Local News | Ref. 71 signatures are public, Supreme Court rules | Seattle Times Newspaper The high court ruled Thursday in an 8-1 decision, with Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting, that disclosing the identities of petition-signers does not, generally, violate the First Amendment. But the justices also said their decision "does not foreclose success" should Ref. 71 sponsors decide to pursue an exemption in a lower court which the sponsors said they will do. Those who want to keep Ref. 71 signers' names confidential now will have to prove in U.S. District Court that there is "reasonable probability" that disclosing the names will lead to threats, harassment and reprisals. That's "a high standard to meet, and they just don't have the evidence to meet it," contended Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, who argued the case on behalf of the state in April.