Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Becerra, 091118 FED9, 16-55727

Docket Nº:16-55727, 16-55786, 16-56855, 16-56902
Opinion Judge:FISHER, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Party Name:Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Xavier Becerra, in his Official Capacity as Attorney General of California, Defendant-Appellant. Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Xavier Becerra, in his Official Capacity as Attorney General of California, Defendant-Appellee. Thomas More Law Center, ...
Attorney:Derek Shaffer (argued), William A. Burck, Eric C. Lyttle, Keith H. Forst, and Jonathan G. Cooper, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, Washington, D.C.; Harold Barza, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, Los Angeles, California; for Plaintiff-Appellee/Cross-Appellant. Tara Malloy, J. Gerald ...
Judge Panel:Before: Raymond C. Fisher, Richard A. Paez and Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:September 11, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Xavier Becerra, in his Official Capacity as Attorney General of California, Defendant-Appellant.

Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Xavier Becerra, in his Official Capacity as Attorney General of California, Defendant-Appellee.

Thomas More Law Center, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Xavier Becerra, in his Official Capacity as Attorney General of the State of California, Defendant-Appellant.

Thomas More Law Center, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Xavier Becerra, in his Official Capacity as Attorney General of the State of California, Defendant-Appellee.

Nos. 16-55727, 16-55786, 16-56855, 16-56902

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

September 11, 2018

Argued and Submitted June 25, 2018 Pasadena, California

Appeal from the United States District Court D.C. Nos. 2:14-cv-09448-R-FFM, 2:14-cv-09448-R-FFM, 2:15-cv-03048-R-FFM, 2:15-cv-03048-R-FFM for the Central District of California Manuel L. Real, District Judge, Presiding

Derek Shaffer (argued), William A. Burck, Eric C. Lyttle, Keith H. Forst, and Jonathan G. Cooper, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, Washington, D.C.; Harold Barza, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, Los Angeles, California; for Plaintiff-Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

Tara Malloy, J. Gerald Hebert, and Megan P. McAllen, Campaign Legal Center, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Curiae Campaign Legal Center.

Jeremy Talcott and Joshua P. Thompson, Pacific Legal Foundation, Sacramento, California, for Amicus Curiae Pacific Legal Foundation.

Marc Rotenberg, Alan Butler, James T. Graves, and John Davisson, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Curiae Electronic Privacy Information Center.

David Weiner and Robert Leider, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Curiae The Philanthropy Roundtable.

Keith Joseph Miller, Assistant Attorney General; Dominic E. Draye, Solicitor General; Mark Brnovich, Attorney General; Office of the Attorney General, Phoenix, Arizona, for Amici Curiae States of Arizona, Alabama, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Mark Joseph Fitzgibbons, American Target Advertising, Manassas, Virginia, for Amicus Curiae American Target Advertising, Inc.

Allyson Newton Ho and John C. Sullivan, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Dallas, Texas; C. Dean McGrath Jr., McGrath & Associates, Washington, D.C.; for Amici Curiae Pacific Research Institute, Cato Institute, and Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Christopher H. McGrath and Samuel S. Sadeghi Paul Hastings LLP, Costa Mesa, California; George W. Abele, Paul Hastings LLP, Los Angeles, California; Brett Harvey, Alliance Defending Freedom, Scottsdale, Arizona; Nathaniel Bruno, Alliance Defending Freedom, Washington, D.C.; for Amicus Curiae Alliance Defending Freedom.

Brian Timothy Burgess, Goodwin Procter LLP, Washington, D.C.; David J. Zimmer, Goodwin Procter LLP, Boston, Massachusetts; for Amici Curiae NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Andrew P. Pugno, Law Offices of Andrew P. Pugno, Fair Oaks, California, for Amicus Curiae Proposition 8 Legal Defense Fund.

