Daily Media Links 5/27

May 27, 2022   •  By Tiffany Donnelly   •  
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Ed. note: The Daily Media Update will return Tuesday, May 31.

In the News

Courthouse News: Judge likely to reject bid to block San Francisco campaign ad rules

By Natalie Hanson

A federal judge signaled Thursday he will likely deny a political committee’s request for a temporary restraining order against San Francisco’s requirement of disclaimers in election ads. 

San Franciscans Supporting Prop B sued City Attorney David Chiu and others on May 11, protesting the city’s requirement that committees must run a message disclosing their campaign’s top three donors of $5,000 or more at the top of campaign ads. If one of those donors is a political action committee, that committee’s top two donors must also be disclosed.

The group…argues San Francisco’s restrictions, punishable by fines up to $5,000 if violated, are “wholly at odds with the guarantees of the First Amendment.” 

The plaintiffs say the city’s requirement that ads disclose top donors would be “distracting and driving away listeners before they even hear the speaker’s message.”

“Going so far swallows the committee’s communications, scares away donors and otherwise limits speakers’ and donors’ ability to speak and associate, and misleads voters as to who supports the committee’s communications,” the plaintiffs say in their complaint.

Donor Privacy

Philanthropy Roundtable: Unheralded Generosity: A 50-State Look at Anonymous Giving

These 50 case studies (one for each state) demonstrate the transcendent importance of the right to privacy, anonymity and civic association—all of which rely on freedom from unwanted and unnecessary disclosure.


Free Expression

The Dispatch: The New Right’s Dangerous Attitude on Corporate Rights

By Paul Matzko

In 2010, the conservative legal movement claimed a major victory as the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. FEC that corporations enjoy robust First Amendment rights and are thus free to finance political advertisements. Citizens United was the harvest of 30 years of careful sowing by an extensive network of conservative legal institutions that had propelled six of the nine sitting justices all the way onto the Supreme Court. Progressive legal analysts quickly labeled it the “Corporate Court” or “Big Business Court.” Legal historians may well look back at 2010s as a highwater mark of corporate rights unmatched since the Lochner era in the early 20th century, when the court struck down a New York state law that had set a maximum work week for bakers, and over the next three decades struck down other regulations regarding transportation, banking, and other industries.

But whereas progressives led a post-Lochner backlash that secured a sweeping expansion of federal government oversight of the economy, corporate rights are now under attack by the very conservative movement that once secured those rights. 

Reason: ‘Woke Capitalism’ Does Not Advance Social Justice

By Veronique de Rugy

Regular free-market capitalism has no conflict with companies spending their own money in pursuit of whatever goals they choose. Milton Friedman himself wouldn’t raise an eyebrow over a devoted LTBGQ baker who bakes cakes only for same-sex weddings or a company that only hires workers from underrepresented minorities. But woke capitalism gets more controversial when the likes of Delta Air Lines, JPMorgan Chase, and Apple use inflammatory and questionable talking points against Georgia’s voting-reform legislation, or when Major League Baseball pulls its All-Star Game from that state in protest.

Wall Street Journal: Republicans Can Stop ESG Political Bias

By Mike Pence

ESG is a pernicious strategy, because it allows the left to accomplish what it could never hope to achieve at the ballot box or through competition in the free market. ESG empowers an unelected cabal of bureaucrats, regulators and activist investors to rate companies based on their adherence to left-wing values. Like the social credit scores issued by the Chinese Communist Party, a low ESG score can be devastating, making it virtually impossible for a company to raise capital—and that is exactly the point.

Knight Institute: Rereading Herbert v. Lando

By evelyn douek and Genevieve Lakier

It’s worth pausing to note the extraordinary breadth of this reading of Herbert. The argument seems to be that the government cannot require some of the most powerful companies in the country—the world, perhaps—to provide even basic information about their policies and practices, when those policies and practices involve making decisions about speech. This would be a remarkably deregulatory outcome that disables almost any government regulation of much of the technology sector. Fortunately, this is not what Herbert says, as we explore in the rest of this post.

The States

The Cap Times:  A local official sued me for speaking up, but Wisconsin can protect others

By Kelly Gallaher

Authority figures sometimes try to control speech, but I was not prepared for the demand letter I recently received in Mount Pleasant. Among other restrictions, the village attorney ordered me not to say his name.

“You will refrain from publicly referencing me in any comment, regardless of whether such comment is written or spoken,” he told me in March. If I ignored this decree, He Who Must Not Be Named threatened me with a defamation lawsuit.

Compliance would mean I no longer could function effectively as spokeswoman for A Better Mount Pleasant, a grassroots organization that seeks to hold public officials accountable. Entire topics would be off-limits. I could not even raise questions about the village attorney’s salary, which I help fund as a taxpayer…

The practice is so common that policymakers have given it a name: strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP). The message to anyone on the receiving end of a SLAPP is clear: If you try to stop us, if you embarrass us, if you criticize us — it will cost you. Your speech will never be free…

Overall, 32 states and Washington, D.C., have anti-SLAPP laws. But Wisconsin is not on the list. Public officials in the Badger State can continue to intimidate critics who would hold them accountable.

Reason (Volokh Conspiracy): Tennessee Court Expresses Doubt About Whether Anti-Libel Injunctions Are Allowed Under Tennessee Law

By Eugene Volokh

From Lowery v Redmond, decided Monday by the Tennessee Court of Appeals, in an opinion by Judge J. Steven Stafford, joined by Judges Kenny Armstrong and Carma Dennis McGee:

The Federalist: Ohio Court Green-Lights ‘Common Carrier’ Lawsuit That Could Block Google From Playing Favorites

By Olivia Hajicek

An Ohio court delivered a blow to Google this week.

The court ordered Tuesday that the state’s lawsuit arguing Google is a common carrier may proceed. The suit alleges that Google unfairly discriminates in search results against competing companies. 

Tiffany Donnelly

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