Joint brief with Buckeye Institute, Alliance Defending Freedom, and National Taxpayers Union asks nation’s high court to strike down law requiring nonprofits to disclose donors
September 1, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Demi Dowdy (919) 834-2099 firstname.lastname@example.org
RALEIGH– The Civitas Institute Center for Law and Freedom (CLF) has joined with the Buckeye Institute, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and the National Taxpayers Union in asking the United States Supreme Court to take up the case of Center for Competitive Politics v. Harris. The joint amicus brief asks the Court to uphold the First Amendment rights of nonprofit groups and their donors.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris recently announced that charities and tax-exempt organizations may not fund-raise from California residents unless they first provide the government with a list of their significant donors. The Ninth Circuit held that this practice does not violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
“The Ninth Circuit’s holding is both constitutionally flawed and deeply troubling,” CLF staff attorney Elliot Engstrom said. “In a time when government retaliation against public interest groups is such a pervasive topic, federal courts should be affirming such groups’ First Amendment protections rather than whittling them down.”
The brief asks the United States Supreme Court to grant certiorari in order to overturn the Ninth Circuit’s holding that compelled disclosure does not offend the First Amendment. At the moment, that holding only applies to states within the Ninth Circuit. Those states include California, Arizona, Nevada, and other western states and Pacific U.S. territories.
“We’re not waiting for this problem to come home to roost before taking action,” Engstrom said. “The California Attorney General’s practice, and the Ninth Circuit’s holding, should be of major concern to all public interest organizations and their donors nationwide.”
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to take up the case later this year.
The Center for Law and Freedom (CLF), a nonprofit public interest law firm housed within the Civitas Institute, provides free legal representation to North Carolinians facing governmental violations of their constitutional or other legal rights. CLF represents North Carolinians in cases such as administrative agency actions, constitutional litigation, and transparency lawsuits. The Center is part of the Civitas Institute’s overall mission to implement conservative policy solutions for the benefit of all North Carolinians.