Supreme Court ponders privacy rights for petition signers

Pat McMahon Contributor
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The Supreme Court seemed skeptical Wednesday that the Constitution offers protection to individuals who fear harassment over their signature on referendum petitions, with the toughest questioning coming from Justice Antonin Scalia.

James Bopp Jr., representing voters in Washington state who objected to disclosure of their signatures on petitions challenging a gay-rights law, told the justices that “the First Amendment protects citizens from intimidation resulting from compelled disclosure of their identity.”

Scalia, the first to question Bopp’s assertion, was unrelenting in his opposition.

“The fact is that running a democracy takes a certain amount of civic courage,” Scalia said. “And the First Amendment does not protect you from criticism or even nasty phone calls.”

Full story: Supreme Court ponders privacy rights for petition signers