Bingo talk

Texas allows charitable bingo if the sponsoring organization does not use the proceeds for political advocacy; several charities challenged that restriction on First Amendment grounds.  Department of Texas, VFW v. Texas Lottery Commission, No. 11-50932 (August 21, 2013).  In a new opinion issued on panel rehearing, the Fifth Circuit rejected a standing challenge based on the interplay of the relevant law with other gambling laws (which the state argued made the lawsuit irrelevant), and then reversed an injunction against the law.  The Court saw the case as controlled by Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U.S. 173 (1991), noting: “The challenged provisions in this case do nothing to restrict speech outside the scope of the State’s bingo program. Charities are free to participate in the bingo program and engage in political advocacy; they simply must not use bingo proceeds to do so.”  For similar reasons, it distinguished Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 130 S.Ct. 876 (2010).  A dissent argued that Rust did not control and the law was invalid under the “unconstitutional conditions” doctrine.

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