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NRA V. CUOMO, VULLO

NEWS REPORTS

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Supreme Court Clears Way for N.R.A. to Pursue First Amendment Challenge
The New York Times, May 30, 2024

The Supreme Court sided with the National Rifle Association on Thursday, finding that the group could pursue a First Amendment claim against a New York state official who had encouraged companies to stop doing business with it after the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla. 
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing for a unanimous court, found that the N.R.A. had plausibly claimed a violation of the First Amendment, reversing an appeals court decision and sending the case back for further proceedings. Although a government official is allowed to “share her views freely and criticize particular beliefs,” she wrote, that official may not “use the power of the state to punish or suppress disfavored expression.” READ MORE
 
Supreme Court Unanimously Rules for NRA in Free Speech Fight
The Hill, May 30, 2024

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that the National Rifle Association (NRA) can move forward in its free speech fight against a former New York regulator.

Authored by liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the ruling revives the gun-rights group’s First Amendment claim against Maria Vullo, who formerly ran the New York Department of Financial Services. READ MORE

 
Justices Seem Likely to Side With N.R.A. in First Amendment Dispute
The New York Times, March 18, 2024

A majority of the Supreme Court appeared on Monday to embrace arguments by the National Rifle Association that a New York State official violated the First Amendment by trying to dissuade companies from doing business with it after a deadly school shooting. READ MORE

 
Supreme Court to Hear First Amendment Challenge to New York's Financial 'Blacklisting' of NRA
Fox News, March 18, 2024

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Monday in a key First Amendment case brought by the National Rifle Association (NRA) that has linked unlikely bedfellows together to challenge a government official’s action they say trampled on their First Amendment rights. 

Before the high court is the case National Rifle Association of America v. Vullo, which questions whether a government regulator threatens regulated entities with adverse regulatory actions if they do business with a controversial speaker, allegedly because of the government's own hostility to the speaker's viewpoint, violates the First Amendment. READ MORE

 
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
Law360
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'
Law360
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
Law360
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.

READ MORE

NRA Seeks to Block New York’s ‘Political’ Enforcement Over Liability Insurance Programs
Insurance Journal
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’
Bloomberg
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

NRA Could Obtain Internal State Documents in Lawsuit Against Cuomo, DFS After US Judge's Review
New York Law Journal
August 9, 2019
A series of documents that state officials from New York have wanted to withhold from the National Rifle Association in its lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a state agency will be reviewed by a federal judge in the coming weeks and could ultimately be disclosed to the gun lobby group.
 
A federal judge in Albany ordered attorneys for the state, in a new decision, to submit those documents to him for review, along with a detailed log on why they should remain privileged. 
 
Attorneys for the National Rifle Association are calling the decision a positive development in their litigation against Cuomo and the state. READ MORE
NRA Allowed to Depose Former DFS Superintendent Vullo in Lawsuit Against NY
The New York Law Journal
March 20, 2019
The National Rifle Association will be allowed to depose former New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo in the group’s lawsuit against the state over what it has argued was a violation of its free speech rights and selective enforcement of the state’s insurance regulations. READ MORE
Federal Judge Allows NRA Lawsuit Against NY to Continue on First Amendment Claims
The New York Law Journal
November 6, 2018
U.S. District Judge Thomas McAvoy of the Northern District of New York said in a lengthy decision that the NRA’s claims that actions by Cuomo and Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo stifled its free speech rights were sufficient enough to be evaluated at trial. READ MORE
State Moves to Dismiss NRA Lawsuit
Albany Times Union
September 10, 2018
The National Rifle Association made its case in federal court on Monday to move ahead with its lawsuit against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the state Department of Financial Services.  READ MORE
NRA Argues Discovery Could Show State Coerced Companies to Cut Ties
The New York Law Journal
September 10, 2018
An assistant attorney general said the NRA is attempting through the lawsuit “to stifle Governor Cuomo and Superintendent Vullo’s political and government speech.” READ MORE
NRA Calls State's Argument in Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit a 'Red Herring'
The New York Law Journal
August 27, 2018
The National Rifle Association, in a new filing late Aug. 24, said the state’s argument in a motion to dismiss the gun lobby’s lawsuit this month is a “red herring” and urged a federal judge to reject the motion.  READ MORE
ACLU Supports NRA's Free-Speech Argument in Suit Against Cuomo Administration
The New York Law Journal
August 24, 2018
In a proposed filing with U.S. District Judge Christian Hummel of the Northern District of New York, the ACLU said the gun lobby’s lawsuit against the state should continue because it addresses the free speech rights of the association. READ MORE
The N.R.A. Has Declared War on Andrew Cuomo. He Couldn't Be Happier.
The New York Times
August 9, 2018
When the NRA brought its Carry Guard insurance program to New York in April of last year, it marketed it as the solution to a pressing concern among its loyal followers, a protection against legal fees that could arise from firing a weapon in self-defense. That solution has now become a new problem: It is the latest fodder in Gov. Cuomo's long-running clash with the NRA, as he seeks to ban Carry Guard across the nation. READ MORE
NRA Sues New York After Insurance Crackdown
The Wall Street Journal
May 11, 2018
The National Rifle Association on Friday sued New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and financial regulators, accusing the state of an unconstitutional “political blacklisting campaign” to stop banks and insurers from doing business with the group. READ MORE
New York Governor Presses Banks, Insurers to Weigh Risk of NRA Ties
Reuters
April 19, 2018
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday ramped up pressure on banks and insurers to revisit whether their ties to the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups harm their reputations and the public interest. READ MORE
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