Herbert W. Titus, Jeremiah L. Morgan, William J. Olson, and Robert J. Olson, William J. Olson P.C., Vienna, Virginia; Joseph W. Miller, Ramona, California; Michael Boos, Washington, D.C.; for Amici Curiae Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, Free Speech Coalition, Citizens United, Citizens United Foundation, National Right to Work Committee, U.S. Constitutional Rights Legal Defense Fund, U.S. Justice Foundation, Family Research Council, Western Center for Journalism, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, The Leadership Institute, Public Advocate of the United States, Downsize DC Foundation, Downsize. Org, Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of America, 60 Plus, 60 Plus Association, America's Foundation for Law and Liberty, America's Liberty Committee, Citizen Outreach Foundation, Citizen Outreach, LLC, Law Enforcement Alliance of America, Liberty Guard, Coalition for a Strong America, The Jesse Helms Center, Americans for Constitutional Liberty, Catholicvote.org, Eberle Communications Group, Inc., Clearword Communications Group, Davidson & Co., and JFT Consulting.

Before: Raymond C. Fisher, Richard A. Paez and Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Circuit Judges.

SUMMARY[*]

Civil Rights

The panel vacated the district court's permanent injunctions, reversed the bench trial judgments, and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of the California Attorney General in two cases challenging California's charitable registration requirement as applied to two nonprofit organizations that solicit tax-deductible contributions in the state.

Plaintiffs qualify as tax-exempt charitable organizations under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3). They challenge the Attorney General of California's collection of Internal Revenue Service Form 990 Schedule B, which contains the names and addresses of their relatively few largest contributors. Plaintiffs argue the state's disclosure requirement impermissibly burdens their First Amendment right to free association.

The panel held that the California Attorney General's Schedule B requirement, which obligates charities to submit the very information they already file each year with the IRS, survived exacting scrutiny as applied to the plaintiffs because it was substantially related to an important state interest in policing charitable fraud. The panel held that plaintiffs had not shown a significant First Amendment burden on the theory that complying with the Attorney General's Schedule B nonpublic disclosure requirement would chill contributions. The panel further concluded that even assuming arguendo that the plaintiffs' contributors would face substantial harassment if Schedule B information became public, the strength of the state's interest in collecting Schedule B information reflected the actual burden on First Amendment rights because the information was collected solely for nonpublic use, and the risk of inadvertent public disclosure was slight.

Alexandra Robert Gordon (argued), Jose A. Zelidon-Zepeda, Kevin A. Calia, and Emmanuelle S. Soichet, Deputy Attorneys General; Tamar Pachter, Supervising Deputy Attorney General; Douglas J. Woods, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; Office of the Attorney General, San Francisco, California; for Defendant-Appellant/Cross-Appellee.

OPINION

FISHER, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

We address the constitutionality of a California charitable registration requirement as applied to two nonprofit organizations that solicit tax-deductible contributions in the state. Americans for Prosperity Foundation (the Foundation) and Thomas More Law Center (the Law Center) qualify as tax-exempt charitable organizations under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3). They challenge the Attorney General of California's collection of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990 Schedule B, which contains the names and addresses of their relatively few largest contributors. The Attorney General uses the information solely to prevent charitable fraud, and the information is not to be made public except in very limited circumstances. The plaintiffs argue the state's disclosure requirement impermissibly burdens their First Amendment right to free association by deterring individuals from making contributions.

The district court held that the Schedule B requirement violates the First Amendment as applied to the Foundation and Law Center and permanently enjoined the Attorney General from demanding the plaintiffs' Schedule B forms. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we vacate the injunctions, reverse the judgments and remand for entry of judgment in the Attorney General's favor.

We hold that the California Attorney General's Schedule B requirement, which obligates charities to submit the very information they already file each year with the IRS, survives exacting scrutiny as applied to the plaintiffs because it is substantially related to an important state interest in policing charitable fraud. Even assuming arguendo that the plaintiffs' contributors would face substantial harassment if Schedule B information became public, the strength of the state's interest in collecting Schedule B information reflects the actual burden on First Amendment rights because the information is collected solely for nonpublic use, and the risk of inadvertent public disclosure is slight.

I.

A.

California's Supervision of Trustees and Charitable Trusts Act requires the Attorney General to maintain a registry of charitable corporations (the Registry) and authorizes him to obtain "whatever information, copies of...

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