NRA V. CUOMO, VULLO
Biden Administration More Friend Than Foe to NRA in Supreme Court Case
The National Law Journal, February 22, 2024
The Biden administration is formally supporting “neither party” in an upcoming Supreme Court case about whether New York’s former head financial regulator violated the free-speech rights of the National Rifle Association.
The justices are set to hear next month the NRA’s claims that Maria Vullo, the former superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services, embarked on an unconstitutional campaign of intimidation to get banks and insurance companies to cut ties with the gun rights group after a 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
Despite being nominally neutral in the case, the U.S. solicitor general’s office has made clear that it thinks the NRA has “plausibly” alleged that some of Vullo’s conduct as New York’s top financial regulator indeed crossed the line of the First Amendment. READ MORE
NRA Sees Outpouring of Support in SCOTUS Case Charging Blue State Regulator with 'Blacklisting'
Fox News Digital, January 18, 2024
Dozens upon dozens of political leaders, lawmakers, scholars and organizations have filed or joined amicus briefs at the Supreme Court in support of the National Rifle Association’s First Amendment lawsuit against a former New York state regulator accused of weaponizing her office to silence the civil rights organization, Fox News Digital has learned.
"This support from organizations and scholars across the political divide validates the NRA’s position: New York government officials violated the First Amendment when they weaponized the powers of their office to silence a perceived political enemy. As evidenced in the chorus of voices that emerged, this case is important to not only the NRA but to all who engage in public advocacy," NRA counsel William A. Brewer III told Fox News Digital on Wednesday.
A total of 190 individuals and organizations have filed 22 amicus briefs, also known as "friend of the court" briefs, in support of the NRA’s legal battle against former New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo, who served under disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration. READ MORE
The A.C.L.U. Has a New Client: The National Rifle Association
The New York Times, December 9, 2023
The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association agree about very little. They are often on opposite sides in major cases, and they certainly have starkly different views about gun rights.
But when the Supreme Court agreed to hear the N.R.A.’s free-speech challenge to what it said were a New York official’s efforts to blacklist it, one of its lawyers had a bold idea. Why not ask the A.C.L.U. to represent it before the justices?
“The N.R.A. might be thought of as the 800-pound gorilla on the Second Amendment,” said the lawyer, William A. Brewer III. “Clearly, the A.C.L.U. is the 800-pound gorilla on the First Amendment.”
David Cole, the civil liberties group’s national legal director, said the request in one sense posed a hard question.
“It’s never easy to defend those with whom you disagree,” he said. “But the A.C.L.U. has long stood for the proposition that we may disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.” READ MORE
Montana’s AG Explains Why NRA v. Vullo is a Critical Supreme Court Case
America's 1st Freedom
December 1, 2023
When the NRA petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to accept the case NRA v. Vullo, a case in which the state of New York clearly trampled on the First Amendment rights of the NRA, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R) gathered 17 other states’ attorneys general together to write and submit a friend-of-the-court brief (otherwise known as an amicus brief) to the high court. The Supreme Court subsequently accepted the case.
“Government should not be able to come in and act like the mafia,” says Attorney General Knudsen in a video interview. “And that’s really what this was. I mean you had Maria Vullo come in and act like a mobster and basically threaten companies for doing business with the NRA, and it wasn’t overt …. She never made any direct threats, but it was like a Tony Soprano situation. You know, ‘boy, that’s a nice business you have. It would be an awful shame if anything were to happen to it!’” WATCH THE VIDEO
18 States Want High Court To Take NRA Blacklisting Suit
April 6, 2023
Montana and 17 other states are lining up behind the National Rifle Association at the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the justices to take up the gun group's appeal arguing that a probe into NRA-affiliated insurers and statements from a former New York official about the reputational harm of associating with the group violated its constitutional rights.
The states filed their amicus brief Wednesday, imploring the court to grant the NRA a writ of certiorari and correct a Second Circuit decision that they say "departed from [the Supreme Court's] clear instruction and gave state officials license to target and crackdown on their political opponents' protected speech."
