Non-Permanent-Resident Non-Citizens and the First Amendment

Bluman v. FEC, a district court case that will be heard in May by a three-judge panel in D.C. (consisting of D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh and District Court Judges Ricardo Urbina and Rosemary Collyer, asks: (1) Do non-permanent-resident non-citizens have the First Amendment right to contribute to candidates’ campaigns? (2) Do non-permanent-resident non-citizens have the First Amendment right to speak — in ways that use money, as most effective speech does — in support of or opposition to candidates, even independently of the candidate’s campaign?

A federal statute currently bans both contributions and independent expenditures by non-permanent-resident non-citizens (except those who can use the “media exemption,” which covers “any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication”). The question is whether this is consistent with the First Amendment. Here are the briefs in the case:

  1. FEC’s motion to dismiss.
  2. Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, and opposition to FEC’s motion to dismiss.
  3. Amicus brief of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, supporting plaintiff.
  4. FEC’s opposition to plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, and reply.
  5. Plaintiff’s reply.

For more on the constitutional rights of non-citizens generally, see this post (as to the First Amendment) and this one.

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