Minnesota’s Political Apparel Ban “Incapable of Reasoned Application”

By | Legal, Minnesota, News and Events | No Comments

The United States Supreme Court released today its decision in an important First Amendment case coming from the state of Minnesota, Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky. In an emphatic 7-2 opinion, the Court declared unconstitutional an ambiguous law that banned “political” apparel at polling places on Election Day.

Not having defined what exactly the law means by “political,” the interpretation and application were left to various election judges at the polls. But Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, rightly pointed out that these judges, “must be guided by objective, workable standards.” “Without them,” he said, “an election judge’s own politics may shape his views on what counts as ‘political.’”

His point was clearly illustrated at oral arguments when the state’s attorney’s arbitrary determinations were put to the test.  As the Chief Justice recounts:

A shirt declaring “All Lives Matter,” we are told, could be “perceived” as political. How about a shirt bearing the name of the National Rifle Association? Definitely out. That said, a shirt displaying a rainbow flag could be worn “unless there was an issue on the ballot” that “related somehow … to gay rights.” A shirt simply displaying the text of the Second Amendment? Prohibited. But a shirt with the text of the First Amendment? “It would be allowed.” (Citations omitted)

In this specific case, the state banned buttons that read “Please I.D. Me,” even though the voter I.D. issue was not on the ballot. The state relied only on the fact that some candidates apparently had addressed the issue at some point.  To grant such broad latitude on the state’s ability to infringe on our First Amendment rights should be troubling to anyone, regardless of political philosophy.

Chief Justice Roberts asked keenly, “Would a ‘Support Our Troops’ shirt be banned, if one of the candidates or parties had expressed a view on military funding or aid for veterans? What about a ‘#MeToo’ shirt, referencing the movement to increase awareness of sexual harassment and assault?”

He concluded, “A rule whose fair enforcement requires an election judge to maintain a mental index of the platforms and positions of every candidate and party on the ballot is not reasonable.”

And reasonableness was the fundamental question for the Court as it considered the law’s constitutionality. Supreme Court precedent had already determined that polling places are non-public forums for First Amendment considerations. The Court has recognized that historically (See Burson v. Freeman, 504 U.S. 191 (1992)), states have a considerable, even a compelling interest, in keeping voters in polling places safe and free from harassment as they undertake the solemn civic duty of casting their individual, private votes. The government, therefore, has much more flexibility in limiting speech in such specific areas.

Most states, in fact, have laws that prohibit electioneering within certain limits of voting places.  The Court has upheld them in the past. But in such instances, the law must be “reasonable in light of the purpose served by the forum,” (Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense, 473 U.S. 788, 806). In the case of polling places, the purpose is peaceful voting.

Minnesota’s law was not reasonable in light of that purpose.

The Chief Justice again: “[T]he State must be able to articulate some sensible basis for distinguishing what may come in from what must stay out. Here, the unmoored use of the term ‘political’ in Minnesota law, combined with haphazard interpretations … cause Minnesota’s restriction to fail even this forgiving test.”

The majority (Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito, and Elena Kagan) show great wisdom and discipline in this decision, ensuring that states tread lightly when they set out to impose burdens on our constitutional rights. This law was an open invitation for political abuse and manipulation, and the people of Minnesota deserve much better.

Human Rights Prayer Rally – A Great Success! Watch Event Video and View Media Coverage.

By | Minnesota, North Dakota | No Comments

Over 200 attended on November 25 in Moorhead, Minnesota outside of Planned Parenthood to speak out and pray for the unborn and their mothers including key note speaker Dr. Alveda King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece.  Click here to watch video.

Media coverage:
KVRR Local News coverage: Dr. King’s Niece Leads Pro-Life Rally at Moorhead’s Planned Parenthood
KFGO coverage: MLK Niece Speaks at Moorhead Anti-Abortion Rally
CWA coverage: Even the Media Can’t Deny the Numbers

CWA Marshall Prayer/Action Chapter Kick-Off Meeting To Be Held January 21!

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Do you, or someone you know, live in or near Marshall, Minnesota?  If so, read on.  If not, please consider starting a group in your area.  Contact us today to find out if there is a Chapter in your area and/or how to start one.

We are excited to announce the first meeting of the Marshall CWA Prayer/Action Chapter to be held on Thursday, January 21! 

No doubt you are as concerned about the many moral issues threatening our families and our nation today.  Most people want to respond and work to create a better nation for our children and grandchildren but are unsure of the steps to take. This meeting will help you discover how together we can make a difference in our community, as well as in our state and nation.

When: Thursday, January 21, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. (In case of inclement weather listen to KMHL radio 1400 AM for information.  Snow date is January 28 at 6:30 p.m.)

Where: Marshall Area Community Center at 107 S 4th St., Marshall, MN 56258

Bring: A friend. Women, men and teens are all welcome and encouraged to attend.

CWA Prayer/Action Chapter Leader: Arlene Markell

RSVP: Please contact Arlene at 507-530-1088 before January 19 if at all possible.

Arlene is excited to meet together with like-minded individuals like yourself to pray, be educated and take action on CWA’s seven core issues.

“Judeo-Christian values once served as the bedrock of Western Civilization. In recent times, Western Civilization has willingly chosen to exchange the faith and logic of a Biblical worldview for an irrational secularism based on an unthinking and cruel relativism. This foolish exchange is at the root of the glaring injustices of modern American public policy. Concerned Women for America affirms the Bible’s unmistakable standard that there is right and wrong, that God is the Authority who established right and wrong by creation and by revelation in His Word, the Bible, that He has sent a Savior Jesus Christ, to free us from our sin (wrong) by simple repentance and to enable us through the Holy Spirit to do what is right.

“Because the culture war that has engulfed our society makes claims on every area of life, we must set priorities thoughtfully to determine how best to fulfill our calling as believers to be salt and light in the community God has placed us.

“Please make plans now to attend our first meeting and be sure to invite a friend!  I look forward to meeting you!”

If you live in the area please do all you can to attend this kick-off meeting.  You will be glad you did.

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