On January 21st, the Supreme Court announced the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
holding that a corporation’s right under the First Amendment to attack a political candidate required the Court to invalidate both federal and state prohibitions on corporate expenditures for political purposes. Within seconds the tweets, e-mails, phone calls and wire reports flooded the airwaves.
The next day, The New York Times ran an editorial entitled The Court’s Blow to Democracy
which began: “With a single, disastrous 5 to 4 ruling, the Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber baron era of the 19th century”. On the same day the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial entitled A Free Speech Landmark, Campaign-finance reform meets the Constitution
, which began: “Freedom has had its best week in many years. … yesterday the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision supporting free political speech by overturning some of Congress`s more intrusive limits on election spending”.
So, is Citizens United v. FEC a landmark decision in favor of free speech or a sad day for democracy in America?
Regardless of what one thinks about the decision- one thing is clear: It changes the rules on corporate expenditures in state and federal elections and anyone involved in any way in elections needs to know exactly what the decision says.
Join our panel of election law experts and learn what the decision says, what it does not say and the practical ramifications of the decision for anyone running for office, advising candidates and/or contributors, lobbyists, or political organizations.
- Analysis of the decision – the opinion of the Court, the concurrences and the dissents.
- What it changes.
- What it does not change.
- Practical implications for candidates running in the mid-term federal elections, the 2010 Pennsylvania primary and general elections and next year’s Pennsylvania judicial elections.
- What political issues the Court likely will next address
- Political expenditure guidelines for business corporations, not-for-profit social welfare corporations, and trade associations
- Potential federal and state statutory responses
Recorded during a live webcast in February 2010.