November 13, 2017

Supreme Court accepts review in PLF’s First Amendment case!

By Wen Fa Attorney

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States granted PLF’s petition for certiorari in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, a First Amendment challenge to a Minnesota law that bans political apparel at the polling place. Minnesota interprets “political” broadly. Voters who wear shirts with any message that can possibly be associated with a political viewpoint face criminal sanctions and civil penalties. Under the State’s policy, it’s illegal to wear shirts that carry the logos of the Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, NAACP, and many more. The law violates the First Amendment because it is facially overbroad. The Supreme Court has already held that the government is not allowed to ban all speech, and create virtual speech-free zones at places like airports. Here, Minnesota has created a speech-free zone at the polling place, and speech-free zones violate the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court will likely hear the case in the spring. You can read more about this case on our website.

The press conference is at 11am central time on Tuesday in Room 181, State Office Building, 100 Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.

 

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Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky

On February 28, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in our case challenging a Minnesota election law that literally strips free speech rights from the backs of voters. A Minnesota state law prohibits voters from wearing “political” apparel at a polling place. This includes any t-shirt, button, or other item that identifies any political issue and even any organization that is known to take positions on political issues. Voters who wear AFL-CIO or NRA caps are told they must remove them before they can enter the polling place and vote. If they refuse, election officials take their names for possible prosecution and penalties up to $5,000. Lower courts upheld this law on the theory that government can ban all expression, besides voting, at a polling place.

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