Legal Feature


The Rutherford Institute’s brief in Minnesota Majority v. Joe Mansky



July 06, 2017

Challenging a Minnesota law that bans political speech on any “badge, button, shirt, or hat” worn at election polling stations, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute, Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, and The Individual Rights Foundation are calling on the United States Supreme Court to review the case of Minnesota Majority v. Joe Mansky. Under Minnesota Statute § 211B.11, unelected and unaccountable polling judges are given the power to prevent voters from wearing any “political badges, political buttons, or other political insignia…at or about the police place on primary or election day.” Insisting that the Minnesota law opens the door to abuse of voters’ free speech rights by giving appointed election officials unlimited discretion to determine what political speech should be censored, The Rutherford Institute and its coalition partners are urging the Court to strike down the law as overbroad, unconstitutional, and “a sweeping prohibition of core First Amendment speech.” For example, the polling ban could prohibit popular buttons or stickers that say, “I Voted,” context-less images such as a marijuana leaf, and even iconic photographs of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., or John Lennon that could be classified as “political.”