Court decision to reveal names of political contributors will chill participation

A U.S. Supreme Court decision likely means the identity of those who support or contribute to political causes such as California's Proposition 8 will be subject to public disclosure.

On June 24, the court ruled 8-1 in Doe v. Reed that people who sign petitions to place referendums on state ballots don't have a general right under the First Amendment to keep their names secret. However, justices did leave the door open for plaintiffs in this particular case to argue in a lower court that their case is unique enough to grant an exception. One Supreme Court observer gave plaintiffs a "glimmer of hope" their case would succeed.

The case stems from a public-records request from those opposed to a Protect Marriage ballot initiative in Washington state. Opponents wanted names and addresses of those who had signed the petition. The case pitted two compelling First Amendment arguments — political participation and association should be protected speech much like voting in a private booth vs. the public's right to know the names of supporter and contributors to candidates and political causes.

Read the rest of this story at deseretnews.com
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