"Not only did the Second Circuit depart from this court's precedent in [Bantam Books Inc. v. Sullivan ], but it also departed from its own prior precedent and the precedent of six federal circuits," the states said. "That split is direct and — without this court's intervention — irreconcilable." READ MORE
NRA Files Cert Petition, Saying Former NY Insurance Regulator Violated Free Speech Rights
New York Law Journal
February 8, 2023
The National Rifle Association on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider its suit against former New York Department of Financial Services superintendent Maria Vullo, whom the gun-rights advocacy group accused of threatening insurers because they did business with the NRA.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in Vullo’s favor in September, finding that she “was merely carrying out her regulatory responsibilities” when she investigated insurance companies that had partnered with the NRA. The appellate court denied the NRA’s request for rehearing en banc in November.
The NRA’s counsel William Brewer III of Brewer Attorneys & Counselors signed the petition for a writ of certiorari alongside First Amendment scholar and law professor Eugene Volokh. Together they argued that the Second Circuit effectively “ratifie[d] Superintendent Vullo’s violation of the NRA’s First Amendment rights” in its ruling. READ MORE
NRA Asks Justices To Review NY Regulator's 'Blacklisting'
February 8, 2023
The National Rifle Association has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to correct a lower court's ruling that statements by a former New York financial regulator warning businesses about "reputational risks" from working with the NRA didn't violate the advocacy group's constitutional rights.
In a petition for writ of certiorari filed Tuesday, the NRA argued the decision gives government officials "free rein to financially blacklist" political opponents and urged the justices to overturn a Second Circuit panel's determination that former New York Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo's warning wasn't a "veiled threat" to state-regulated banks and insurers that led several to cut ties with the gun advocacy group. READ MORE
NRA Seeks 2nd Circ. Rehearing In Free Speech Dispute
October 11, 2022
The National Rifle Association asked a Second Circuit panel for a rehearing after the court found that an investigation into insurers partnered with the NRA and statements by a former New York official advising NRA-affiliated businesses to assess their reputational risks did not violate the gun advocacy group's constitutional rights.
The NRA filed a petition Thursday for rehearing en banc, asserting that the panel that overturned its free speech win ignored "clearly-established law that selective enforcement regimes violate the First Amendment." READ MORE
Federal Judge Orders NY State Officials to Produce Documents in NRA Lawsuit
The New York Law Journal
April 1, 2020
A federal judge granted an appeal from the National Rifle Association Tuesday, ordering that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York Department of Financial Services must produce documents in a lawsuit by the gun-rights group against state officials.
The documents will be reviewed in camera by U.S. Magistrate Judge Christian Hummel and an appointed special master, Senior District Judge Thomas McAvoy of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York decided.
NRA Seeks to Block New York’s ‘Political’ Enforcement Over Liability Insurance Programs
March 2, 2020
The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) is seeking a preliminary injunction in federal court in an attempt to stop the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) from conducting enforcement proceedings against the association.READ MORE
NRA Secures New Documents in Bid to Revive Selective Enforcement Claims Against NY Officials
New York Law Journal
December 23, 2019
The National Rifle Association says it’s obtained new information that proves state officials in New York acted deliberately, and unlawfully, to strangle the gun lobby group of its financial resources because of its positions on gun control measures.
New documents obtained by the NRA show the state singled out its insurance products for sanctions while ignoring other policies with similar violations, the group’s attorneys said.
Evidence from those documents was included in a new version of the NRA’s lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state Department of Financial Services, and Maria Vullo, the former superintendent of that agency. The lawsuit was initially brought last year. READ MORE
NRA Says New York Probe Goes Beyond So-Called ‘Murder Insurance’
November 26, 2019
New York’s financial regulator is probing another company that the National Rifle Association says offers insurance products to its members, potentially bolstering a claim by the gun rights group that the state is unfairly going after its corporate affiliates.
AGIA Affinity, a broker and marketer of insurance products for groups with more than 30 million members, is being investigated by New York’s Department of Financial Services, a person with knowledge of the matter said. The probe focuses on AGIA’s health, accident and life insurance products, regardless of the group they’re tied to, the person said. READ MORE