Friends, The new Alliance Alert Daily Digest is finally here! You can subscribe to the daily e-mail here: Subscribe to our mailing list * indicates required Email Address * First Name * Last Name *
The Hill: The Republican National Committee urged the Supreme Court on Tuesday to strike down certain limits on campaign contributions, saying they’re a violation of the First Amendment. The RNC filed its opening brief in a case challenging limits on the total amount one person can donate in a single election cycle.
Opening Brief Filed in U.S. Supreme Court in Challenge to the Federal Biennial, Individual Aggregate Limits on Contributions to Political Parties and Candidates
“We are pleased that the court got part of it right: the First Amendment prohibits the government from funding candidates based upon their opponent’s speech,” said James Bopp, Jr., counsel for the plaintiffs.
WorldNetDaily: Voting machines suspiciously defaulting to Barack Obama? Buses loaded with strangers appearing at polling stations? Even ballots turning out 100 percent for one candidate in precinct reports? In short, suspicions of vote fraud?
In September of 2011, a coalition of plaintiffs made up of Montana residents, corporations, political committees and a candidate for the Montana House filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of various Montana laws that regulate political campaigns. In February, federal judge Charles Lovell preliminarily enjoined enforcement of several of the challenged laws, holding that those regulations are likely unconstitutional under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Today three corporations asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Montana Supreme Court’s holding that corporations in Montana may be banned from making independent political expenditures by expressly advocate the election or defeat of state candidates.
Supreme Court Asked To Consider Constitutionality of NYC’s Low Contribution Limits for People Doing Business with the City
In 2007, New York City created a blacklist. It singled out nearly 12,000 of its most prominent citizens and said that they were the most likely to try to bribe politicians with campaign contributions. So the City published their names on the Internet for everybody to see and reduced the amount of contributions they can make to their chosen candidates by 90%
El Paso Times: Bopp, who also is mentioned in the article, said the purpose of the James Madison Center is not to help get Republicans elected, and McConnell “was not involved in (the center’s) day-to-day operations.” Instead, the James Madison Center became involved in the case at the behest of the Alliance Defense Fund, Bopp said. “This case has revealed that your Texas campaign-finance laws have some bad features,” he said . . . The Liberty Legal Institute didn’t respond last week to questions for this story. The Alliance Defense Fund, a national organization that had already joined the recall fight, also says in its mission statement that it fights for constitutional freedoms. “ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through . . . ” [more]
Appeal Filed to Defend Texans’ Right to Speak About Recall Election | James Madison Ctr for Free Speech
Attorneys for the Alliance Defense Fund, The James Madison Center for Free Speech and other have filed an Appeal in the Texas Supreme Court, seeking to protect the First Amendment rights of Texans to speak about a recall election.
Montana Corporations Ask United States Supreme Court to Reverse Montana State Court Ruling Upholding Ban on Corporate Independent Expenditures Despite Citizens United
Today, the political advocacy group American Tradition Partnership, along with two other corporate plaintiffs, Champion Painting and the Montana Shooting Sports Association, have asked Justice Anthony Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court to put on hold and then the Supreme Court to reverse a decision by the Montana Supreme Court, which upheld its law prohibiting corporate independent expenditures despite the decision in Citizens United v. FEC which held such bans unconstitutional.
On September 14, the court ruled that Charles G. Hatchett, a resident of Whitewater, cannot be made to register with the state and include a disclaimer on post cards and flyers urging his fellow residents to vote against a referendum
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life is an association of citizens that wants to support candidates who agree with the pro-life position. And The Taxpayers League of Minnesota is an association of citizens that wants to support candidates that favor limited taxes. Both groups want to make general-fund contributions to their chosen candidates.
Late Tuesday a federal district court in New Mexico declared unconstitutional a provision of Albuquerque’s system of public funding for elections that provides taxpayer funding to legislative candidates based on opposition speech.
Yesterday the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated its decision upholding Minnesota’s ban on corporate independent expenditures and contributions to candidates and ordered a new hearing to determine the constitutionality of the laws.
On Wednesday, a citizen coalition led by Protect Marriage Washington asked a federal court to prevent Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed from publishing the names and addresses of thousands of citizens who signed a controversial referendum petition in 2009.
A federal court in Virginia issued a ruling yesterday upholding its earlier decision that the federal ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates violates the First Amendment. The James Madison Center for Free Speech filed a brief with the court urging this result.
