RICHMOND, VA — a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously reversed dismissal of the case Fusaro v. Davitt today, restoring a challenge to a Maryland law that restricts access to the state’s registered voter list to Maryland registered voters. Writing for the panel, Judge Robert King ruled that access to the list implicates First Amendment rights.
“This is a big victory against clever censorship,” said Stephen Klein, lead counsel to Dennis Fusaro and of counsel to the Pillar of Law Institute. “It’s an important precedent that recognizes certain public records are inseparable from political speech.”
Judge King’s opinion overturns the district court’s ruling that the registered voter list is a public record that may be simply denied to citizens based on their residency. The case will return to the trial court with the requirement that the government justify the residency requirement.
“The case is not over, but we believe the government’s interests in the prohibition are nonexistent,” said Klein. “We look forward to continuing Fusaro’s challenge to the law.”
This release has been updated. An earlier version erroneously stated that Chief Judge Roger Gregory drafted the opinion. We regret the error.