More than 20 states have some mechanism for citizen-driven legislation, either through ballot initiative or referendum. In 2009, when Washington state granted domestic partners "everything-but-marriage" rights, a group called Protect Marriage Washington submitted petitions, signed by 138,500 residents, calling for a referendum to repeal the law. Washington's Public Records Act makes those names a matter of public record in the interest of transparency and public inspection. But the signatories—citing harassment and threats against those who organized for Proposition 8 repealing gay marriage in California—asked a court to enjoin publication of their names. A federal court blocked the release of the signatures, but the 9th Circuit reversed, saying that the signatures are collected in public and shown to public officials and that the release of the names furthers the important governmental aim of preserving electoral integrity. Then the Supreme Court stepped in, halted release of the names, and took the case.
Then Scalia tags in to ask, "Do you have any case in which we have held that the First Amendment applies to activity that consists of legislating or of adopting legislation?" Working himself into an Originalist froth, Scalia notes that "for the first century of our existence, even voting was public—you either did it raising your hand or by voice," and then scolds that "running a democracy takes a certain amount of civic courage. And the First Amendment does not protect you from criticism or even nasty phone calls when you exercise your political rights to legislate." Scalia ends with the admonition that "[y]ou are asking us to enter into a whole new field where we have never gone before." [italics in original]
Then Scalia, wiping his hands on his own thick skin blurts: "Oh, this is such a touchy-feely, oh, so sensitive. …You know, you can't run a democracy this way, with everybody being afraid of having his political positions known!"
This is precisely the point I was trying to make here. [Confidential to GJ: I think the precedent you cited in your comment on that post dealt with simple membership in a party, while the question in this case is confidentiality for people who are hoping to effect a change in the law. To my mind, they occupy different spaces in our shared civic lives.] If one expects one's signature as a citizen to be part of the process of changing the law, then one should have the courage of one's convictions and stand by it.
Dear God. Antonin Scalia and I agree about something. Someone please go outside and check to make sure the rain is still falling downward, willya?