Doe v. Reed
|Doe v. Reed|
|Argued April 28, 2010
Decided June 24, 2010
|Full case name||Doe et al v. Reed, Washington Secretary of State, et al.|
|Citations||561 U.S. ___ (more)|
|Disclosure of referendum petitions does not as a general matter violate the First Amendment.|
|Majority||Roberts, joined by Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor|
|Concurrence||Stevens (in part, and in judgment), joined by Breyer|
|Concurrence||Scalia (in judgment)|
|Concurrence||Breyer (in judgment)|
|Concurrence||Alito (in part)|
|Concurrence||Sotomayor, joined by Stevens, Ginsburg|
|U.S. Const. amend. I|
Doe v. Reed, 130 S. Ct. 2811 (2010), is a United States Supreme Court case which holds that the disclosure of signatures on a referendum does not violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The Washington State Constitution contains provisions for a referendum system whereby citizens resident in the state may challenge state law. For a challenge to be added to the ballot, a petition must be submitted to the Secretary of State of Washington containing the signatures of registered voters equivalent to 4% of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election. For a signature to be considered valid, the signor must not only be a registered voter but also provide his address as well as the county in which he was registered to vote.
Following a proposed bill to extend the rights afforded to those in domestic partnerships (so that they would be looked upon by the law as if they were married) in Washington, Protect Marriage Washington, an anti-gay marriage group, led a campaign to have the proposal brought forth as a referendum. This effort succeeded, however the referendum narrowly came out in favour of the bill to expand the rights afforded to those in a domestic partnership. Subsequent to this, a number of individuals requested the signature lists used to bring the question to referendum, as these were historically considered matters of public record relating to the passage of legislation. Protect Marriage Washington filed to block the release of these signatures "due to the highly charged nature of the topic." The issue was moved to the Supreme Court when Anthony Kennedy issued a temporary injunction barring the release of the signatures on October 19, 2009. The arguments were heard on April 28, 2010, with the June 24, 2010 decision seeing the constitutionality of the Public Records Act under which the request for signatures had been made in an 8-1 decision, with Thomas dissenting.
The court found, with only Clarence Thomas dissenting, that the law in Washington state allowing for public disclosure of petition signatures for ballot initiatives was not an infringement on First Amendment rights because citizens, in signing the petition, were exercising their right to legislate, a process which is generally not protected by secrecy.
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- McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission
- List of United States Supreme Court cases, volume 561