From the 2010 News Archive
Feb. 3 Panel to Address Free Speech and Campaign Finance
Join us on Wednesday, February 3, at noon in Room 107 for “Free Speech, Corporate Speech and Campaign Financing,” to explore the background on the Supreme Court case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08–205
, which resulted with a landmark decision to support corporate funding of independent political communications in candidate elections with protection by the First Amendment. During the discussion, faculty members will provide their insight on the significance of the opinion and the likely long-term impact.
The Supreme Court Justice’s 5-4 decision resulted from a lawsuit brought by a non-profit corporation, Citizens United, which challenged limitations on campaign communications in the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
, commonly known as the McCain-Feingold Act. Citizens United sought to bar the Federal Election Commission from enforcing provisions of the McCain-Feingold Act that prevented the film "Hillary: The Movie"
from being shown on television during the 2008 Democratic primaries.
The Court’s decision struck down a provision of the McCain-Feingold Act that banned for-profit and not-for-profit corporations and unions from broadcasting “electioneering communications” in the 30 days before a presidential primary and in the 60 days before the general elections. The decision also overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990)
and partially overruled McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003)
In the Supreme Court’s view, it addressed fundamental questions on the application of the First Amendment to corporate speech and the power of the government to limit campaign contributions by corporations. The decision has dominated recent news headlines, with extensive coverage by The New York Times
Posted by Carrie Oleynik