Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom
1 South 6th Street
Terre Haute, IN 47807-3510
Friday, May 9, 2008
Contact: James Bopp, Jr.
Phone 812/232-2434; Fax 812/235-3685
Indiana Democratic and Republican Parties Seek to File Joint Friend-of-the-Court Brief in Indiana Supreme Court to Protect Political Computer-Generated Phone Calls
Today, the Indiana Democratic Party and the Indiana Republican Party asked the Indiana Supreme Court to allow them to file a joint friend-of-the-court brief in a case involving computer-generated political calls. The case, State of Indiana v. American Family Voices, Inc., was initiated by the State of Indiana against American Family Voices and others for using automatic dialing machines to make political calls during the 2006 election cycle. The case was dismissed by the trial court, based on the Defendant's argument that the statute only prohibited commercial calls. The Attorney General appealed and the case was taken up directly by the Indiana Supreme Court, bypassing the Court of Appeals. Appellees are represented by DeLaney & DeLaney, LLC.
Both political parties have a direct interest in the case as they, along with their candidates, would use robocall technology to make political calls, if it were legal. Both political parties believe that the First Amendment protects their right to make computer-generated political calls. The political parties will argue in their friend-of-the-court brief that the Indiana robocall law should be construed to only reach commercial calls, in order to avoid a finding that the statute is unconstitutional because it also prohibits political calls.
According to James Bopp, Jr., counsel for both the Indiana Democratic and Republican Parties in this matter, "the First Amendment and the Indiana Constitution protect all political speech, including computer-generated political calls. The Indiana Supreme Court should interpret the statute to only apply to commercial calls," says Bopp, "leaving intact the robust political arena that the First Amendment was designed to protect."
Bopp successfully argued the most recent campaign finance case before the Indiana Supreme Court, Brownsburg Area Patrons Affecting Change v. Baldwin, decided in 1999, and has won four of the five campaign finance cases he has orally argued in the United States Supreme Court.
The amici curiae brief would be due on May 27, 2008. Oral argument in the case is scheduled for June 16, 2008.
James Bopp, Jr. has a national federal and state election law practice. He with the law firm of Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom in Terre Haute, IN, is General Counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech and former Co-Chairman of the Election Law Subcommittee of the Federalist Society.