The Insider: Judge Thomas Hardiman’s Rulings on the First Amendment Are a Mixed Bag (In the News)

The Insider: Judge Thomas Hardiman’s Rulings on the First Amendment Are a Mixed Bag

By David Keating

We found four cases relevant to First Amendment speech freedoms where Judge Hardiman either wrote or joined an opinion. Additionally, he voted against a petition for en banc review of Delaware Strong Families v. Denn, where CCP represented the plaintiff in one of the most important campaign finance cases of 2016… 

The question presented in this lawsuit was simple. Should the state have the power to regulate groups that publish nonpartisan voter guides in essentially the same way that it regulates candidate committees, political parties, and PACs?

Judge Hardiman did not sit on the panel that heard this important case. However, he and the other Third Circuit judges received a petition asking the full en banc court to review the decision. A short brief accompanied the petition, which was denied. Judges Kent A. Jordan and Thomas I. Vanaskie voted to grant the petition, but Judge Hardiman did not…

After en banc review by the Third Circuit was denied, a certiorari petition was filed, unsuccessfully, with the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a highly unusual six-page dissent denouncing the Court’s refusal to hear the case. Such dissents are rare. Justice Samuel Alito also announced that he would have granted review.