Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
Citizens United v. FEC 1
In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010) the
Supreme Court heard ar...
Citizens United v. FEC 2
[L]imiting a corporation's ability to spend money is unconstitutional because it limits the
abili...
Citizens United v. FEC 3
agencies are owned by one corporation or another, the editorial boards that endorse
candidates fo...
Citizens United v. FEC 4
References
Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, 494 U.S. 652 (1990)
Bipartisan Campaign Reform...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Citizens United v FEC

356 views

Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Citizens United v FEC

  1. 1. Citizens United v. FEC 1 In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010) the Supreme Court heard arguments dealing with campaign finance and the regulation of campaign spending on behalf of candidates. In this case, the conservative group Citizens United wanted to air a film about Hillary Clinton, who was running for president at the time. The group wanted to advertise the film during normal television broadcasts, which appeared to be in violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. §203 of the BCRA prohibited as “electioneering communication" a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and prohibited expenditures on such by corporations and unions. The Court’s ruling in Citizens United annulled parts of the BCRA, including §203. The Court did state, however, that this decision did not affect the Tillman Act of 1907, which banned corporations from donating directly to a candidate. Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the majority opinion for the Court. Its finding was that §203 of the BCRA violated the First Amendment. “[I]f the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech …”, Kennedy said. The ruling also stated that since neither the First Amendment nor the Court itself really specified what the difference was between a “corporation” and the media in general, it would ultimately be limiting political speech in newspapers, books, magazines, television, and radio. It was noted during oral arguments that newspapers, radio, and television were considered hallmarks of ways of expression during election cycles. Ted Olsen made this argument, citing Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976) which specifically states that spending money is so essential to dissemination of speech. The ruling states “…
  2. 2. Citizens United v. FEC 2 [L]imiting a corporation's ability to spend money is unconstitutional because it limits the ability of its members to associate effectively and to speak on political issues.” The majority also overturned another political finance case, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, 494 U.S. 652 (1990), stating that it allowed different speech- related spending limits on a corporate entity. The ruling argued that in this case the First Amendment keeps the government from interfering in “[m]arketplace of ideas … [i]t’s not up to legislatures or courts to create a sense of fairness by limiting free speech …” Moreover, the Court said that Austin’s ruling created a distortion effect regarding large expenditures by corporations, making them to appear at risk of corruption. The Court went on to say that the government was not the place to interpret what a corporation was thinking when making large expenditures. “[T]here is no such thing as too much speech…” Not everything was necessarily a “quid pro quo” transaction. The Court said that the public had the right to examine and access all documents a corporation might have on finances so the public could make their own determination. The Court also found that Austin did not have reliable evidence to substantiate a risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption, and so this rationale did not satisfy the Court’s own strict scrutiny test. The Court finally ruled that §§201 and 311 of the BCRA are upheld, which require disclosure as to who the funders are of something such as a movie or television ad. In this particular case nothing in the media would be affected. This is because this case covers campaign finance reform and is really aimed at corporations and unions that have in the past been unable to make large expenditures to “political speech.” (The media do, to some extent, benefit from Citizens United in that their advertising revenue increases due to the increased spending, especially by PACs.) Even though most news
  3. 3. Citizens United v. FEC 3 agencies are owned by one corporation or another, the editorial boards that endorse candidates for public office have always acted independently of the corporate structure, thus preventing corruption of the editorial process. From a legal standpoint, this ruling would include media outlets, but again editorial boards are already insulated.
  4. 4. Citizens United v. FEC 4 References Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, 494 U.S. 652 (1990) Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, 2002 Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976) Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010)

×