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January 21 2010

A Victory for Free Speech

Nicole Kurokawa Neily

The Supreme Court released its decision in Citizens United v. FEC today, a landmark campaign finance case that has been on the SCOTUS docket since last term. For a quick overview of the case, I recommend this great video by Caleb Brown and Austin Bragg of the Cato Institute.

From the Washington Post:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that corporations may spend as freely as they like to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on business efforts to influence federal campaigns.

By a 5-4 vote, the court overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said companies can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to produce and run their own campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.

It leaves in place a prohibition on direct contributions to candidates from corporations and unions.

In striking down existing campaign finance laws - including a portion of the McCain-Feingold Act - the Supreme Court has reaffirmed that contributions are a form of political speech - and should be protected accordingly. In addition, they have acknowledged that independent expenditures by corporations and unions should be treated the same as those from individuals. As much as the administration loves to demonize "big business," at the end of the day, corporations are, in fact, made up of individuals (!) - and should not be singled out for persecution.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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