Supreme Court Must Step in to Protect Americans' Freedom of Speech

Ohio Elections Commission Requires Residents to Register as a PAC Before Speaking on Campaigns

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) recently filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the free-speech rights of Edmund Corsi -- an ordinary Ohio citizen whom state officials have ruled should have registered with the State before blogging and printing fliers about political issues in his community. An internal conference of the justices is scheduled for September 30 to review Corsi's case.

"This matter could have been settled quickly if the Ohio Elections Commission had simply followed Supreme Court precedent," CCP President David Keating said. "But it chose to defy it, which gave us no choice but to take this fight to the nation's highest court. I think our Founding Fathers would be appalled if the justices fail to right this wrong."

Corsi started the Geauga Constitutional Council, a pseudonym for his blogging on local and national political issues and, occasionally, candidates. Three years ago, he authored a pamphlet that praised certain officeholders, some of whom were candidates for re-election, and denounced others. He distributed the pamphlet at the county fair.

After the head of the local Republican Party, who had been referred to unflatteringly on Corsi's blog, didn't like what Corsi had to say, he filed a complaint that landed at the Ohio Elections Commission. The Commission ruled that Corsi should have registered as a Political Action Committee if he wanted to speak out – a decision that defies Supreme Court precedent.

"The First Amendment to our Constitution protects all Americans' speech, including speech that discusses, and even criticizes, the government," said CCP Legal Director Allen Dickerson. "Edmund Corsi's battle raises a larger question: are we permitted to freely discuss the events of the day, or must we first register with the state?"

Corsi's case could become a landmark First Amendment case, with implications not just in Ohio but nationwide. CCP's legal team represents Edmund Corsi. The Supreme Court could accept the case this fall.

A backgrounder on the case can be found here.

For more information or to schedule an interview with David Keating or Allen Dickerson of the Center for Competitive Politics, please contact Kristen Thomaselli at 202-471-4228 ext. 101 or Email.

About the Center for Competitive Politics
The Center for Competitive Politics is one of the nation's premier centers of public interest litigation. It is the only public interest law firm with in-house litigation staff solely focused on the defense of First Amendment rights to free political speech, assembly and petition. CCP was co-counsel in SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission, which held that there can be no limits on contributions to independent expenditure committees. This case created what is now known as Super PACs. CCP's amicus brief was cited in the majority opinion in the Citizens United case. CCP's legal team represents two cases now pending at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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