Parker North, CO Free Speech - Media Advisory - 11/18/09
Federal Appeals Court Hears Important Free Speech Case
Approximately 10:30 a.m. Mountain Time/Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Before the Honorable Mary Beck Briscoe, Monroe G. McKay & Harris L. Hartz
10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Byron White U.S. Courthouse
1823 Stout Street
Denver, Colorado 80257
Steve Simpson, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice
Parker North residents who found their free speech rights under assault because of Colorado’s campaign finance laws
John Kramer, Vice President for Communications, (703) 682-9320
In Colorado and across our country, Americans must now register with the government before speaking and then continue to report to the government about their political activities. Failure to do so could result in steep fines and even jail time.
Does that sound right to you?
On Wednesday, at approximately 10:30 a.m., the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear an important free speech case arising out of Colorado. The case asks the question: Should you be forced to register with the government when you pitch in $20 to buy yard signs on a political campaign, or to disclose the name and address of your employer when you contribute $100 to buy t-shirts that express your views on a ballot issue, or do these kinds of requirements violate basic American freedom of speech and association?
Across Colorado, people with a political ax to grind who are fearful they can’t win at the ballot box are using the state’s campaign finance laws to intimidate their political opponents into silence. That’s just what happened to half-a-dozen neighbors from Parker North, Colo., who merely wanted to voice their opposition to a plan that would annex their neighborhood into the nearby town of Parker. For speaking out, posting yard signs and buying t-shirts, they found themselves being sued by their opponent because the six hadn’t first registered with the government as an “issue committee.”
The Institute for Justice, which is arguing the case on behalf of the neighbors, believes that if the First Amendment means anything, it means no one should be hauled into court and subjected to endless red tape simply for speaking out about a political issue they care about.