Supreme Court hears campaign finance law challenge

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday heard oral arguments in Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], where the court will decide whether the federal Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 [text], popularly known as the McCain-Feingold law, violates First Amendment free speech rights where it bans corporate and union sponsorship of political issue ads that mention a specific candidate from airing within two months of the election. The case arose after the Federal Election Commission (FEC) [official website] in 2004 issued an injunction barring a Wisconsin Right to Life [advocacy website] advertisement that mentioned Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) from airing two months before Feingold was up for re-election to the Senate. The pro-life group defended the ad on the grounds that the purpose of the advertisement was to influence the legislative process rather than an election outcome. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement [official profile] in his defense of the bill Tuesday argued that interest groups would still be permitted to run such ads as long as they are funded through Political Action Committees, rather than with corporate or union money. AP has more.

 

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