CFIF shall post relevant legal and related documents, as they become available.

CFIF expects a rapid series of legal actions throughout the day on November 2 as we attempt to preserve the First Amendment rights...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 2, 2007

Pennsylvania Secretary of State and AG Sue to Chill CFIF's First Amendment Rights, Flouting Federal Court Agreement

ALEXANDRIA, VA — On Thursday, November 1, Pedro Cortes, the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, announced that he would seek an injunction in state court to stop the Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) from running its television ad in Pennsylvania. 

This morning, the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the State Attorney General (AG) filed a lawsuit seeking to silence CFIF's speech and remove the ad from the air.  Earlier this year, a federal district court, with the agreement of the State AG, issued a declaration acknowledging the constitutional right of CFIF to air issue ads that don't expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate for office.  The Secretary of the Commonwealth, who was originally a defendant in that action, agreed to the results reached by the AG and is bound by that agreement.  CFIF believes that the lawsuit filed today by the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the State AG directly contravenes that agreement. 

CFIF's advertisement is in full compliance with PA law and the agreement CFIF reached with the AG in the federal lawsuit the organization initiated to seek an interpretation of the law prior to commencing protected free speech activity in Pennsylvania.  As a constitutional advocacy organization, CFIF will not bow to and will vigorously defend against all efforts to chill the organization's First Amendment rights.

The situation was summed up by Tom Kirby, a partner with the law firm Wiley Rein LLP and CFIF's counsel on the matter:

"Last August the Center for Individual Freedom sued Pennsylvania's Attorney General and Commonwealth Secretary under the First Amendment to obtain bright line guidance as to what speech is permitted by Pennsylvania law," said Kirby.  "With the consent of the Attorney General, the federal court declared that Pennsylvania law only restricts speech that contains explicit words such as 'vote for' or 'elect' that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate.  The Commonwealth Secretary is violating that federal court judgment, blurring the bright line it established and seeking to regulate an ad that contains no explicit or express advocacy at all, but merely asks viewers to sign a petition thanking a judge for being tough on crime," Kirby continued.

"In light of this violation, we have filed a motion with the federal court requesting that it correct the situation," Kirby concluded.

CFIF expects a rapid series of legal actions throughout the day on November 2 as we attempt to preserve the First Amendment rights acknowledged in the stipulated judgment agreed to in August.

Due to perplexing charges, political grandstanding and inaccurate media reporting, CFIF will speak only in the courts and through our counsel as we seek to defend our rights. 

CFIF shall post relevant legal and related documents, including those already posted below, as they become available.



[Posted November 2, 2007
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