The U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether to hear Protectmarriage.com-Yes on 8 v Padilla, 14-434, on February 20. There is a significant chance the court will hear the case, because after California officials had initially declined to file a response brief, the Court asked for a state response.
The issue is whether the contributors to the 2008 initiative in California concerning same-sex marriage deserve privacy, given evidence that when the names of donors were made public, they were subject to harassment. The proponents of the initiative, which banned same-sex marriage, say in many cases their contributors were treated as badly as members of the Socialist Workers Party had been in the 1960’s and 1970’s. In 1982 the U.S. Supreme Court had unanimously ruled in Brown v Socialist Workers ’74 Campaign Committee that the Socialist Workers Party is entitled to an exemption from campaign reporting, because the evidence showed that individuals revealed to be supporters of the party suffered harassment both from government agencies and private employers and individuals.
In this case, the U.S. District Court had ruled that the California initiative proponents were not entitled to privacy, and the Ninth Circuit had ruled the case moot. The initiative supporters acknowledge that the list of contributors has already been made public, but so far their residence addresses have not been made public, and therefore the case is not moot. The initiative supporters also hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will say they should have been entitled to privacy. Thanks to Thomas Jones for pointing out the pending U.S. Supreme Court conference in this case.