Split 6-3, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected snooping by California through the identities of donors to conservative nonprofit groups, including one located in Michigan. In the case Americans for Prosperity v. Bonta, nonprofit groups were in the fight of a lifetime. Bureaucrats in the state of California took it upon themselves to start requiring non-profit organizations to disclose the names of donors who give more than $5,000. If the non-profit refused to comply, their non-profit status was rejected. Obviously, this did not sit well with non-profits on the right or the left. Why should their donors be forced to give up their anonymity?
The problem was compounded when California started requiring these disclosures from non-profits based out of other states. Overreach by California and other Leftist states is a growing problem, as they try to export their tyranny to the Midwest and other red states. California Democrats have no business sticking their noses into organizations headquartered elsewhere. The Supreme Court was right to rebuke these California busybodies.
The internet has created new ways to harass people for merely exercising their First Amendment rights to speak out or donate. California’s overreach was too much for even Chief Justice Roberts, who held for conservatives in Americans for Prosperity v. Bonta, despite last year allowing California to shut down churches.
He wrote that, “It is hardly a novel perception that compelled disclosure of affiliation with groups engaged in advocacy may constitute as effective a restraint on freedom of association as other forms of governmental action.” Roberts also quoted an earlier NAACP case on a similar point. Yet many liberals today seek to infringe on First Amendment rights that were upheld in the famous NAACP case.
On a practical level, Americans for Prosperity v. Bonta is a constitutionally sound ruling in favor of the right to express oneself anonymously. On a more academic level, this is a case study in effective separation of powers. California does not have the right to infringe on the authority of other states. They can institute as many travel bans as they want, but their authority to implement far-left policies ends at the state line.