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Supreme Court of the United States

ThinkRight Strategies v. City of Ann Arbor

Last Updated: 6/2/2020

Overview

What's at stake

  • Whether the government can force people to promote political positions they oppose

Summary

Grant Strobl and Jacob Chludzinski are political conservatives who believe in free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional values, and a strong national defense. Together, they founded ThinkRight Strategies, a political consulting firm. ThinkRight’s advocacy services include designing websites, developing slogans and social-media content, providing coaching for public speaking and media interviews, helping guide canvassing efforts to mobilize voters, and writing speeches for causes, candidates, lawmakers, and non-profits.

Grant and Jacob want to provide these services to promote only messages, platforms, and causes that further their conservative principles. But Ann Arbor has other plans. Ann Arbor makes it illegal for businesses to “discriminate” based on “political beliefs.” So if ThinkRight provides advocacy services to Republican candidates to promote limited government, lower taxes, and protecting the unborn, Ann Arbor requires them to provide similar services to Socialist candidates to promote government control, higher taxes, and abortion on demand. To ensure compliance, Ann Arbor can fine violators up to $500 per day and pursue additional remedies. 

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a lawsuit against the city of Ann Arbor, challenging the city law that forces Grant, Jacob, and their company, ThinkRight Strategies, to promote political messages and causes that contradict their conservative and religious principles.

In the wake of the lawsuit, the city of Ann Arbor determined that ThinkRight would not be subject to the public accommodations law that would have required the firm to promote political views they oppose. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing ThinkRight Strategies and its owners, Grant Strobl and Jacob Chludzinski, therefore jointly agreed with the city to end the suit. Under the agreement, the firm and its owners can continue to promote only political messages and causes that are consistent with their conservative and religious principles.

Our role in this case

Alliance Defending Freedom represented Grant, Jacob, and their company, ThinkRight Strategies.

Resources

Legal Documents

Court
Title
Date
{"docs": [{"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Motion for and brief in support of preliminary injunction", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/thinkright-strategies-v.-city-of-ann-arbor/thinkright-strategies-v-city-of-ann-arbor---motion-for-and-brief-in-support-of-preliminary-injunction.pdf", "Date": "7/30/2019 4:39:09 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Complaint", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/thinkright-strategies-v.-city-of-ann-arbor/thinkright-strategies-v-city-of-ann-arbor---complaint.pdf", "Date": "7/30/2019 4:39:09 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Stipulated dismissal", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/thinkright-strategies-v.-city-of-ann-arbor/thinkright-strategies-v-city-of-ann-arbor---stipulated-dismissal.pdf", "Date": "9/5/2019 10:12:25 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Declaration of Jacob Chludzinski in support of plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction motion", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/thinkright-strategies-v.-city-of-ann-arbor/thinkright-strategies-v-city-of-ann-arbor---declaration-of-jacob-chludzinski-in-support-of-plaintiffs-preliminary-injunction-motion.pdf", "Date": "7/30/2019 4:39:10 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Declaration of Grant Strobl in support of plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction motion", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/thinkright-strategies-v.-city-of-ann-arbor/thinkright-strategies-v-city-of-ann-arbor---declaration-of-grant-strobl-in-support-of-plaintiffs-preliminary-injunction-motion.pdf", "Date": "7/30/2019 4:39:09 PM"}]}

Biographies

Jonathan Scruggs

Senior Counsel, Director of the Center for Conscience Initiatives

Jonathan Scruggs serves as senior counsel and director of the Center for Conscience Initiatives with Alliance Defending Freedom.

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