Yesterday the Supreme Court released yet another blockbuster opinion keeping the authority of the First Amendment intact. In NIFLA v. Becerra, the court ruled 5-4 that California’s law, which required pregnancy centers to advertise abortion, violated free speech rights. This is a huge victory for free speech and it should be celebrated as such.
The ruling also burnishes the credibility of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which successfully argued this case. In fact, it’s the ninth Supreme Court win in the past seven years for this nonprofit legal organization that focuses primarily on protecting the First Amendment.
Despite—or perhaps because of—ADF’s strong record of legitimacy at the U.S. Supreme Court and stand for a fundamental American freedom, a political activist group that makes money by smearing people has ridiculously dubbed ADF a “hate group.” That would be the infamous Southern Poverty Law Center, which just had its reputation further sullied by having to settle a defamation lawsuit for $3.374 million, plus a retraction and apology for falsely labeling Muslim leader Maajid Nawaz an “anti-Muslim extremist.”
That’s only the latest example of SPLC’s libelous attempts at hate-profiteering. Unfortunately, despite years of well-documented proof that this is the organization’s business model, major media and tech companies still use its recommendations to police financial transactions and speech on their platforms.
As a result of labeling ADF with such histrionic language, in May Amazon pulled ADF from its Amazon Smile program, which helps shoppers donate to charities. Dozens of nonprofit organizations, including far-left organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, are allowed to benefit from this program, but not ADF. So much for equal opportunity.
Not only does the SPLC’s rhetoric damage groups like ADF, which is simply trying to protect citizens’ constitutional rights and is very effective at it, but it has unfairly smeared many others. In commenting on the Nawaz settlement, Marc A.Thiessen at The Washington Post says the “once-storied organization [SPLC] that did important work filing civil rights lawsuits against the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s […] has become a caricature of itself, labeling virtually anyone who does not fall in line with its left-wing ideology an ‘extremist’ or ‘hate group.’”
If protecting the First Amendment is a legitimate reason to label an organization a hate group, then it seems SPLC’s reasoning would also apply to organizations like the Supreme Court and ACLU. They don’t, though, because there is no money to be raised (yet) from doing so, and because for their donors it’s plausible to lump a conservative organization in with neo-Nazis simply for protecting people with religious beliefs shared by the majority of the world’s people.
Both of these realities are telling.