governments to find the middle ground: Only apparel expressly urging a vote for or against a specific candidate on that day’s ballot may be excluded. This line, called “express advocacy,” has been applied and policed in campaign finance law for a generation.
By Zac Morgan
USA Today: Listen up Supreme Court: Warrantless tracking of smartphones violates our rights (In the News)
By Zac Morgan
On Nov. 29, the Supreme Court will review whether the government can get this information without a warrant. The case, Carpenter v. United States, will decide if the Fourth Amendment protects your information.
But the case also raises serious First Amendment issues about the right to free and private association.
Consider what happened during the 1950s when pro-segregation Southern states tried to get the NAACP’s membership list. Those states justified that effort using a range of governmental powers, including corporate registration, legislative investigations, and tax laws. Each time, no matter the excuse, the Supreme Court said no…
If the government can get location data of attendance at private gatherings, there’s little need to demand a membership list…
The Institute for Free Speech filed a brief in Timothy Carpenter’s case raising these concerns. Two left-leaning racial justice organizations, Color of Change and the Center for Media Justice, joined the brief. So did Americans for Prosperity Foundation and Tea Party Patriots, right-leaning organizations which advocate for limited government. Our brief warned that the “chilling effects from this invasive form of government oversight will do grave damage to the First Amendment.”
PDF of letter available here Via Electronic Filing Att’n: Neven F. Stipanovic Acting Assistant General Counsel Federal Election Commission 999 E Street N.W. Washington, D.C. For the third time in six years, the Federal Election Commission (“FEC” or “Commission”) has requested comments “on whether to begin a rulemaking to revise its regulations concerning disclaimers on […]
Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Comments, Disclosure Federal, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, External Relations Comments and Testimony, Federal, Federal Comments and Testimony, disclaimers, FEC, federal election commission, Foreign Influence, Internet Speech Regulation
The Honorable Joe Aresimowicz The Honorable Themis Klarides RE: Significant Constitutional and Practical Issues with House Bill 5589 Dear Speaker Aresimowicz, Minority Leader Klarides, and Members of the Connecticut House of Representatives: On behalf of the Center for Competitive Politics (“Center”), we respectfully submit the following comments addressing significant constitutional and practical concerns with House […]
Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure Comments, Disclosure State, External Relations Comments and Testimony, Issues, State, State Comments and Testimony, Super PACs, coordination, disclaimers, foreign nationals, Connecticut
Secretary of State’s Answering Brief (CO Supreme Court) Download PDF here.
This Wednesday, January 21st, CCP will be holding a conference on Citizens United v. FEC’s fifth anniversary. As we all know, Citizens United struck down bans on corporate and union political activity, and combined with the en banc D.C. Circuit’s unanimous opinion in SpeechNow.org v. FEC just a few months later, allowed outside groups other […]
Filed Under: Blog
Forbes: When It Comes To Political Donations, There Is Such A Thing As Too Much Disclosure (In the News)
By Zac Morgan In 1905, Theodore Roosevelt used the bully pulpit of his annual message to Congress on the State of the Union to advocate for “the full and verified publication in detail of all the sums contributed to and expended by the candidates or committees of any political parties.” The result, the President declared could not “but […]
By Zac Morgan Section 2 allows Congress to explicitly ban corporations or other associations from spending money to influence elections — but Lord only knows what “influencing elections” actually means. (To give you an idea, a surprising number of states, even with the protections of the current First Amendment, seem to believe it includes saying the name of […]
CCP Staff Attorney Zac Morgan writes for the Washington Examiner: The First Amendment harm of allowing a state agency to pick and choose which speakers may talk and which speakers ought to be punished is obvious. A straight challenge to the law would likely be quite successful. But SBA List is not such a challenge. Rather, it is about […]
Here, you can find the complete Plaintiff’s Reply Brief in Support of its Motion for Preliminary Injunction.