Donor privacy is a free speech issue for everyday Americans – and it matters as much as it did during the civil rights movement.
Today’s cancel culture has shown that no one’s education, job, or platform is safe from being canceled if they have said, done, or even remotely associated with something controversial at any time in their lives. A donation can land you on a black list.
Anyone can be canceled, financially ruined and eliminated from the public sphere.
Yes, it happens to the CEOs of big companies, but it also happens to small business owners simply because they have a family member who said something controversial.
The President of the United States is not immune to having his platform removed, and neither was a trucker just trying to get home at the end of a long work day.
While there are many differences between today’s cancel culture and the fears of those supporting the NAACP during the civil rights era, in today’s increasingly polarized world holding unpopular opinions or supporting causes that upset the status quo has become dangerous. (And some of those causes turn from laudable to controversial overnight!)
Retribution in the civil rights era was underscored by violence, but death threats shouldn’t be a prerequisite for the right to protect our privacy or free speech. The social, economic and physical damage done to those hit with the blunt side of the cancel culture era are more than reason enough to fight for donor privacy.
Donor privacy is a “free speech” issue
For potential donors, the threat of losing their job or having their business financially ruined makes the choice to donate to causes that matter anything but “free.”
Every case we take at Liberty Justice Center is about free speech.
When we fought and won Janus v. AFSCME at the Supreme Court on behalf of public workers, it was a free speech issue.
When we filed an amicus brief for Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which Justice Alito cited in his decision to side with school choice, it was a free speech issue.
We know what moves Supreme Court justices, which is why we asked the Court to hear the donor privacy case Americans for Prosperity v. Becerra. Now that they’ve agreed to take on this historic case — the first to address the donor privacy issue in more than 40 years — and we will file a new amicus brief to provide guidance on how the Court should rule.
We’re taking a different tact than the AFP attorneys. We are adding value and buttressing their argument while providing a foundation for a broader and more robust argument in favor of privacy for individuals and organizations.
We believe that privacy is a right for all individuals and organizations, not just the politically popular. In fact, it’s not the popular, status-quo views that need protection – it’s the contrarian.
And privacy is integral to having a country that respects our freedom to speak and associate freely, whether the topic at hand is controversial or not.
What is more, we are one of the only legal firms in the nation that is committed to fighting for donor privacy. This case moves the law in the right direction for three cases we have pending in courts across the country to protect donor privacy.
And donor privacy is key to reviving a culture of free speech.