THIS DAY AT LAW
Today in legal history...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Supreme Court struck down restrictions on corporate campaign spending

On January 21, 2010, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations had a First Amendment right to expend general treasury funds in political campaigns. The court was asked to consider Section 203 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), which prohibited corporations and unions from using their general treasury funds to make independent expenditures for speech defined as an "electioneering communication" or for speech expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate. The court overturned its 1989 decision in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which upheld the facial validity of Section 203, and partially overturned McConnell v. Federal Election Commission. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority that "[t]he Government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether."



Learn more about campaign finance regulations from the JURIST news archive.




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