From Judicial Watch:
Judicial Watch is fighting to protect the First Amendment rights of non-profit donors across America from a new California law which “compels the disclosure of certain organization’s donors [to its state government].” “This challenge to California law has now made its way to the Supreme Court,” Fitton explained last month. Filing an amici curiae (friends of the court) brief, Judicial Watch is asking the Supreme Court to consider or take up the case. “We’re obviously asking for this California law to be overturned,” Fitton continued.
The California law, as the Judicial Watch brief argues:
“…is not only wrong … it would also chill the free exercise of millions of Californians’ protected First Amendment rights.… It clearly affects individuals’ willingness to donate. Indeed, recent widely publicized reports show that threats, harassment, or reprisals have occurred from either government officials or private parties.”
“We have this fundamental freedom of association as recognized by the First Amendment,” Fitton stated. Referring to the 1958 NAACP v. Alabama case, Fitton reminded viewers that state opponents to the civil rights organization “wanted access to the members, donors, and supporters of the NAACP.” As Fitton explained, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the NAACP, and against the State of Alabama’s attempt to undermine donor privacy. This case is substantively similar to of that “famous case” Fitton argued. “[California is] messing around with your First Amendment rights by forcing organizations… that want to operate in California” to disclose their donor base.
As Fitton argued, government zeal for exposing conservative organizations is nothing new. Judicial Watch’s amici curiae brief “pointed out the notorious IRS scandal under the Obama administration in which the agency targeted conservative organizations’ applications for tax exempt status.”
“In our experience, any more regulation that requires additional disclosure of donor data to a state that has publicly demonstrated an animosity to conservative viewpoints has the real potential to chill speech.”
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