On Tuesday, a coalition of plaintiffs filed a motion asking a federal court to declare unconstitutional several state laws governing the ballot initiative process in the city of Chula Vista. First, they challenged the Natural Person Requirement, which requires that those who propose ballot initiatives must be “natural persons.”
Today, Wisconsin Right to Life Political Action Committee asked a federal court to prevent Wisconsin’s public funding scheme from being implemented for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates, asserting it is an unconstitutional infringement of their First Amendment free speech rights.
Four former Federal Election Commission Chairmen and a former Federal Election Commissioner filed a brief with the United States Supreme Court last Thursday arguing that Arizona’s campaign matching funds scheme violates the First Amendment.
Des Moines Register: “A federal judge has tossed a lawsuit that claimed lawyer members of the state group that nominates people to become Iowa Supreme Court justices should be chosen by voters.”
Des Moines Register: “A conservative group that wants to change the way Iowa Supreme Court justices are selected argued Thursday that seven lawyer members on the panel that picks finalists should be directly elected by voters.”
“On December 9, the Bopp law firm of Indiana filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on behalf of four Iowa residents, arguing that Iowa’s current ‘Missouri Plan’ method of selecting judges is unconstitutional because citizens are not allowed to directly vote for the judges.”
Missouri Lawyers Media [AP]: “Four Iowa residents filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday that notes since they are not attorneys they have no role in selecting the seven commissioners, who are lawyers elected through the Iowa State Bar Association. The lawsuit claims the selection system gives lawyers too much influence and is unconstitutional as a result.”
The Republican National Committee and Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao today asked the Supreme Court of the United States today to consider their constitutional challenge to the laws that limit the amount of money political parties can spend in coordination with candidates to the extent that those expenditures constitute the party’s speech.
Four Iowa voters filed suit yesterday in federal court to stop the dominating influence of attorneys over the system for selecting state judges in Iowa, arguing that this influence denies ordinary Iowa voters an equal voice in selecting justices for the Iowa Supreme Court.
WorldNetDaily: “The situation in Houston erupted after workers with a volunteer organization called True the Vote investigated the work of a Houston Votes group and found that of the 25,000 voter registrations submitted, only 7,193 apparently were actually valid.” James Bopp, Jr. of the James Madison Center for Free Speech and Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Institute are quoted.
Washington Post (AP): “The high court without comment turned away a request for an injunction from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.”
Virginia law requires congressional candidates to collect 1,000 signatures before they can appear on the ballot. Even though Lux collected over 1,200 signatures, he was refused a place on the ballot because he witnessed most of the signatures himself. Under Virginia law, candidates may witness their own signatures, and a candidate may run for Congress without residing in a given congressional district. However, only residents of a congressional district can gather signatures and Lux does not reside in the congressional district where he is running.
The Susan B. Anthony List (“SBA”) filed a federal lawsuit yesterday asking the court to stop Ohio’s investigation of whether it made a “false statement” about a candidate for Congress until the court can decide whether the law they were charged under is constitutional.
New York Times: “Beyond that, conservatives say they are guided by less partisan motives: the fervent belief, shared by some liberal groups like the A.C.L.U., that the First Amendment should prevent the government from enacting campaign finance restrictions that can chill free speech, even if it means giving anonymity to donors and rights to corporations.”
Hawaii Federal Court Enjoins Limit on Contributions Received By Political Committees Doing Only Independent Spending
A federal court in Hawaii has stopped the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission from enforcing a limit on contributions received by political committees doing only independent spending for political speech.
“I feel like my client is Goldilocks,” said James Bopp, Jr., general counsel for the Madison Center, “its always too early or too late to protect my client’s right to speak. But when the First Amendment is involved, the time is always just right for the court to step in to protect them. The courts must do more to protect First Amendment rights from government encroachment.”
A collection of judges, judicial candidates, and advocacy groups from two states are seeking Supreme Court review of state regulations that place limits on the ability of judicial candidates to campaign for judicial office.
