Citizens United V. Federal Election Commission

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), is a US constitutional law case, in which the United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by corporations, associations, or labor unions. The conservative lobbying group Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or "BCRA"). In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that portions of BCRA §203 violated the First Amendment.

The decision reached the Supreme Court on appeal from a July 2008 decision by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Section 203 of BCRA defined an "electioneering communication" as 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 such expenditures by corporations and unions. The lower court held that §203 of BCRA applied and prohibited Citizens United from advertising the film Hillary: The Movie in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries. The Supreme Court reversed, striking down those provisions of BCRA that prohibited corporations (including nonprofit corporations) and unions from making independent expenditures and "electioneering communications".

The decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and partially overruled McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003). The Court, however, upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements (BCRA §201 and §311). The case did not involve the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties, which remain illegal in races for federal office.

Read more about Citizens United V. Federal Election Commission:  Background, Before The Court, Subsequent Developments, Further Court Rulings, Super PACs, See Also

Famous quotes containing the words commission, election, citizens, united and/or federal:

    The Church seems to totter to its fall, almost all life extinct. On this occasion, any complaisance would be criminal which told you, whose hope and commission it is to preach the faith of Christ, that the faith of Christ is preached.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

    Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.
    George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)

    I am firmly opposed to the government entering into any business the major purpose of which is competition with our citizens ... for the Federal Government deliberately to go out to build up and expand ... a power and manufacturing business is to break down the initiative and enterprise of the American people; it is the destruction of equality of opportunity amongst our people, it is the negation of the ideals upon which our civilization has been based.
    Herbert Hoover (1874–1964)

    I thought it altogether proper that I should take a brief furlough from official duties at Washington to mingle with you here to-day as a comrade, because every President of the United States must realize that the strength of the Government, its defence in war, the army that is to muster under its banner when our Nation is assailed, is to be found here in the masses of our people.
    Benjamin Harrison (1833–1901)

    It is odd that the NCAA would place a school on probation for driving an athlete to class, or providing a loan, but would have no penalty for a school that violates Title IX, a federal law.
    Cardiss L. Collins (b. 1931)