NY & DC AGs v. NRA
Is There Any Remedy When You’re Censored?
The Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2024
Philip Hamburger, CEO of the New Civil Liberties Alliance and a teacher at Columbia Law School, writes in an editorial published by The Wall Street Journal that the U.S. Supreme Court has "three opportunities this term to give teeth to the First Amendment."
He writes, "In National Rifle Association v. Vullo, a New York state official took aim at gun advocacy by threatening regulatory hassle for bankers and insurers that continued to do business with the NRA. Recognizing the threat, they dumped the organization. Now that the official, Maria Vullo, is being sued, she claims that under the qualified-immunity doctrine, she can’t be ordered to pay damages." READ MORE.
Editorial: Inside New York State's Heedless Crusade Against the NRA
The American Conservative, February 12, 2024
The American Conservative publishes an editorial by James R. Lawrence, III, a partner at Envisage Law, writes that the "legal mechanism the New York attorney general is using to bludgeon the gun rights organization could be used on any objectionable civil society group, even churches."
Lawrence writes, "The NRA needs to regain the trust of its members and is taking important steps to do so. Nevertheless, this should not obscure nor justify the State of New York’s selective, politically-motivated prosecution." READ MORE
Editorial: NRA Win is Good for All Pro-Second Amendment Groups
AmmoLand, March 8, 2022
AmmoLand publishes an editorial that states that the "big loss Letitia James had this week is a decisive win for every pro-Second Amendment group in the United States, and Second Amendment supporters have the NRA to thank for their continued existence."
The editorial argues that, if the New York Attorney General had been able to dissolve the NRA, "anti-Second Amendment attorneys general would have had a blueprint to wipe out just about any pro-Second Amendment organization."
"What the Cuomo-James regime was trying to do was to degrade the ability of Second Amendment supporters to make their case to the American people, with an eye towards the eventual destruction of said ability," the editorial states. "After destroying the ability of Second Amendment supporters to make their case to the American people, what do you think would have happened to the Second Amendment? I’d suggest a look at Australia or the United Kingdom for likely end states." READ MORE
Editorial: New York State Attorney General Suffers Setback in Effort to Dissolve NRA
The New American, March 4, 2022
The New American publishes an editorial stating that "New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who called the National Rifle Association (NRA) a 'terrorist organization' with a 'poisonous agenda' during her election campaign in 2018, was rebuffed in her attempt to have the group dissolved altogether."
The editorial states, in a legal opinion, Justice Joel M. Cohen "accused James of massive overreach in her attempt to close down the NRA altogether over the alleged, and as-yet unproven, misbehavior on the part of the group's top officials." READ MORE
Editorial: A Much-Needed Victory for the NRA
New York Sun, March 4, 2022
The New York Sun's editorial board writes that the decision by a New York State judge to enjoin the New York Attorney General from dissolving the NRA is a welcomed move, as it "calls out the abuse of power that has marked New York's campaign against the NRA not only by Ms. James, but also by Governor Cuomo."
The editorial states, "Even if Ms. James allegations hold up, her proposed solution — dissolution of an exceptionally distinguished organization whose history dates back to 1871 — hardly seems apt. The NRA, Judge Cohen notes, 'is a prominent advocacy organization that represents the interests of millions of members.' Quoth the judge: 'The State-sponsored dissolution of such an entity is not something to be taken lightly or without a compelling need.'" READ MOR
Editorial: Don't Dissolve NRA: State AG's Effort to Disband Gun-Rights Group is an Overreach
December 16, 2021
The NNY 360 Editorial Board writes that a state court judge was right to question why the New York Attorney General is seeking to dissolve the NRA. The editorial notes that, during a hearing on December 10, Judge Joel M. Cohen pressed this issue with the attorney general's office.
