Nat'l Org. For Marriage v. Adam, No. 10-2049 (1st Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
National Organization for Marriage challenged the constitutionality of Maine election laws (Me.Rev.Stat. title 21A sec. 1052) as overbroad under the First Amendment and so vague in its terms, particularly with respect to the phrase "for the purpose of influencing," as to violate due process. The laws govern registration of political action committees and reporting of independent expenditures. The district court upheld the law. The First Circuit affirmed, first holding that the organization had standing. The record showed that its fears were objectively reasonable and led to self-censorship. With respect to the overbreadth claim, the court rejected an argument based on the distinction between issue discussion and express advocacy, characterizing the distinction as irrelevant and applying the "exacting scrutiny" standard because the law does not prohibit, limit, or impose any onerous burdens on speech, but merely requires maintenance and disclosure of certain financial information. There is a "substantial relation" between Maine's informational interest and each of the laws at issue. The terms "promoting," "support," "opposition," "influencing," "expressly advocate" and "initiation" are sufficiently clear.