William P. Danielczyk, Jr., et al. v. United States, Amicus Brief for Citizens United, et al. in the United States Supreme Court

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Election Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today our firm filed an amicus brief in the case of William P. Danielczyk, Jr. and Eugene R. Biagi v. United States in the United States Supreme Court in support of petitioner’s petition for writ of certiorari.

Our brief argues that the petition should be granted because the court below failed to apply the categorical First Amendment right of corporate entities to engage in political speech established by the U.S. Constitution and reaffirmed in Citizens United v. FEC. Further, the questions presented should be extended to include whether campaign finance restrictions on speech and press should ever be permitted based on overriding governmental interests. Finally, our brief argues that the various standards of review which enable the government to override the speech and press guarantees of the First Amendment, are illegitimate encroachments upon the sovereign power of the people to constitute and, when necessary reconstitute their government. Our brief urges the Supreme Court that “it is time to cut completely the Gordian Knot by which constitutional rights have been sacrificed based on atextual judicial balancing tests.” Read More

Center for Individual Freedom, et al. v. Chris Van Hollen, et al. Amicus Brief for Free Speech Coalition, Inc., et al. in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Election Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Today our firm filed an amicus brief in the case of Center for Individual Freedom, et al. v. Chris Van Hollen, et al. in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in support of appellants and reversal.

Our brief argues that the BCRA section 201 provision requiring disclosure of the names and addresses of all contributors who contributed an aggregate of $1,000 or more is subject to the rule of statutory construction to avoid serious constitutional problems. The Supreme Court did not address or resolve in Citizens United the constitutionality of whether the disclosure requirement applied to any donor who gave money generally to the publisher of an electioneering communication without direction as to how the funds should be used. Forced disclosures are subject to “exacting scrutiny” requiring proof of a strong governmental interest in the prevention of corruption or the appearance of corruption. The government interest in a better informed public, standing by itself, is not sufficient to override the well-established anonymity principle undergirding the freedoms of speech and the press. To avoid compromising that principle, BCRA’s disclosure provision should be construed to require proof that the “contributor who contributed” did so with the specific purpose of supporting an electioneering communication. Read More

Sergeant Gary A. Stein v. Colonel C.S. Dowling, et al. Additional Pleadings Filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Litigation, U. S. District Court, Southern District of New York

Today our firm joined with other co-counsel to file the following additional pleadings in the case of Sergeant Gary A. Stein v. Colonel C.S. Dowling,et al. in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California on behalf of plaintiff Sergeant Gary A. Stein:

Plaintiff’s Renewed Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Order and Order to Show Cause Why Preliminary Injunction Should Not Issue Read More

Sergeant Gary A. Stein v. Colonel C.S. Dowling, et al. Complaint and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Litigation, U. S. District Court, Southern District of California

Today our firm joined with other co-counsel to file the following documents in the case of Sergeant Gary A. Stein v. Colonel C.S. Dowling, et al. in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California on behalf of plaintiff Sergeant Gary A. Stein:

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

Plaintiff Stein’s Ex Parte Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, and Order to Show Cause Why a Preliminary Injunction Should Not Issue Read More

Doe v. Reed U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief for Free Speech Defense and Education Fund and Free Speech Coalition

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today our firm filed an amicus brief for the Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, the Free Speech Coalition, and 28 other nonprofit and for profit organizations in the case of Doe v. Reed, in the United States Supreme Court.

The brief argues that, contrary to what the state of Washington claims,freedom of speech principles do indeed apply to the Washington state referendum petition process. Moreover, anonymity for referendum petition signers in that state legislative process is protected from state abridgment by the14th amendment as an individual privilege and immunity of United States citizenship secured under the republican form of government guarantee of Article IV, Section 4 of the United States Constitution. Read More

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Amicus Brief in Support of Appellant U.S. Supreme Court

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Election Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of appellant Citizens United on a supplemental question. The amicus brief urges that Citizens United’s challenge to federal regulation of electioneering communications be sustained, and the decisions in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce andMcConnell v. FEC, as applied to BCRA section 203, be overruled since they endorse an erroneous view of the freedom of speech that conflicts with Citizens United’s freedom of the press. Contrary to the assumptions in Austin and McConnell, the freedom of the press does not confer a special privilege upon the institutional press, but is enjoyed by all the people. Austin’s and McConnell’s narrow reading of the press freedom is not only contrary to history, but at odds with new realities of journalism. Read More

National Taxpayers Union v Social Security Administration Amicus Brief in Support of Petitioner U.S. Supreme Court

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Nonprofit Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of petitioner National Taxpayers Union. At issue in this case is the constitutionality of a statute — section 1140 of the Social Security Act — which was misused to uphold significant penalties against National Taxpayers Union for engaging in core political speech, entitled to the strongest First Amendment protection possible. The amicus brief submits that the court of appeals erred by failing to apply correctly certain precedents of the Supreme Court, and that the decision of the court of appeals, if allowed to stand, would impede the free exercise of core political speech by persons and organizations critical of government policies and programs. Read More

Wisconsin Right to Life — Amicus Brief

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Election Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we filed a Brief Amicus Curiae in the U.S. Supreme Court in the Wisconsin Right to Life case.  The brief asks the Court to reconsider its prior holdings in the McConnell and Buckley cases, and to strike down the Congressional ban on “electioneering communications.”  (We had previously filed an amicus brief in support of Wisconsin Right to Life when the case came before the Court last year.) Read More