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Response to jodymarie aimee (Original post)

Wed Oct 31, 2018, 06:59 PM

6. 'Summarizing,'

'In 2002, Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), widely known as the McCain-Feingold Act, after its original sponsors, Senators John McCain of Arizona and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin.

In one of its key provisions, Section 203, the BCRA prevented corporations or labor unions from using their general treasuries to fund “electioneering communications,” or radio, TV or satellite broadcasts that refer to a candidate for federal office within 60 days before a general election and within 30 days of a primary election.


In 2008, the conservative nonprofit organization Citizens United sought an injunction against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., in order to prevent the application of the BCRA to its documentary Hillary: The Movie.

The film, which the group wanted to broadcast and advertise before that year’s primary elections, strongly criticized Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, then a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. . .

According to Citizens United, Section 203 of the BCRA violated the First Amendment right to free speech both on its face and as it applied to Hillary: The Movie, and other BCRA provisions regarding disclosures of funding and clear identification of sponsors were also unconstitutional.

The U.S. District Court ruled against Citizens United on all counts, citing the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in McConnell vs. FEC (2003), an earlier challenge to campaign finance regulation brought by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell. That ruling upheld the constitutionality of the BCRA’s Section 203 on its face. . .

The U.S. District Court also held that Hillary: The Movie amounted to “express advocacy or its functional equivalent,” as required by another Supreme Court decision, in Federal Election Commission vs. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. (2003), because it attempted to inform voters that Clinton was unfit for office. Because of this, the court ruled, Section 203 was not unconstitutionally applied.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the lower court’s decision, and heard the first oral arguments in Citizens United vs. FEC in March 2009. While initially the Court expected to rule on narrower grounds related to the film itself, it soon asked the parties to file additional briefs addressing whether it should reconsider all or part of two previous verdicts, McConnell vs. FEC and Austin vs. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990).



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