FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2013
For More Information, contact:
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Alabama Attorney General
Claire Haynes (334) 242-7351
Page 1 of 2
JOINT STATEMENT BY ATTORNEY GENERAL LUTHER STRANGE
AND ALABAMA POLICY INSTITUTE PRESIDENT GARY PALMER
Regarding the Efforts of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin to Target the
Alabama Policy Institute with Respect to “Stand Your Ground” laws.
(MONTGOMERY and BIRMINGHAM) – Today Attorney General Luther
Strange and Alabama Policy Institute (API) President Gary Palmer addressed API’s
recent receipt of a letter from U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) that inquired about API’s
relationship with the American Legislative Exchange Council and asked whether API
supports “stand your ground” legislation. This request infringes upon API’s
constitutional right to free association.
In 1958, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized “the vital relationship between
freedom to associate and privacy in one’s associations” and addressed behavior of this
very sort, stating that “[i]t is hardly a novel perception that compelled disclosure of
affiliation with groups engaged in advocacy may constitute . . . a restraint on freedom of
association. . . .” Both the Attorney General’s Office and the Alabama Policy Institute
value the right to free association and the constitutional protection this right provides
from harassment or intimidation.
“The emerging trend of Washington officials targeting conservative groups in
Alabama is both disturbing and unacceptable,” Strange said. “My office will stand with
Alabama organizations like the Wetumpka Tea Party and the Alabama Policy Institute
against viewpoint discrimination and political intimidation by the federal government.”
“The Alabama Policy Institute recognizes Senator Durbin’s constitutionally-
protected right to hold his policy positions and associate with those who agree.” Palmer
noted. “API and the more than 300 other organizations targeted by Senator Durbin
have the same right as we continue to promote and defend our nation’s founding
principles against those who consider our Constitution to be a hindrance to their grand
501 Washington Avenue Montgomery, AL 36104 (334) 242-7300
www.ago.state.al.us Page 2 of 2
With respect to “stand your ground” legislation, Alabama law protects the right
of an individual to use deadly force in self-defense or in defense of another without a
duty to retreat when the individual is not engaged in unlawful activity and is in a place
where he or she has the right to be. The U.S. Supreme Court has also held “the
inherent right of self-defense” to be “central to the Second Amendment right [to bear
“While I understand that Senator Durbin is interested in self-defense laws,
including the ‘stand your ground’ laws found in a majority of the states, they are a
matter of state authority under the Tenth Amendment,” said Strange. “My office is
prepared to defend the laws of our state from any unconstitutional federal intrusion
that improperly limits the rights of Alabamians to keep and bear arms.”
NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449, 462 (1958).
Ala. Code ß 13A-3-23 (2006).
District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 628-30 (2008).