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News Clash

Highest Court Sides With NRA In First Amendment Rights Case… Bad News For Biden

This will DIRECTLY undermine the left's strategy to INDIRECTLY attack gun rights

Just like Joe ignored the Constitutional limits of his power and looked for ‘workarounds’ for erasing student debt or stifling ‘misinformation’ he was doing something similar with gun owners.

It’s no secret that Dems have been looking for every sneaky trick they can muster in order to choke off Second Amendment rights to please the donors who got them there in the first place.

Like Obama before him, Biden and his allies can push ahead with an agenda and dare people to take them to court to reverse those actions long after they have taken effect. If it worked with the DREAMers, it can work with other things, too.

And so it has. But eventually, the bill comes due. And in the instances where an elected official tramples the Constitution rights of a plaintiff, there IS no legal protection from a lawsuit.

That brings us to today’s SCOTUS ruling.

In National Rifle Association of America v. Vullo, the court ruled that allegations that the head of the NY Department of Financial Services violated the free speech rights of the NRA when she allegedly pressured entities that did business with the group to cut ties with the NRA “if true, state a First Amendment claim.” On remand, the court says, the 2nd Circuit “is free to reconsider whether Vullo is entitled to qualified immunity.” — SCOTUSBlog

Here’s a quick window into a summary of the complaint at the heart of the issue as outlined on pages 1 and 2 of the PDF copy of the ruling.

DFS regulates insurance companies and financial services institutions doing business in New York, and has the power to initiate investigations and civil enforcement actions, as well as to refer matters for criminal prosecution. The NRA contracted with DFS-regulated entities— affiliates of Lockton Companies, LLC (Lockton)—to administer insurance polices the NRA offered as a benefit to its members, which Chubb Limited (Chubb) and Lloyd’s of London (Lloyd’s) would then underwrite. In 2017, Vullo began investigating one of these affinity insurance policies—Carry Guard—on a tip passed along from a gun-control advocacy group. The investigation revealed that Carry Guard insured gun owners from intentional criminal acts in violation of New York law, and that the NRA promoted Carry Guard without the required insurance producer license. Lockton and Chubb subsequently suspended Carry Guard. Vullo then expanded her investigation into the NRA’s other affinity insurance programs.
On February 27, 2018, Vullo met with senior executives at Lloyd’s, expressed her views in favor of gun control, and told the Lloyd’s executives “that DFS was less interested in pursuing” infractions unrelated to any NRA business “so long as Lloyd’s ceased providing insurance to gun groups, especially the NRA.” App. to Pet. for Cert. at 199– 200, ¶21. Vullo and Lloyd’s struck a deal: Lloyd’s “would instruct its syndicates to cease underwriting firearm-related policies and would scale back its NRA-related business,” and “in exchange, DFS would focus its forthcoming affinity-insurance enforcement action solely on those syndicates which served the NRA.” Id., at 223, ¶69.

The Court agreed that when the State actively pressured insurance companies to end their business relationships with customers like the NRA, they violated the First Amendment rights of the NRA and its members… specifically citing viewpoint discrimination.

One day after the insurance company issued a public statement agreeing to act on the urging of the State to cut ties with the NRA and calling on other insurance companies to do the same, then-Governor Cuomo made a public statement defaming the NRA as an ‘extremist’ organization, and urged other companies to ‘revisit any ties they have to the NRA’.

The ruling was written by SOTOMAYOR, while Gorsuch and Jackson wrote concurring opinions.

The closing thoughts of the majority opinion read as follows:

[…]Ultimately, the critical takeaway is that the First Amendment prohibits government officials from wielding their power selectively to punish or suppress speech, directly or (as alleged here) through private intermediaries.
For the reasons discussed above, the Court holds that the NRA plausibly alleged that Vullo violated the First Amendment by coercing DFS-regulated entities to terminate their business relationships with the NRA in order to punish or suppress the NRA’s advocacy.
The judgment of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is vacated, and the case remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
7 —————— It is so ordered

The next step will be finding out whether this violation of the First Amendment invalidates personal immunity to lawsuit enjoyed by public officials.

If so, their own fat will be in the fire.

This SCOTUS ruling does not specifically name then-Governor Cuomo, but that may not mean he’s out of the woods just yet, either.

If Biden’s paying attention, it doesn’t take much imagination to see how this ruling would extend to their habit of pressuring private companies to label disfavored opinion as ‘disinformation’ as an excuse to silence it.

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