Legal Center Files in Defense of Washington State Disclosure Law Already Upheld by Supreme Court


The Campaign Legal Center yesterday filed an amicus brief in Doe v. Reed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in support of a Washington State disclosure law in an as-applied challenge after the U.S. Supreme Court already ruled the law constitutional in a facial challenge in 2010.

“The Supreme Court, by an 8-1 vote, made very clear that it believes disclosure is vital to the health of our democracy,” said Paul S. Ryan, Campaign Legal Center Associate Legal Counsel.  “As Justice Scalia wrote, ‘requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed.’  The legal bar for exemption from disclosure is appropriately very high and should not be lowered in this case.  To imply that these petition signers face a threat akin to members of the Socialist Workers Party or the NAACP in the Deep South during the civil rights era is an affront to real civic courage.”

The case was brought on behalf of “John Doe” and Protect Marriage Washington, a group opposed to same-sex marriage and domestic partnership rights, in an effort to halt Washington State from releasing, under the state Public Records Act, petitions filed in a 2009 referendum campaign to repeal a domestic partnership law enacted by the state legislature.

Doe v. Reed is just one of many cases challenging state, local and federal disclosure laws as part of a nationwide litigation campaign seeking to undermine transparency in politics.

To read the Legal Center brief, click here.