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Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund

United States Supreme Court
473 U.S. 788 (1985)


The federal government (defendant) established a method for federal employees to make contributions to charities. An executive order created the Combined Federal Campaign, or CFC, which allowed for charities that provide or support direct health and welfare services to individuals or their families to submit short statements soliciting contributions. These short statements were compiled and used in the annual CFC fundraising drive. Federal employees could make one-time contributions or continuing payroll deductions. The executive order did not allow participation in the CFC by organizations that seek to influence the outcomes of elections or the determination of public policy through political activity or advocacy, lobbying, or litigation on behalf of parties other than themselves. However, the federal government permitted some organizations, like the World Wildlife Fund, that do not provide direct services to participate. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (plaintiff) sought to be included in the CFC but was denied. An appeals court affirmed, and the United States Supreme Court granted cert.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)

Dissent (Blackmun, J.)

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