Skip to content
Opinion
Noah Feldman

Supreme Court Should Be Wary of California Donor Law

California wants charities to have to disclose their major donors. That's the start of a slippery slope.

What happens at the charity gala stays at the charity gala.

What happens at the charity gala stays at the charity gala.

Photographer: Rob Kim/Getty Images

On Monday, the Supreme Court grappled with a genuinely tough First Amendment issue: Should California be able to make charities that speak on matters of public concern disclose to the state the names of their big donors? The issue reveals something about the way that conservatives and liberals currently differ on free speech issues.

On the one hand, states might need the information to combat fraud. Moreover, California says that it will keep the information confidential. The IRS already gets this information from tax-exempt charities, and has so far done a good job of protecting it.