Supreme Court: Freedom Of Speech Doesn’t Stop At The Polling Place


Freedom of speech has paradoxically come more under attack at the polling place than anywhere else. Layers of regulations restrict the ability of Americans to support their candidates of choice with campaign contributions. And signs warn against electioneering around polling places. What does electioneering mean? It can mean wearing a t-shirt with a political slogan. Or any message.

Now in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that voters don’t give up their First Amendment rights when they go to vote. And it is perverse that the very arena in which Americans are most empowered to express their will about how they are governed was also the area where they had least freedom to do so.

The case is Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky. It originated in 2010 when Andrew Cilek, the executive director of the conservative group Minnesota Voters Alliance, tried to vote while wearing a t-shirt adorned with an image of the Gadsen Flag, the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me,” and a Tea Party Patriots logo. Cilek was also wearing a “Please I.D. Me” button from the conservative group Election Integrity Watch.

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This is a serious ruling that will have major implications across many states. And it’s also a potent blow struck in defense of freedom of speech within a democratic election. It’s not the end of the story. But it’s an important victory.

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And the Individual Rights Foundation played a crucial role in that victory.

General counsel Manuel S. Klausner, the redoubtable defender of civil liberties at IRF, joined the Cato briefs twice on merits and certiorari.

As an arm of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, IRF continues to fight the good fight for freedom in the legal arena. Its faith in a free society leads it to combat government overreaches like this. And now voters across the country will be freer than ever due to the ruling of the Supreme Court and the work of the Individual Rights Foundation.

Article posted with permission from Daniel Greenfield

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