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Supreme Court hears case on First Amendment right to privacy in association in Americans For Prosperity Foundation vs. Bonta

Apr 26, 2021 by AFPF

WASHINGTON, DC—Americans for Prosperity Foundation, backed by nearly 300 groups across the political spectrum who filed friend-of-the-court briefs, urged the U.S. Supreme Court today to uphold people’s First Amendment rights. The question before the Justices in Americans For Prosperity Foundation vs. Bonta is whether a state’s blanket demand for a list of an organization’s supporters can override those people’s rights to freely join with each other, protect their privacy, and amplify their voices through groups that represent their beliefs.

“Americans shouldn’t have to choose between staying safe or speaking up,” said AFP Foundation CEO Emily Seidel. “History shows us the ability to maintain privacy makes it possible for people to join together on causes and in movements. That was the case for the Civil Rights movement, marriage equality, and is still the case today. Especially in a polarized climate, the work of addressing injustice and advocating for change is hard enough without people facing fear of harassment and retaliation from the government and from potentially violent opposition.”

A diverse array of groups – not only spanning ideology but also issues of health, faith, equal rights, and racial justice, among others – realize what’s at stake. First Amendment protections have enabled brave people to drive our nation closer to its founding ideals. These nearly 300 organizations standing in defense of privacy in this case illustrates that these rights are critical to continued progress too. As Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s Derek Shaffer argued before the Court, you can’t tell today what’s going to be controversial tomorrow.

This case is about non-profits and the voices of millions of Americans who support them. As Congressman John Sarbanes (D – Md.) and Democracy 21 stated in their amicus brief: “the requirement at issue here has nothing to do with elections.” Claims to the contrary are a distraction from the core freedoms at issue in this case.

Additional case documents include:

  • AFPF’s briefs are here and here.
  • An amicus brief by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Knight First Amendment Institute, Human Rights Campaign, and PEN America
  • An amicus brief by Charity Navigator, The Nonprofit Alliance Foundation, PETA, Doctors Without Borders, Southern Poverty Law Center, and more than 120 other charities
  • An amicus brief by 22 state Attorneys General
  • An amicus brief by the Council on American-Islamic Relations
  • An amicus brief by China Aid Association
  • An amicus brief by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Coalition Against Censorship, and other free speech organizations.
  • A sampling of other organizations who’ve joined in support of these rights.

For further information or questions, reach Lorenz Isidro at LIsidro@afphq.org or 703-887-7724.

Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF) works in communities and alongside partners to provide educational programs and resources on the toughest issues facing our country, including free markets, civil liberties, immigration reform, and constitutionally limited government. For more information, please visit AmericansForProsperityFoundation.org.