The publication writes that "[t]he organization has a constitutional right to advocate its positions on firearms, no matter how much others oppose them. James should exercise prudence on this matter. If she continues pushing to disband the NRA, she’ll resemble someone using government power to crush the First Amendment rights of constituents. It’s unacceptable to have state officials who advocate such behavior." READ MORE
Editorial: False NRA Fraud Charges Leveled by Democrats Show the Left is Desperate, and Deluded
NBC News Editorial
July 21, 2021
David Coy, chairman of the NRA Finance Committee, authors an editorial that contends that a recent bankruptcy case demonstrated that the NRA is going strong and making improvements, undermining the New York Attorney General's case against it.
Coy writes, "James’ case is based on the premise that the NRA does not operate in compliance with New York laws for operating nonprofits and is not committed to good governance. But the testimony at the bankruptcy trial and Hale’s opinion makes it clear that the opposite is true.... Apparently, so compelling was the evidence in the view of Hale that he specifically referred to the NRA’s 'course correction' and commended it for elevating one of those whistleblowers — whom the court called a 'champion of compliance' — to chief financial officer (and who has been elected by the board as treasurer)."
Coy closes by stating that the NRA will emerge from its dispute with the New York Attorney General "bigger, stronger and more determined than ever to accomplish its mission." READ MORE
ACLU: The NRA Has a Right to Exist
The Wall Street Journal
August 25, 2020
In a commentary published by The Wall Street Journal, ACLU National Legal Director David Cole writes:
The American Civil Liberties Union rarely finds itself on the same side as the National Rifle Association in policy debates or political disputes. Still, we are disturbed by New York Attorney General Letitia James’s recent effort to dissolve the NRA.
Ms. James’s office charges that NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and other officials misdirected millions of the organization’s charitable funds for their personal use. But the attorney general’s complaint doesn’t stop there. It attempts to dissolve the NRA altogether, thereby penalizing the entire organization for the wrongs of some of its leaders.
The NRA isn’t popular with New York’s politicians. Ms. James has called it a “terrorist organization.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo had his chief financial regulator urge New York banks and insurers to reconsider doing business with the NRA and other “gun promotion” groups, and proclaimed in a campaign mailer that “If the NRA goes bankrupt, I will remember them in my thoughts and prayers.”
You may have your own opinions about the NRA, but all Americans should be concerned about this sort of overreach. If the New York attorney general can do this to the NRA, why couldn’t the attorney general of a red state take similar action against the ACLU, the AFL-CIO, Common Cause, or Everytown for Gun Safety? READ MORE
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge: Guns, the NRA and the Second Amendment are Under Assault from the Left
August 21, 2020
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a commentary condemning the lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James against the NRA.
Rutledge writes, “Just three months before a presidential election, New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed suit against the NRA and several members of its leadership, seeking to have the gun rights organization dissolved. This lawsuit, filed in New York state court, is the apex of a longstanding feud between the NRA and the Democratic state attorney general. James attacked the NRA while she was a candidate for attorney general, calling it a 'terrorist organization' and a 'criminal enterprise.'”
She continues, “…like any good defender of freedom, the NRA is fighting back. The same day New York filed its state suit, the NRA filed its own lawsuit in federal court, pointing to then-candidate James’ campaign promise to 'take on the NRA' if elected. The NRA claims that James’ lawsuit is nothing more than a politically motivated stunt to deliver on that promise — not a response to any real fraud.” READ MORE
Editorial: The Attempt to Dissolve the NRA Threatens Democratic Norms
August 11, 2020
Alan Z. Rozenshtein, an associate professor of law the University of Minnesota Law School, writes that, while the NRA is "one of the most controversial and polarizing organizations in U.S. politics," it would be a "mistake to celebrate the [NYAG's] lawsuit." He contends that NYAG Letitia James' "attempt to dissolve the NRA in its entirety is a violation of key democratic and rule-of-law norms and should be troubling to people who value these norms no matter one’s place on the political spectrum."
