FOR THE RECORD
NRA Seeks Rehearing in Connection with Ruling that Dismissed Claims Against Former NYDFS Superintendent Maria Vullo
October 6, 2022 – The NRA today filed a petition with the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit seeking a rehearing en banc in connection with the court's recent decision to reverse holdings by the trial judge in the NRA’s First Amendment case against former New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) Superintendent Maria Vullo. In its September 23, 2022, ruling, the three Democratic appointees to the court dismissed the claims against Vullo individually.
The case stems from the 2018 “blacklisting campaign” against the NRA, in which, the NRA alleges, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Vullo attempted to coerce banks and other financial institutions from doing business with the NRA.
At the time, a host of legal experts and constitutional scholars, including the ACLU, sided with the NRA and recognized the harrowing implications of such actions. The ACLU wrote, “If Cuomo can do this to the NRA, then conservative governors could have their financial regulators threaten banks and financial institutions that do business with any other group whose political views the governor opposes. The First Amendment bars state officials from using their regulatory power to penalize groups merely because they promote disapproved ideas.”
Although the NRA’s claims against Cuomo are not encompassed by the September 2022 ruling, the decision will, the NRA believes, encourage exactly the corrupting effects scholars warned against.
“The Second Circuit’s decision regarding the NRA’s claims against Ms. Vullo misstates the facts, and offends the First Amendment,” says William A. Brewer III, counsel to NRA. “The Second Circuit’s Vullo opinion endorses a radical idea: that financial regulators can selectively punish businesses to advance ‘public policy,’ including ‘social issues’ such as gun control. This is a derogation of the First Amendment that should not prevail.”
In its filing today, the NRA states that the panel should not have proclaimed that a prohibition on viewpoint discrimination by government actors is "antithetical to a healthy representative democracy." The NRA argues that the "panel confuses the role of government officials as regulators with their role as speakers."
The filing states, "The Supreme Court has been clear that when exercising its regulatory power, 'the First Amendment forbids the government to regulate speech in ways that favor some viewpoints or ideas at the expense of others[.]'"