Summary Description: Citizens United v. Schneiderman
2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal Opening Brief
On Friday, January 6, 2017, Citizens United and Citizens United Foundation filed their opening brief with the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York in Citizens United v. Schneiderman. The case involves a constitutional challenge to the New York Attorney General’s recently decreed policy requiring non-profit organizations soliciting contributions in New York to provide his Charity’s Bureau with a list of their top donors on an annual basis.
In their Brief, Citizens United and Citizens United Foundation challenge the dismissal of their case by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted. The brief contends the District Court committed multiple errors in dismissing the case, including:
- Imposing a heighten pleading standard in contravention of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and binding Supreme Court precedent for litigation challenging unconstitutional governmental action;
- Shifting the burden of proving the disclosure policy unconstitutional to the challengers of the policy despite decades of Supreme Court precedent emphasizing that the government bears the burden of proof in First Amendment cases involving prior restraints on freedom of speech;
- Ruling sua sponte (i.e. out of the blue with no briefing or argument on the issue) that the organizations’ due process claims are not ripe for adjudication despite the Attorney General’s written threat to fine the organizations’ if they do not comply with the donor disclosure policy;
- Refusing to recognize that New York’s donor disclosure policy is preempted by federal law protecting the names and addresses of donors from public disclosure; and
- Failing to strike down New York’s charitable solicitation licensing scheme as it relates to Citizens United despite the fact that New York law narrowly defines a charitable organization in a way that excludes advocacy organizations such as Citizens United.
Citizens United v. Schneiderman - 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal Opening Brief by Citizens United on Scribd