Supreme Court says that California can't require all nonprofits to disclose their donors

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People walk past the U.S. Supreme Court the day the court is set to release orders and opinions in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2021.
Erin Scott | Reuters

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a California rule requiring charities to disclose the names and addresses of their largest donors, delivering a victory to a pair of conservative nonprofits that had challenged the requirement as unconstitutional.

The 6-3 decision, which divided the nine justices along ideological lines, reversed a 2018 appeals court ruling siding with California's attorney general.

The rule had forced nonprofits to give the state their so-called Schedule B forms, which include the personal information of all donors nationwide who had contributed more than $5,000 in a given tax year. The state had argued that it needed that information to help it police misconduct by charities.

“We do not doubt that California has an important interest in preventing wrongdoing by charitable organizations,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority opinion.

But “there is a dramatic mismatch” between “the interest that the Attorney General seeks to promote and the disclosure regime that he has implemented in service of that end,” Roberts wrote.

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