SCOTUS Rules That NRA Can Pursue Legal Action Against Maria Vullo

SCOTUS Rules That NRA Can Pursue Legal Action Against Maria Vullo

( – The National Rifle Association scored a victory after the US Supreme Court ruled that it may proceed with a coercion claim against a government official in New York.

The case was brought after Maria Vullo, who previously served as superintendent for the Department of Financial Services in New York, urged the state’s insurance institutions to consider and evaluate the dangers of publicly supporting the NRA and other gun-promoting organizations. Her warning came shortly after her enforcement actions cost three insurance businesses who worked with the NRA over $13 million in fines.

The US Constitution prohibits law enforcement agencies from pressuring private organizations to cease business and collaborations with other private entities over their political affiliation. The $13 million in fines compounded the issue for Vullo even though they were charged over separate violations.

All Supreme Court justices, both conservatives and liberals, sided with the NRA’s right to pursue their case unanimously. Their ruling overturned a decision passed by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that excused Vullo’s warning as acceptable government speech.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted that officials cannot use their positions in government to coerce private entities for the purpose of punishing or suppressing private views that differ from their own. She also said it was plausible that Vullo violated that rule. Sotomayor did mention that government officials are free to criticize those they disagree with, but they cannot use their power to issue threats over private views.

The NRA’s legal team called the decision a “landmark victory.” They also accused Vullo of operating under the guidance of former governor Andrew Cuomo in violating the organization’s First Amendment rights during the incident in 2018. Bob Barr, the NRA’s current president, also called it a victory for freedom. Some of the nation’s most prolific First Amendment scholars joined the American Civil Liberties Union in defending the NRA.

The NRA was originally founded in New York but is now based in Virginia.

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