Monthly Archives: December 2012

Citizens United Ruling Part 1

by Barb

Overturning the Citizens United decision via constitutional amendment is a goal of Citizens for Truth as well as groups such as Rootstrikers and Move to Amend. To present our case against Citizens United, it is important for us to understand the reasoning behind both the majority and the minority opinions of the court, especially since it was a partisan 5-4 decision (as mentioned in a previous post).

This is the first part of a series of posts outlining the 7 major questions considered by the Supreme Court in making its decision and the majority and minority opinions for each. Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in the Citizens United case, and Justice Stevens wrote the minority opinion.

The first question addresses free speech: “Should Government ration, control, or limit speech for the sake of democracy?” Continue reading

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Citizens United Introduction

The Supreme Court’s ruling in  Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) has been credited with damaging our democracy due to its treatment of corporations as “persons” with the same rights, including free speech, of individuals. The case originally addressed “electioneering communications,” defined by the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA or McCain-Feingold) as broadcast ads that clearly identify a federal candidate, are targeted to the candidate’s electorate and are broadcast within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election. The non-profit group Citizens United had planned to offer (through video on demand) a political documentary, Hillary: The Movie (with similar motives to the political documentary about Obama, 2016), less than 30 days before the 2008 primaries. Because of BCRA, the federal government stopped them, and the case went to court.

In 2009, the case ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Citizens United group wanted a decision on a narrow question: did the BCRA’s rules on electioneering communications apply to their situation? Continue reading