Rozenshtein writes that the NYAG's suit threatens two distinct norms: 1) that the state should preserve, to the extent possible, the free exchange of ideas and an open political arena; and 2) that of "impartial justice: officials should not use their powers to go after targets simply because they disagree with their politics."
Rozenshtein argues that James should seek reform, not dissolution, arguing that there is no precedent for such action.
"It’s easy to support good-government norms when they align with one’s political preferences. That’s just cheap talk. The trick is to support them when it’s hard, when you have to make a political sacrifice to do so," Rozenshtein writes. READ MORE
Editorial: Letitia James’ Political Pot-Shots at the NRA
New York Post
August 10, 2020
The New York Post Editorial Board writes, "There she goes again: Attorney General Tish James last week filed another dubious lawsuit, this one seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association. We’ve had differences with the pro-gun group over the years, but James’ attempt to crush it is clearly a political stunt. She’s hoping it will make her a star on the left and lead to favorable headlines for years to come as the suit winds its way through the legal system." READ MORE
Editorial: An Affront to Civil Society
August 10, 2020
Howard Husock, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor of City Journal writes, "Every charitable organization in the United States should be alarmed about New York State Attorney General Letitia James’s legal action to dissolve the National Rifle Association—including groups that oppose gun rights and would repeal the Second Amendment, as well as those whose missions have nothing to do with guns.
"That concern has nothing to do with whether the charges James has levied against the NRA leadership are true. If NRA president Wayne LaPierre has misappropriated organization funds for personal use, a legal penalty may well be deserved, and he should be fired. But the penalty proposed by James—dissolution of the NRA—is alarming. A single state government would be acting not only against alleged misappropriation of funds but also an entire political constituency." READ MORE
Editorial: NY Tries To ‘Dissolve’ The NRA: Far Left’s War Against The Constitution Never Ends
Issues & Insights
August 7, 2020
The I&I Editorial Board writes, "Whenever the far left loses a debate, it doesn’t sharpen its arguments or seek compromise. Instead, it criminalizes those with whom it disagrees. That’s happening now in New York, where the attorney general is making a politicized attack on the National Rifle Association and the U.S. Constitution." READ MORE
Turley: The Tragic Irony of the New York State Lawsuit Against the NRA
August 8, 2020
Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, writes, "It is a good thing that Ambrose Burnside is not alive to see this. New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a 169-page complaint seeking, among other things, the dissolution of the National Rifle Association. For the hapless Burnside, it is one final indignity.
"Widely ridiculed as an unimaginative Union commander during the Civil War, Burnside has only two lasting legacies. First, his facial hair was so prominent that others started to sport “Burnsides” (or, as they were later known, sideburns). Second, he was the NRA’s first president in 1871. Now, James wants to leave him literally with just his whiskers." READ MORE
Opinion: New York’s Attorney General Shouldn’t Dismantle the NRA
August 6, 2020
Bloomberg Opinion columnist Noah Feldman writes, "The attorney general of New York has sued to seek the dissolution of the National Rifle Association, alleging fraud and abuse in the way the NRA’s chief executive and other officials ran the operation. Given that the NRA has played such a powerfully destructive role in U.S. politics, fighting against gun regulations that demonstrably save lives, it’s tempting to react with applause.
"Yet even liberals who oppose the NRA’s mission should take a deep breath and ask: Do we really want an elected attorney general to try to destroy a prominent nongovernmental organization that is arrayed on the other side of the political spectrum from her? What if this were Alabama and the organization were the NAACP? Or Tennessee and the ACLU?" READ MORE
Editorial: The NRA's Fight in New York Is For All Americans
The New York Sun
August 6, 2020
The New York Sun Editorial Board writes, "The thing to keep in mind during the legal war launched today between New York State and the National Rifle Association is that the Second Amendment does not exist in New York City and state. It has been blocked at every level by state and local authorities. In New York, there is no right to — in the plain language of the Constitution — keep and bear arms. The right has been denied as a matter of policy for decades." READ MORE