February 27, 2018

Wednesday: PLF argues First Amendment case before the Supreme Court

By Wen Fa Attorney

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear PLF’s First Amendment challenge in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky. The case involves a Minnesota law that allows the government to fine voters just for wearing a t-shirt with a logo of a “political” group. As the government itself noted, the law goes far beyond a ban on active campaigning at the polling place. In fact, it goes even beyond a ban on t-shirts saying “vote for Hilary” or “vote for Trump.” Minnesota’s law bans any shirt featuring the logo of the Tea Party, AFL-CIO, Chamber of Commerce, NAACP, and countless other groups that are associated with some political viewpoint.

What’s more, broad and open-ended laws like Minnesota’s allow poll workers to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint. A liberal poll worker might be all the more willing to stop someone wearing a Pacific Legal Foundation shirt. A conservative poll worker might be enticed to write down the name of other voters wearing shirts featuring the logo of the ACLU.

The law threatens the First Amendment rights of everyone. PLF defends the First Amendment for all— from union members who want to wear AFL-CIO t-shirts to businessmen who want to wear Chamber of Commerce t-shirts to civil rights advocates who want to wear shirts that say NAACP. We will ask the Supreme Court to vindicate the free speech rights of everyone. Beyond, we will continue to defend liberty and justice for all.

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