U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number



Cert. Denied


Questions Presented

1. Whether the First Amendment permits a State, by a surprising statutory construction, to require a speaker, on pain of serious punishment, to predict whether independent issue advocacy impliedly “supports” or “opposes” a candidate?

2. Whether footnote 64 of the Supreme Court's decision in McConnell v. FEC overturns sub silentio precedent of the Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals holding that the terms support” and “oppose” are vague when used in a statute threatening serious punishment for those engaged in core First Amendment speech?

Case Updates

Cert. petition denied

June 02, 2008

U.S. Chamber urges Supreme Court to review election speech

April 09, 2008

NCLC filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to decide whether regulation of political speech that “supports or opposes” a candidate offends the First Amendment on vagueness grounds. The Washington Supreme Court upheld an enforcement action by the Washington Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) against the Voter’s Education Committee (VEC) for failure to follow registration and disclosure requirements required by the Washington Fair Campaign Practices Act (“FCPA”). Under the PDC’s application of the FCPA, VEC constituted a “political committee” subject to regulation because it “supports or opposes” a candidate. NCLC argued that the FCPA violates the First Amendment because the statute’s definition of “political committee” is both vague and overbroad, reaching well beyond the traditional understanding of a committee. Additionally, upholding the Washington Supreme Court ruling would subject to onerous regulation a wide range of organizations that routinely interact with government officials at issue-based forums or discussions.

Case Documents