Update (October 27, 9:00 AM): Justin Timberlake removed his photo from Instagram, and discussed the situation on Jimmy Fallon last night:
Sadly, Justin learned the wrong lesson. Free speech is bigger than silly laws.
Update (October 26, 10:00 AM): Reports late yesterday indicate that Justin Timberlake is not under investigation for his voting selfie, at least not by the Shelby County District Attorney General. We’re still here if you need us, Justin.
The following is a modified version of a letter we’re trying to send to Justin Timberlake.
October 25, 2016
Dear Mr. Timberlake:
On October 24, you committed a fundamental act of free speech by taking a photograph of yourself in a voting booth in Tennessee and posting it to social media. Unfortunately, according to recent news reports, prosecutors in Memphis believe your selfie is a threat worth investigating and, perhaps, prosecuting.
Free speech is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and all laws—local, state and federal—must answer to this freedom. You are entitled to defend your voting selfie under the Constitution, whether as a defense to criminal prosecution or in a preemptive civil lawsuit under the Civil Rights Act.
As an attorney with the Pillar of Law Institute, I am currently counsel in two constitutional lawsuits against laws in Michigan and Colorado that challenge laws that prohibit “ballot selfies”—photos people take of their own marked ballots and usually post online. The attached newspaper articles [here and here] discuss the success we’ve had in Michigan and the nonpartisan effort we launched in Colorado on the very day you posted your selfie. The arguments in these cases lend themselves very easily to defending your own photograph.
Pillar of Law Institute is a nonprofit public interest law firm that represents citizens nationwide against laws that censor political free speech. We are happy to assist you pro bono in a preemptive lawsuit against the Shelby County Election Commission, the Shelby County District Attorney General, or other agencies that may seek to punish your celebration of your vote. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Attorney, Pillar of Law Institute