Friday, March 29, 2013

Diana Hsieh: Express Advocate?

This May, a [case] will be heard by the Colorado Supreme Court in Coalition for Secular Government v. Gessler. This case centers around a small nonprofit, run by Diana Hsieh, a doctor of philosophy, who wanted to discuss a secular understanding of the principles of life, liberty, and property. To do this, Dr. Hsieh formed a nonprofit corporation, which she named the Coalition for Secular Government (CSG). CSG commissioned a paper discussing its philosophy regarding human personhood, written by Dr. Hsieh and her friend Ari Armstrong. On behalf of CSG, Dr. Hsieh and Mr. Armstrong raised money from their friends to help pay for the costs of writing and publishing the paper. They also ran some Facebook ads and made flyers to let people know about the paper.

The paper is 32 pages long, with 176 endnotes. It makes philosophical arguments concerning the complex public policy debate surrounding the definition of personhood. The paper used a proposed Colorado ballot measure as a backdrop for its discussion on the issue. The paper concludes with a single sentence of express advocacy: “If you believe that ‘human life has value,’ the only moral choice is to vote against Amendment 62.”

This one sentence of express advocacy meant that CSG may be forced to register as a issue committee with the state of Colorado.  

Amendment 62, for non-Coloradans.

To summarize:  A philosopher argues, in an academic-style paper, for why calling a week old "fetus" a full legal person a bad idea.  Then she draws the conclusion that if you accept this argument then Amendment 62 should be voted down.  And for that she is forced to register, report all her donors and support, and pay significant regulatory costs.

Before "Citizens United," this case would have been a slam dunk for the nannies.  Now...interesting.  Thank goodness the Supreme Court decided Citizens United correctly!  Blog post.   

Phone call for Alex Rosenberg...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wish someone would write an academic paper on Citizens United and force the left to read it--most of them have no idea why it was decided correctly, only that "corporations are people" now, and somehow this is wrong.