Free Speech Under Attack
If we are to remain a free people, we need the foundation of the First Amendment. Free Speech guarantees every individual the freedom to express private opinions and beliefs publicly. Without public discourse and the freedom of associations, we will lose the greatest gift from our founding fathers.
Pillar of Law Institute Wins Preliminary Injunction in Colorado “Ballot Selfie” Case
DENVER, CO – The Pillar of Law Institute won a preliminary injunction this evening against the enforcement of a Colorado law against “ballot selfies,” photographs of one’s own marked ballot usually displayed on social media.
“This is a big victory for Coloradoans, allowing them to unquestionably express their support for candidates and causes in this election,” said Stephen Klein, Pillar attorney and co-counsel in the case. “Today, free speech won.”
The order, issued by Judge Christine M. Arguello of the United States Court for the District of Colorado, followed a hearing over two days in which Pillar’s case, Hill v. Williams, was consolidated with another case, Harlos v. Morrissey. The lawsuits were brought in response to a stern declaration late last week from the Denver District Attorney warning that ballot selfies are illegal in Colorado and punishable as a misdemeanor.
“Law enforcement—including the Denver District Attorney, the Colorado Attorney General, and the Colorado Secretary of State—made every effort to disown the law after warning citizens against ballot selfies or otherwise exposing their ballots,” said Klein. “Thankfully, this ploy did not hold up. This injunction protects Colorado voters from a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail simply for celebrating their right to vote.”
Klein joined co-counsel Michael Francisco of MRDLaw in Denver, who guided the case, and co-counsel Daniel Domenico of Kittredge LLC. The case will continue to a final judgment on the merits after election day next week.
The Pillar of Law Institute is a nonprofit public interest law firm. Located in Washington, DC, Pillar represents citizens nationwide against unconstitutional censorship of political speech. This is Pillar’s second ballot selfie case; it recently secured a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit in Michigan, Crookston v. Johnson, which was stayed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 28 due to timing issues.
Attorney, Pillar of Law Institute