NRA Wins Key First Amendment Case in Supreme Court Decision

( – In a rare show of universal agreement, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in a case where the NRA alleged that its First Amendment rights were violated when the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) forced entities it regulates to terminate their relationships with the pro-gun organization.

Liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor penned the decision of the high court, explaining that NRA’s claims against the NYDFS, particularly its then-superintendent, Maria T. Vullo, were “plausible.”

Writing on behalf of the high court, Sotomayor said that government officials have no business “coercing private parties in order to punish or suppress views” that run contrary to their own.

The SC’s decision also vacates an earlier ruling by an appeals court that sided with the NYDFS.

The NRA sued the NYDFS in 2018, with the former claiming that the latter blacklisted them and coerced entities it regulated to stop doing business with them. The suit alleged that Vullo, who served as the NYDFS’ superintendent from 2016 to 2019, did so under the orders of then-New York governor Andrew Cuomo. As a result of the blacklisting, the NRA said that it lost relationships with banks and insurers it was working with in the past.

Furthermore, the NRA claimed that Vullo made “backroom threats” and promised firms that the NYDFS would be more lenient with them – along with sending them “guidance letters” strongly encouraging the firms to terminate their business with the NRA and other pro-Second Amendment organizations. The supposed coercion occurred following the deadly school shooting incident in Parkland, Florida, at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which claimed the lives of 17 people.

In the SC’s decision, Sotomayor said that Vullo, an ardent anti-gun activist, was free to harbor anti-gun views and opinions, as well as criticize the NRA, as head of the NYDFS. However, she crossed the line when she used her position to threaten companies the agency regulates in an attempt to “punish or suppress the NRA’s gun-promotion advocacy.”

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