The Federalist Society

Free Speech & Election Law

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Executive Committee Contact Information

Practice Group Newsletters 1996-2000


  • Advertising Law & Regulatory
  • Election Law
  • Free Speech & Harassment Codes
  • Media Law


Upcoming Events

   Is “False” Political Speech Protected? - Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus
   Second Annual Executive Branch Review Conference

Recent Publications

   The First Amendment and Campaign Finance: Assessing the Recently-Decided McCutcheon v. FEC Case - Podcast

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Stating that “There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders,” on April 2, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal biennial limit on contributions to non-candidate committees. News coverage of the decision explains that it effects only a small handful of donors, but characterizes it as important nevertheless. How sweeping is the decision, and how important might it prove to be in coming elections? Is the Court now positioned to continue to favor the First Amendment over the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act?


  • Prof. Bradley A. Smith, 2013-14 Judge John T. Copenhaver Visiting Endowed Chair of Law, West Virginia University College of Law and Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Designated Professor of Law, Capital University Law School and former Chairman, Federal Election Commission

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   Part II: Can States Require Proof of Citizenship for Voter Registration?: Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona

PassportsLast term the Court heard a case examining a perceived clash between state and federal law on voter registration.  The Court ruled that the federal law preempted Arizona’s state law, thus relegating states’ constitutional authority to regulate voter qualification to federal supervision....[Read Now!]

   How Do We Balance Disclosure with Maintaining the Privacy of Participants in Contentious Issues? - Event Audio

How Do We Balance Disclosure with Maintaining the Privacy of Participants in Contentious Issues? - Event AudioSupporters of Proposition 8 have invoked NAACP v. Alabama to support their claims for anonymity, citing fears of intimidation and discrimination because of their opposition to same-sex marriage. How much transparency is needed when it comes to donors and supporters of contentious political issues? Is a signature on a petition deserving of a different degree of privacy than a financial contribution? Do different levels of support deserve different degrees of scrutiny? Or, as even Justice Scalia declared in oral arguments in Doe vs. Reed, is a certain amount of “civic courage” needed when taking a public stand on an issue? Do threats of harassment or even violence trump the need for transparency and disclosure? What are the repercussions for the First Amendment and direct democracy? How much privacy should be offered in ballot measure disclosure systems?

Panel Two: How Do We Balance Disclosure with Maintaining the Privacy of Participants in Contentious Issues?

  • Mr. Paul Avelar, Institute for Justice
  • Mr. Manny Klausner, Reason Foundation
  • Mr. Peter Scheer, First Amendment Coalition
  • Mr. Hans von Spakovsky, The Heritage Foundation
  • Moderator: Hon. Carolyn Kuhl, Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Simi Valley, CA

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   The Limits of Political Activity - Podcast

IRS SealRecently, the IRS proposed new regulations governing 501(c)(4) social welfare groups. Proponents argue that the proposed regulations will more clearly define permissible political activities of organizations operated as 501(c)(4)s. Opponents see the proposed regulations as further infringement on the free speech and association rights of the groups and those who contribute to them, and argue that the proposed regulations will unduly restrict their activities. Our experts discussed the proposed regulations, the likelihood of them being implemented, and the road forward.


  • Cleta Mitchell, Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP
  • John Pomeranz, Harmon, Curran, Spielberg + Eisenberg LLP
  • Jason Torchinsky, Partner, Holtzman Vogel Joseflak PLLC
  • Moderator: Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

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