Court found unconstitutional the compelled disclosure of group associations or membership lists.
The Court also acknowledged “economic reprisal, loss of employment, threat of physical coercion, and other manifestations of public hostility”that might result from compelled disclosure of associations with socially unpopular groups, substantiating the privacy interest behind group disclosure.
B: The “Chilling Effect”
Court’s recognition of indirect harm resulting from identitydisclosure planted the seeds for broader interpretations of anonymity’s role in association.The decisions of
Keysihian v. Board of Regents
Baird v. State Bar of Arizona
(1971) fully recognized that “governmental action may be subject to constitutionalchallenge even though it has only an indirect effect on the exercise of First Amendmentrights.”
As privacy law developed, a more complex understanding of decisional privacy —privacy regarding an individual’s right to make certain crucial life decisions—qualifiedthe concept of indirect harm as a “chilling effect,” a concept that would expand thedeference future courts pay to anonymity.In
Laird v. Tatum
, plaintiffs objected to the use of a post-civil-rights intelligence-gathering program designed to track the associations of individuals with the “potential for civil disorder,” basing their assertion on the program’s indirect effect on the exercise of First Amendment association.
They alleged that mere knowledge of their surveillancerestricted their First Amendment liberty. While the Court dismissed plaintiffs’ complaintsas too amorphous to constitute a showing of specific present harm, it did recognize the potential for governmental regulations that “fall short of a direct prohibition” to have achilling effect.
In dissent, Justices Douglas and Marshall defended the legitimacy of a