Court upholds disclosure of petition signers | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Court upholds disclosure of petition signers

Posted By on Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Big news here. The U.S. Supreme Court, in an 8-1 vote, has upheld a Washington decision that allowed public release of names of people who sign initiative petitions. The case was brought by anti-gay groups, who have reacted unhappily to disclosure of the names of people who signed ballot petitions for initiatives to ban same-sex marriage.

The overriding need for public dislcosure of petition signers — in this and any other petition campaign — is to guard against fraudulent signatures. A gay rights group had put on-line the names of those who signed petitions in Arkansas to prevent adoptions by gay people.

This will be welcome news to the University of Arkansas's Janine Parry, who joined a group of scholars arguing for openness.

This decision doesn't answer for all time the question of whether disclosure of names in certain cases could chill free speech. It only answered the general question of whether disclosure of petition signers generally was acceptable. Justice Clarence Thomas would have protected those who sign anti-gay petitions. Samuel Alito sounded sympathetic to them. Antonin Scalia, on the other hand, said it wasn't even a close call. Credit where due:

"I doubt whether signing a petition that has the effect of suspending a law fits within 'the freedom of speech' at all. Our Nation’s longstanding traditions of legislating and voting in public refute the claim that the First Amendment accords a right to anonymity in the performance of an act with governmental effect," Scalia wrote. He also suggested that the petition signers demanding anonymity need, in essence, to grow up.

"Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed. For my part, I do not look forwardto a society which, thanks to the Supreme Court, campaigns anonymously...and even exercises the direct democracy of initiative and referendum hidden from public scrutiny and protected from the accountability of criticism. This does not resemble the Home of the Brave," Scalia wrote.

Tags: , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Circuit court charge filed against Ten Commandments monument destroyer

    The Pulaski County prosecuting attorney's office filed a direct charge in circuit court today against Michael Tate Reed, who's been held in the county jail since he was arrested June 28 after driving over and demolishing the day-old Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • Whatever secret bill Senate considers, winners and losers are the same

    The U.S. Senate seems likely to vote Tuesday on a secret health bill. Whatever version is rolled out — and if Sen. John McCain's doctor approves a fly-in so he may vote — the outcome is the same. Bad for working poor and previously sick; good for rich people.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • Two shot in home on W. 19th

    KARK reports that a 19-year-old woman and 20-year-old man were found with gunshot wounds when police responded to a house in the 4200 block of W. 19th.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Federal judge wants John Goodson to explain class action maneuvering

    A show-cause order filed Monday by federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith indicates class action attorney John Goodson has some explaining to do about the move of a class action complaint against an insurance company from federal to state court with an instant pre-packaged settlement that has been criticized as a windfall for Goodson.
    • Dec 22, 2015
  • Arkansan on Obama's latest commutation list

    President Obama today announced commutations of the sentences of 111 federal prisoners, including one from Arkansas.
    • Aug 30, 2016
  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016

Most Shared

  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.
  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.

Most Viewed

  • Trump's ratings slide everywhere, but Arkansas remains in favorable territory

    Donald Trump's rating is in negative territory in two-thirds of the U.S., but not Arkansas, though his numbers are well below the vote he received in 2016.
  • A night out: Beer and bullets

    A late night shooting in the Fayetteville entertainment district brings a reminder of the legislature's recent expansion of gun law.
  • Magic Springs coaster stops

    The X Coaster at the Magic Springs amusement park in Hot Springs stopped running this afternoon, KARK reports, and the station quotes the park operator ass saying guests are now "enjoying the park."
  • Judge clears effort to gather vote information

    A federal judge has said the Trump commission aimed at providing evidence he really didn't lose the popular vote may proceed with asking states to supply vast amounts of information on voters because it is not technically a federal agency subject to privacy laws.
  • Whatever secret bill Senate considers, winners and losers are the same

    The U.S. Senate seems likely to vote Tuesday on a secret health bill. Whatever version is rolled out — and if Sen. John McCain's doctor approves a fly-in so he may vote — the outcome is the same. Bad for working poor and previously sick; good for rich people.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation