PELOSI Wants to Muzzle Dissent, End Of Free Speech

Pelosi Bill Would Target Grass-Roots Activists

Justice John Harlan, writing on behalf of a unanimous High Court: “[C]ompelled disclosure of affiliation with groups engaged in advocacy may constitute [an] effective . . . restraint on freedom of association.” source: Credit: John Marshall Harlan II – USSC, Credit: Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Clear Aim Is to Muzzle Citizen Groups Like National Right to Work

“It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the ‘liberty’ assured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which embraces freedom of speech . . . .

“Of course, it is immaterial whether the beliefs sought to be advanced by the association pertain to political, economic, religious or cultural matters, and state action which may have the effect of curtailing the freedom to associate is subject to the closest scrutiny.”

With these words, all nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court sharply rebuffed the State of Alabama just over six decades ago for seeking to use its sovereign authority to obtain the names and addresses of members of the NAACP under its jurisdiction.

‘Unconstitutional’ Goal Is to Curtail Free Speech Of Ordinary Americans

The author of the NAACP v. Alabama ruling was Justice John Marshall Harlan II, generally regarded as an advocate of judicial restraint, but no justice of any stripe dissented from his opinion, or even saw the need to qualify or add anything to what he said.

Unfortunately, in the 2019-20 Congress, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and every other member of her Democrat Party caucus seem ready to toss the constitutional principles unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court out the window simply in order to silence inconvenient voices during public debates.  

On March 8, Ms. Pelosi rammed H.R.1, the cynically mislabeled “For the People Act,” through the House with the support of every single Democrat politician in the chamber.

This power grab now awaits action in the U.S. Senate.

“The clear, unconstitutional aim of H.R.1 is to curtail the free speech of ordinary citizens,” charged National Right to Work Committee Vice President Greg Mourad.

Bill Would Help Thuggish Politicians, Union Bosses Track Down Their Critics

People banding together with others who share their legislative goals to advance them through grass-roots action are special targets of H.R.1, even though such organizations have long been explicitly authorized in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.

“The so-called ‘DISCLOSE Act’ provisions of H.R.1 would require nonprofit, citizen-action groups like the National Right to Work Committee to meet burdensome and stifling paperwork requirements simply in order to exercise basic First Amendment rights,” explained Mr. Mourad.

“Worst of all, this scheme would force 501(c)(4) groups like ours to disclose publicly the names of our donors.

“Effectively, Right to Work officers would either have to help thuggish politicians and union bosses track down and harass our supporters for daring to criticize them, or risk fines and, potentially, imprisonment.”

‘The Effect of Compelled Disclosure . . . Will Be To Abridge’ Member Rights

An unwarranted government demand that a private organization surrender and acquiesce to public disclosure of its supporters’ personal information is precisely the type of abuse the Supreme Court condemned in NAACP v. Alabama.

“It is hardly a novel perception,” stated Justice Harlan on behalf of the Court, “that compelled disclosure of affiliation with groups engaged in advocacy may constitute [an] effective . . . restraint on freedom of association.”

Ultimately, “the effect of compelled disclosure of the membership lists will be to abridge the rights of its rank-and-file members to engage in lawful association in support of their common beliefs.”

“Given that many Big Labor bosses contend unabashedly that they ought to be exempt from prosecution under federal anti-extortion law whenever they are pursuing ‘legitimate’ union goals, Committee members plainly have reasonable cause to expect reprisals if they lose their right to privacy,” said Mr. Mourad.

Committee Ready to Help Block H.R.1 in Senate

Shortly before this edition of the National Right to Work Newsletter went to press, the Committee contacted every senator on behalf of Committee members, stating bluntly that H.R.1 would “have the effect of stifling” the voices of this coalition of freedom-loving Americans.

Mr. Mourad said that, with top Senate leaders on the record in opposition to H.R.1, there are good prospects for blocking this attack on the free association and the right to privacy in Congress’ upper chamber. And the Committee is prepared to do everything necessary to defeat the legislation there.

(source: May 2019 National Right to Work Newsletter)

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