The U.S. Supreme Court today struck a blow for the First Amendment. In a 5-4 ruling, significant parts of the campaign finance law popularly known as McCain-Feingold were judged unconstitutional. In particular, it was affirmed that the government cannot restrict corporate or union spending for or against candidates in Presidential and Congressional elections. The justices also eliminated the part that barred corporations from paying for their own ads out of their general treasuries.
Ruling: Reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded. Austin v. Mich is overruled, as is part of McConnell v. FEC. Stevens, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Breyer dissent. The majority opinion by Justice Kennedy is 57 pages, and Justice Stevens’ partial dissent is 90 pages long.
As Marco Rubio, senatorial candidate from Florida, put it:
Our political system is at its best when candidates, campaigns and voters focus on ideas, issues and principles. Unfortunately, our citizens’ right to free speech and to participate in the political process has been undermined for years by McCain-Feingold and similar laws. The best way to ensure our political system is less reliant on money is not to pass laws which infringe on fundamental rights, but rather to elect leaders who value policy and principles over politics and special interests. Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a victory for those who truly value the freedoms outlined in our First Amendment.
For more info, visit CitizensUnited.