Supreme Court to hear First Amendment challenge to New York's financial 'blacklisting' of NRA

Supreme Court to Review First Amendment Claims Against New York’s NRA Financial Blacklist Policy

Sign up with Fox News to unlock exclusive content. Get special access to select articles and premium content at no cost when you create an account. Just enter a valid email address to get started. By signing up, you agree to Fox News’ Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, including our Notice of Financial Incentive. Follow the instructions sent to your email to access the content. If you encounter any issues, click here for help.

On Monday, the Supreme Court is set to review a significant First Amendment case initiated by the National Rifle Association (NRA). This case has brought together unlikely allies to contest the actions of a government official, actions they argue infringed upon their First Amendment rights. The case in question, National Rifle Association of America v. Vullo, examines if a government regulator’s threat of adverse regulatory actions against entities for associating with a controversial speaker, due to the government’s bias against the speaker’s viewpoint, breaches the First Amendment.

The NRA launched its 2018 lawsuit after discovering that Maria T. Vullo, the former Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, allegedly blacklisted the NRA under former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s directive. This move aimed to pressure banks and insurers into severing ties with the NRA. The lawsuit highlights how Vullo sent “guidance letters” to banks and insurance companies in 2018, urging them to disconnect from the NRA and similar pro-Second Amendment groups, citing potential reputational risks. These letters were dispatched shortly after the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which resulted in the loss of 17 students and staff.

The lawsuit accuses Vullo of making covert threats against regulated companies, coupled with offers of leniency for unrelated violations if they agreed to blacklist the NRA. In November, the Supreme Court decided to take on National Rifle Association of America v. Vullo, following a federal appeals court’s dismissal of the lawsuit in 2022, deeming Vullo’s actions reasonable.

Numerous political figures, lawmakers, scholars, and organizations have expressed their support for the NRA’s stance by filing or joining amicus briefs. Among the supporters is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an organization that typically opposes the NRA but has declared its commitment to defending the NRA’s freedom of speech.

David Cole, ACLU Legal Director, who will represent the NRA in court, emphasized that public officials should not misuse their regulatory powers to blacklist an organization simply because they disagree with its political views. He warned that allowing New York to target the NRA could set a precedent for other state officials to exploit their authority against disliked groups.

This case holds significant implications for the NRA and all advocacy organizations that depend on First Amendment protections. It serves as a crucial reminder to government officials that intimidation, censorship through backdoor methods, and regulatory blacklisting to suppress dissenting voices are not permissible.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments for this case on Monday at 10:00 a.m.