Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. v. Village of Stratton
Campaign Finance Reform
This case involved a First Amendment challenge to a local ordinance requiring persons who wished to canvass door-to-door to get a permit and display it upon request by the police or person canvassed. The Jehovahs Witnesses claimed a right to canvass anonymously under the Courts 1995 decision in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission.
The Brennan Center and co-counsel Professor Richard Hasen submitted an amicus brief in support of neither party to the Supreme Court, urging adoption of an interpretation of McIntyre that recognizes only a very limited right to engage in anonymous electioneering one that does not undermine common campaign finance disclosure requirements.
The Courts June 2002 decision embraced the Centers narrow reading of the key precedent. The majority opinion expressly recognizes a special interest in protecting the electoral process, one that supports campaign finance disclosure requirements. See 536 U.S. 150 (2002).