National Organization for Marriage (“NOM”) has filed suit in federal court challenging Florida’s restrictions on ads and mailings that reference candidates positions on issues. NOM wants to run radio and television ads, send mail directly to Florida residents, and post copies of these items on its web page. These items all address the issue of marriage. In particular, the items focus on candidates positions concerning traditional and gay marriage, including civil unions. NOM simply wishes to exercise its Freedom of Speech rights under the First Amendment, rights recognized and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In Rhode Island, NOM wants to communicate with citizens and spend money to support the advancement of current issues by placing ads on the radio and TV and by posting content to its website. Rhode Island, however, through a series of laws, restricts the ability of groups such as NOM to act as a voice even though the Freedom of Speech clause in the Constitution guarantees this right. NOM knows that such activity is essential to help citizens effectively make correct and informed decisions on these important issues.
pecifically, NOM desires to run television and radio ads, send out mailers, and post these items to its website. New York law, however, restricts the rights of groups such as NOM from having their voice heard in the midst of relevant discussions in society concerning these critical issues. New York cannot completely ban NOM from speaking as the Constitution protects the Freedom of Speech. However, New York still silences speech by labeling NOM as a ‘Political Committee,’ which label imposes layer after layer of burdens on NOM and similar groups that wish to exercise their constitutional rights to speak.
Specifically, MCCL and the other corporations want to spend general treasury dollars to run advertisements for candidates they support. But Minnesota law won’t let them. Instead, Minnesota requires them to set up a separate fund to pay for advertisements, and requires that fund to comply with lots of registration, record-keeping, and reporting requirements just to engage in its political speech. But the Supreme Court has said in other cases that corporations have the right to pay for their political speech with general treasury dollars, and they cannot be forced to set up separate funds or to comply with requirements like Minnesota imposes.
“Under the scheme, state legislative candidates receive between $500 and $19,000 in initial funding, plus additional “matching funds” of up to $38,000 if they are outspent by their opponent and independent groups.”
Yesterday, a federal court ruled that South Carolina cannot force advocacy groups to become political committees simply because they spend more than $500 “to influence the outcome of an elective office.”
Corporation Sues Iowa For Violating First Amendment Right To Produce Political Ads, Make Contributions
“Iowa says that corporations cannot make political ads without a PAC, which requires burdensome registration, record-keeping, and reporting requirements. But the Supreme Court recently ruled in a case called Citizens United that corporations have a First Amendment right to make political ads, without having to create a PAC. So Iowa requires the very thing the Supreme Court said is unconstitutional.”
“Only candidates nominated by the Commission may be appointed by the Governor. Since all nominees allowed to move forward by the Commission may be opposed to the Governor, the Judicial Council, and not the people, has complete control over who becomes a judge in Kansas.”
On Friday, a federal appeals court held that a 2008 Arizona judicial candidate could proceed with his challenge to Arizona’s election laws despite having lost his election bid. Randolph Wolfson, who ran for Justice of the Peace in 2006 and for Superior Court Judge in 2008, brought suit during the 2008 campaign to block enforcement of Arizona laws that banned state court judicial candidates from supporting other candidates or ballot initiatives, or from personally asking for campaign funds.
“Today, a federal judge entered an order preventing Washington from releasing the names and addresses of individuals that signed a referendum petition to repeal Washington’s “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law.”
Yesterday, a federal appellate court decided that Kentucky judicial candidates can say what political party they are a member of and personally ask for funds for their campaign. The Court also affirmed that judicial candidates cannot constitutionally be prohibited from stating their views during their campaigns
Candidate and Supporters Sue Virginia For Violating First Amendment Right To Circulate and Sign Candidate Petitions
“On Tuesday, Herb Lux, an independent candidate for the United States House of Representatives in Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District, and three of his supporters sued Virginia to protect their right to circulate and sign a candidate petition in support of Herb Lux’s candidacy. The State Board of Elections rejected a majority of Mr. Lux’s petitions and refused to certify him for the ballot, citing a Virginia law that requires petition circulators to be residents of the congressional district . . . ”
Corporations Sue Minnesota For Violating First Amendment Right To Make Contributions, Produce Political Ads
“Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, Inc., The Taxpayers League of Minnesota, and Coastal Travel Enterprises, LLC want to be able to make contributions to political parties and/or candidates, and also produce political ads supporting the candidates they like. The First Amendment says they have the right to do these things. But Minnesota law forbids it.”
“Yesterday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a 3-3 decision, held that a political advertisement run by successful Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Justice Michael Gableman did not violate the State’s rules of judicial ethics. The case, In re Gableman, involves a political advertisement Justice Gableman ran against his opponent in his 2008 campaign. The Wisconsin Judicial Commission alleged that his ad was false and misleading and warrants disciplinary action.”
