Amicus Curiae Brief in Esther and Pynchon vs. the City of Seattle

Amicus Curiae Brief in Esther and Pynchon vs. the City of Seattle

September 19, 2017


As amici demonstrate in Part I, the Democracy Voucher program (“the program”) serves the City’s important interests in strengthening local democracy in Seattle by reducing wealth-based barriers to participation in electoral campaigns and reducing a legitimate perception of corruption. These democracy-strengthening interests are not only consistent with the First Amendment, but actually advance the First Amendment’s central aim of protecting our republican system of democratic self-government. Part II responds to Plaintiff’s fundamentally misguided argument that the program’s small-donor-driven mechanism for distributing funds to participating candidates violates the First Amendment because it is majoritarian. See infra Part II(A). The donor-driven distribution of funds does not amount to unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, since unequal funding allotments are traceable not to decisions by the City, but to determinations of Seattleites engaged with the political marketplace of ideas. See infra Part II(B). Part III demonstrates that strict scrutiny review of the program is inappropriate, and that the program is closely drawn and hence easily survives any other standard of review. For all these reasons, the City’s motion to dismiss must be granted. 

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