Category: Democracy Amendments

Does the Constitution require the result in Citizens United?

No. Citizens United v. FEC would never have been decided this way in any other era of the Court in our history. The five self-described conservatives on the current Court have cast aside a century of federal restrictions on corporate money in politics, and two centuries of First Amendment jurisprudence. The notion that a corporation has First Amendment rights to “speech” and political activity is contrary to the history, words, spirit and intent of the First Amendment and American self-government.

Read More


See Bellotti v. First National Bank of Boston, 435 U.S. 765 (1978) (invalidating Massachusetts restriction on corporate expenditures to influence voter referenda not related to corporate purpose); FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., 551 U.S. 449 (2007) (as applied to issue advocacy advertisements of non-profit corporation, federal corporate expenditure restriction held to violate First Amendment); Thompson v. Western States Med. Ctr., 535 U.S. 357 (2002) (federal restriction on advertising of compounded drugs invalidated); Lorillard v. Reilly, 533 U.S.
Read More

What did the Court decide in Citizens United?

A sharply divided Supreme Court decided that the American people are powerless to stop corporations from using corporate funds to influence state and federal elections. The 5-4 decision ruled that the restrictions on corporate expenditures in elections contained in the federal Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (known as BCRA or “McCain-Feingold”) violated the First Amendment protections of free speech.

Read More