‘Americans should be free to advocate for the political ideals they cherish…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) A Michigan-based political consulting startup is suing the city of Ann Arbor over a law that forces the firm and its young owners to promote political messages and causes they don’t believe in.
ThinkRight Strategies, based in Ann Arbor, filed suit against the city on Monday to challenge a law that requires the firm to create advocacy material for progressive causes and candidates.
Under Ann Arbor Code Chapter 112, the city attempts to force political diversity: Because ThinkRight’s owners, Grant Strobl and Jacob Chludzinski, advocate for conservative causes and candidates, they must also promote liberal causes. If they don’t, they could be charged fines up to $500 for each day a violation occurs.
But Strobl and Chludzinski—both students who are closely involved with the Young America’s Foundation—are fighting back.
“Grant and Jacob created their business to advance their conservative political beliefs. But Ann Arbor’s law forces them to use their skills to promote political beliefs they oppose, like abortion and socialism,” said the statement.
“This coercion is not just un-American—it’s unconstitutional. While Grant and Jacob will work with anyone when it advances conservative political goals, they cannot use their talents to promote messages or causes that undermine their values.”
Strobl and Chludzinski argued the law violates their right to freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of the press, and the right to due process.
“The First Amendment protects people’s freedom to choose what to say and what to endorse, and Americans don’t have to wait to be punished to protect this freedom,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs, director of the ADF Center for Conscience Initiatives.
“We can all agree that a pacifist painter shouldn’t be forced to paint a pro-war mural, and a Democratic speechwriter shouldn’t be forced to write speeches for President Trump. But Ann Arbor’s law requires these absurd results.”