When Defendants’ statements and alleged conduct is examined in its totality, there are sufficient allegations to state plausible freedom-of-speech claims.
Thomas J. McAvoy
Senior United States District Judge
United States District Court Northern District of New York
November 6, 2018
NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
ANDREW CUOMO, both individually and in his official capacity; MARIA T. VULLO, both individually and in her official capacity; and THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICES, Defendants.
[The case is about the defendants putting pressure on the insurance and banking industry to not do business with the NRA. Reading the entire ruling it’s interesting to see how it boiled down to, so far, mostly, a freedom of speech issue. It is also an example of Ayn Rand’s observation about laws being needed to create criminals. It turns out that the insurance companies violated a law which was only enforced in the case where the NRA was their customer.
See also Jacob Sullum blog post:
Federal Judge Says It’s Plausible That Andrew Cuomo Violated the First Amendment by Pressuring Banks and Insurers to Shun the NRA
The organization’s lawsuit against New York’s governor survives a motion to dismiss.
As I explained in my column today, and as McAvoy describes in his decision, there is strong evidence that Cuomo and Maria Vullo, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), are in fact threatening banks and insurers that dare to do business with organizations that oppose the governor’s gun control agenda.
The bottom line is that case survived a motion to dismiss and will proceed. I wish the NRA the best of luck and I have pleasant fantasies of Governor Cuomo having to pay the damages out of his own pocket.—Joe]
I wouldn’t complain one iota were said damages traded for 18-241/242 convictions and hefty prison sentences…for both of them.
If it’s a First Amendment violation, then it seems to me that Cuomo & Co actually conspired under color of law to deprive an organization of its Constitutional rights. Not that we’ll see that one stick…..
The conspiracy part of the lawsuit was dismissed for lack of evidence. I’d have to reread it but I think the judge said the NRA can amend that part of the complaint if they find evidence later.
I’m looking forward to discovery.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and state that Cuomo did not PERSONALLY take these actions…he most assuredly ordered some members of his staff to actually make the calls and write the documents.
If ‘ignorance of the law is no defense’, then ipso facto there was a conspiracy. “I was just following orders” didn’t work at Nuremberg, and “I didn’t know this was a 1A violation, I was just doing what my boss told me to” shouldn’t work here.
It seems a bit harsh to sweep up some (arguably) ignorant* underlings, but that’s the entire concept of ‘rule of law’…that no one is exempt.
*I use ‘ignorant’ in the proper sense here, meaning ‘lacking knowledge’, not as a derogatory term.