Statement on Supreme Court Citizen Privacy Ruling

Court facially invalidates California’s demand for nonprofit supporter lists in win for free speech

July 1, 2021   •  By IFS Staff   •  
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Washington, DC – The Institute for Free Speech released the following statement in response to today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta and Thomas More Law Center v. Bonta. The Court’s ruling struck down a California mandate that nonprofit groups soliciting funds in the state must reveal their major supporters to state officials.

“Today’s ruling is a big win for free speech and privacy. The Court has taken a critical step towards protecting Americans’ right to support nonprofit causes without fear of official or public retaliation and harassment for their beliefs. California’s careless warehousing of sensitive nonprofit supporter lists resulted in public leaks, putting the safety of civically engaged Americans at risk. The Court’s strong opinion makes clear that the state’s dragnet was not just irresponsible, it was unconstitutional. Its decision reaffirms the Court’s vital precedents protecting citizen privacy and gives real teeth to the legal standard under which many laws harming speech and assembly rights are reviewed by courts,” said Institute for Free Speech Chairman and Founder Bradley A. Smith.

The Institute for Free Speech filed an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs and was the first organization to sue California for demanding nonprofits’ supporter lists. The Court today scheduled a conference on our case, Institute for Free Speech v. Bonta, and we expect an order soon.

About the Institute for Free Speech

The Institute for Free Speech is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes and defends the First Amendment rights to freely speak, assemble, publish, and petition the government. Originally known as the Center for Competitive Politics, it was founded in 2005 by Bradley A. Smith, a former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission. The Institute is the nation’s largest organization dedicated solely to protecting First Amendment political rights.

IFS Staff

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