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HIGH COURT: Justices defend freedom of speech

We are grateful for the Supreme Court’s unanimous verdict in National Rifle Association v. Vullo — a case that cut to the heart of freedom of speech.

New York state officials targeted the NRA specifically because they found the NRA’s message objectionable, and pressured private enterprises to “blacklist” or refuse to conduct business with the organization.

“Today’s decision confirms that government officials have no business using their regulatory authority to blacklist disfavored political groups,” David Cole of the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued on behalf of the NRA, said, according to the ACLU’s website. New York’s leaders “were clear that they sought to punish the NRA because they disagreed with its gun rights advocacy. The Supreme Court has now made crystal clear that this action is unconstitutional.”

As Justice Sonia Sotomayer noted, “the First Amendment prohibits government officials from wielding their power selectively to punish or suppress speech.”

As we noted in an editorial on Jan. 24, when advocates for gun control are dismissive of not only Americans’ Second Amendment rights but also dismissive of the right to due process and of the right to advocate for and defend that right under the principles of the First Amendment, we cannot help but notice that skepticism of the Second Amendment is “joined at the hip with a hostility to all of our rights and liberties.”

We hope the public officials in New York whose disregard for Americans’ rights and liberties led to this unanimous decision will reconsider their hostility to free expression, to Americans’ right to keep and bear arms and to how these encroachments on liberty went hand in hand until rebuked by all nine of our Supreme Court’s justices.

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