Supreme Court Sides With The NRA In Government Coercion Case

( — The National Rifle Association’s lawsuit against a former New York regulatory official can move forward following a unanimous decision by the US Supreme Court.

The NRA filed suit against former New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo, accusing her of violating its First Amendment rights when she was investigating insurance policies endorsed by the gun rights group.

The NRA was negotiating with insurance companies to provide Carry Guard policies for NRA members that covered losses due to firearms.

The NRA claimed that Vello was pressuring companies to blacklist the NRA after the 2018 Parkland school shooting in Florida.

The unanimous opinion written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor asserted that government officials are prohibited by the First Amendment from selectively wielding power “to punish or suppress speech.”

The ACLU represented the NRA before the Supreme Court.

NRA attorney William Brewer III said in a statement that the unanimous decision was “a landmark victory” both for the gun rights group and those “who care about our First Amendment freedom.”

The Court’s unanimous decision reverses the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling dismissing the lawsuit filed against Vullo and sends the case back to the lower courts for further proceedings.

However, Sotomayor noted that the high court did not rule on the merits of the case and its decision should not be interpreted as shielding the NRA or any advocacy group from regulations.

Instead, Sotomayor wrote that the allegations in the NRA’s complaint that the former official was using her authority to threaten those refusing to aid in her “campaign to punish the NRA” were plausible, and if the allegations were true, Sotomayor added, Vullo violated the First Amendment.

Vullo argued that while she did warn companies about the risk of doing business with the NRA, she denied exerting improper pressure. She claimed that many of the companies were already distancing themselves from the gun rights group.

Vullo also claimed that she was justified in investigating the NRA’s Carry Guard policies, which she argued violated New York law by including coverage for criminal defense costs and intentional acts.

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