Personal Freedoms

published : 2023-12-10

NRA and ACLU Unite in Supreme Court Challenge to NY Blacklist Allegation

ACLU defends free speech rights despite not supporting NRA

The NRA President Charles Cotton addressing a crowd during a speech at a rally in front of the Supreme Court (Photo prompt: taken with Nikon D850)

In a surprising turn of events, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has found an unexpected ally in the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as they pursue a First Amendment case before the Supreme Court.

NRA President Charles Cotton expressed pride in standing alongside the ACLU and others who recognize that regulatory authority should not be used to silence political speech.

The case at hand revolves around the NRA's 2018 challenge against former New York State Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo and former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, alleging that they blacklisted the NRA, resulting in banks and insurers cutting ties with the group.

Members of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) protesting for free speech rights outside the New York State Department of Financial Services (Photo prompt: taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

The NRA argues that this action violates their First Amendment rights to free speech, contending that Vullo made threats and offers of leniency in order to coerce regulated entities into blacklisting the NRA.

After facing numerous challenges, setbacks, and defeats, the NRA finally secured the Supreme Court's agreement to hear the case, viewing the ACLU's support as a significant validation of their arguments.

The ACLU's decision to assist the NRA may be controversial, but they emphasize their long-standing commitment to defending free speech, even for those they may disagree with.

Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., where the case between the NRA and ACLU will be heard (Photo prompt: taken with Sony Alpha a7 III)

The Supreme Court's review of this case will impact the relationship between state regulators and private entities, as the NRA argues that allowing state officials to financially blacklist their political opponents goes against fundamental principles.

This unlikely alliance between the NRA and ACLU underscores the importance of the free speech principle at stake and highlights the complexities of navigating our hyper-polarized environment.