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Supreme Court to reconsider campaign finance laws

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  1. Prior Restraint
The Supreme Court said today it would rehear a case about how the government may regulate corporate and union speech…

The Supreme Court said today it would rehear a case about how the government may regulate corporate and union speech related to elections. The Court will hear new arguments in a special session on Sept. 9.

The case, Citizens United v. FEC, deals with the Federal Election Commission’s attempt to regulate a 90-minute political film in the run-up to a presidential election. Hillary: The Movie, a caustic take on Hillary Clinton’s White House bid, was produced by the group Citizens United. A federal district court held that the film’s distribution could be regulated in the run-up to the 2008 elections under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, better known as the McCain-Feingold Act.

The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on March 24.

Its order today suggested that the justices want to look more broadly at the McCain-Feingold Act and related laws, fundamentally reconsidering the ability of states and the federal government to restrict corporate and union election speech.

The Court ordered the parties to submit briefs on whether it should overrule as a whole or in part two seminal campaign finance cases – Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, 494 U.S. 652 (1990), and McConnell v. Federal Election Comm’n, 540 U.S. 93 (2003). In both cases, the Court allowed the government to regulate how corporations and unions can spend money to influence elections.