Supreme Court unanimous on free speech in NRA case ruling

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The Supreme Court today unanimously ruled in favor of free speech rights in NRA v. Vullo, a case in which the Competitive Enterprise Institute had an amicus brief. The National Rifle Association sued a New York state regulator over government pressure against banks and insurance companies to disassociate from the gun lobby group. CEI attorney Devin Watkins praised today’s win for free speech:

“The Supreme Court unanimously reaffirmed today that the government cannot threaten third parties to get them to disassociate from disfavored speakers. New York’s alleged jawboning of National Rifle Association-affiliated banks to get them to end their financial association with the NRA is the kind of action that undermines our free society, and it is wonderful to see the Supreme Court stand in the way of abuse of government power.”

The question before the Court in National Rifle Association of America v. Vullo was: Does the First Amendment allow a government regulator to threaten regulated entities with adverse regulatory actions if they do business with a controversial speaker, as a consequence of (a) the government’s own hostility to the speaker’s viewpoint or (b) a perceived “general backlash” against the speaker’s advocacy?