WorldNetDaily: “Arguing death threats have a significant ‘chilling’ effect on free speech, an attorney representing supporters of Washington state’s traditional-marriage referendum says he’s confident a lower court will decide to protect their names and addresses. … The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week it would not issue a blanket ban on the release of signatures on petition documents. The high court, however, explained its decision did not prevent the Washington state petition signers from gaining an exemption from public disclosure at the lower court. … [CWA] was one of many [organizations] that filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the Washington state case. Other groups included Liberty Counsel, Cato Institute, Institute for Justice, Alliance Defense Fund, American Center for Law and Justice and the Justice and Freedom Fund.”
Congratulations to allied attorneys Jim Bopp, Tom Brejcha, Peter Breen, Natalie Decker, Brad Abramson, Steve Fitschen, Doug Myers, Bob Tyler, Jennifer Monk, Frank Mylar, Trent Roddy, Demetrios Stratis, Steve Taylor, and Michael Tierney, for their recent successes listed below. Please take time to congratulate them!
Congratulations to allied attorneys Jim Bopp, Simon Calvert, Jason Craddock, Brad Dacus, Kevin Snider, Matt McReynolds, Steve Fitschen, Barry Hodge, and Demetrios Stratis for their recent successes listed below. Please take time to congratulate them!
Yesterday, a federal judge enjoined enforcement of two Wisconsin campaign finance laws. The laws would have required Charles G. Hatchett of Whitewater, Wisconsin to register with the state and include a disclaimer on post cards and flyers urging his fellow residents to vote against a local referendum that will be voted on April 6.
A lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court in Wisconsin challenging the same portions of that state’s campaign finance laws that a federal judge ruled unconstitutional in similar circumstances in 2009. The suit surrounds a another local referendum in the town of Whitewater that will be voted on April 6. The plaintiff, Charles G. Hatchett, a resident of Whitewater, wants to send post cards and flyers urging his fellow residents to vote against the referendum
“Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear a case that asks it to decide whether the Washington Secretary of State may release the names, addresses, and other personal information of over 138,000 individuals who signed a referendum petition seeking to protect traditional marriage in Washington.”
“A group of citizens formed RTAO in July 2008 because they wanted to provide accurate and useful information about then-candidate Barack Obama. Specifically, RTAO wanted to broadcast an ad explaining Obama’s support of abortion. RTAO also planned a website and wanted to distribute a letter in order to raise money for the ad. However, if RTAO had proceeded, it was in danger of an enforcement action and civil and criminal penalties by the Federal Election Commission.”
“Today, Wisconsin Right to Life Political Action Committee filed suit in federal court against Wisconsin’s recently enacted public funding scheme for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates, asserting it is an unconstitutional infringement of their First Amendment free speech rights.”
Washington Family PAC Files Suit to Allow it to Accept Contributions Exceeding $5,000 to Fight R-71 and Shield Small Donors
Pro-Marriage groups filed a challenge in federal court yesterday to a Maine law requiring any person who receives contributions or spends more than $5,000 related to a Maine ballot measure to register as a ballot measure committee.
TRO entered to prevent Wash. Secretary of State from Releasing Copies of Ref. 71 Marriage Protection Petition
At a hearing on July 29, 2009, a United States District Court Judge entered an order preventing the Washington Secretary of State from publicly releasing copies of the Referendum 71 petition filed on Saturday . . . Attorney Stephen Pidgeon (Bellevue, WA), an Alliance Defense Fund Allied Attorney, is serving as local counsel in the case.
Former FEC Chairmen and Commissioners Call for Reversal of Two Supreme Court Cases Restricting Citizen Speech
“. . . the Federal Election Commission filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Citizens United v. FEC calling for the overruling of two Supreme Court decisions that have chilled public speech by imposing complex and burdensome layers of regulations.”
James Madison Center: “Federal District Court Judge Barbara Crabb has granted a permanent injunction against provisions of the Wisconsin Code of Judicial Conduct that prohibited state court judicial candidates from belonging to a political party, as well as from personally …
WorldNetDaily reports: . . . “Putting the names and employers of the people who supported Proposition 8 on the Internet for anyone to see has caused serious problems,” said James Bopp Jr., the lead attorney for Prop. 8 supporters. “No …