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Today in legal history...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Supreme Court found release of petition names constitutional
Dwyer Arce at 12:00 AM ET

On June 24, 2010, the US Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in Doe No. 1 v. Reed that the First Amendment does not bar a state from releasing identifying information about petitioner signers where there is a sufficiently compelling state interest. The case arose over an order to publish the names of those who signed a Washington state petition to overturn a state law giving same-sex partners the same rights as married partners. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had ruled that the names should be released, but the Supreme Court issued a temporary stay. Chief Justice John Roberts, delivering the opinion of the court, affirmed the Ninth Circuit's ruling. The court held that preserving the integrity of the state electoral process was a compelling interest justifying the limitations placed on speech by the release of the names. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a lone dissent arguing that release of the information would stifle speech and discourage participation in state's referendum process.

Learn more about the First Amendment and same-sex marriage from the JURIST news archive.

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