Supreme Court Weighs In on New York’s ‘Blacklisting’ of NRA

Supreme Court Listens To Key Water Dispute

( – Justices of the United States Supreme Court heard arguments on Monday, March 18th in the case of National Rifle Association of America (NRA) v. Vullo. The NRA claims Maria Vullo, former New York State Department of Financial Services Superintendent, coerced banks and insurers to cut ties with the group. The NRA claims Vullo used her “regulatory power” to punish the NRA for supporting civilian gun rights, and thus violated the group’s First Amendment right to free speech.

In 2018 following a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Vullo sent “guidance letters” to banks and insurance companies encouraging them to reconsider relationships with the NRA and other organizations supportive of the Second Amendment. Vullo also fined three insurers over $13 million for offering a product called “Carry Guard” which provided liability insurance for policyholders responsible for “injuries from gunfire” even if the injury was intentional.

Vullo said her guidance letters only encouraged the financial institutions to examine their relationship with pro-gun organizations following the Parkland shooting, but never crossed the line to “unconstitutional coercion.” She claims companies received her letters and independently decided to distance themselves from the NRA after 17 people were shot and killed in Parkland, FL. A federal appeals court dismissed the lawsuit in 2022 claiming Vullo’s actions were “reasonable.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is backing the NRA even though it opposes the NRA’s “views in general” to prevent the case from becoming a “playbook” for government officials to target groups with opposing political views. ACLU attorney David Cole said that government officials are free to encourage people and groups to “not support political groups they oppose” but cannot exploit the power of their position to force results.

The Justice Department agrees the suit shouldn’t have been thrown out by a lower court, but is also cautious of an “overly broad” ruling that would wrongfully restrict the free speech of government officials.

A decision is expected by late June.

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