Citizens United v. FEC (2010)

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by swraines
Last updated 4 years ago

Discipline:
Social Studies
Subject:
American History
Grade:
11

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Citizens United v. FEC (2010)

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)

The Majority Opinion:⟴ Written by Justice Anthony Kennedy⟴ In favor of Citizens United⟴"If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech."The Dissenting Opinion:⟴ Written by Justice John Paul Stevens⟴ Against Citizens United⟴ Argued that corporations are not people and therefore should not recieve the same First Amendment rights⟴ Argued there are compelling governmental interests to limit corporations' ability to spend money during local and national elections

Response to the Case:

Should corporations and unions be able to finance political campaigns?

Facts of the Case:⟴ Citizens United wanted to advertise their political film, which criticised HIllary Clinton and her career.⟴ Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) restricted their ability to fund this, required them to identify any donors, and forced them to add a disclaimer.⟴ Argued that BCRA was being applied unconstitutionally to their film because it limited their corporation's freedom of speech.

The Court's Decision:⟴Decided on January 21st, 2010⟴ 5 - 4 ruling in favor of Citizens United⟴ Court found that BCRA (section 203) violated the First Amendment by restricting free speech⟴ Decided that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limitedOur Opinion:⟴ We disagree with this decision because corporations/unions don't best represent the political views of the people. ⟴ This decision gives them too much power to influence the results of elections.⟴ This drowns out the voices of individuals. It forces politicians to cater to the needs of corporations in order to get funding, rather than the people.⟴ Corporations and unions are not people, so they don't get all of the civil liberties/rights that individuals do.

Before the Case:⟴ The Tillman Act (1907) prevented corporations from placing campaign donations.⟴ The Taft-Hartley Act expanded the ban on campaign donations to unions.⟴ The Federal Election Campaign Act (1971) required full reporting of campaign contributions and expenditures.⟴ The FECA also limited the amount of campaign spending allocated to media advertisements, although this was later declared unconstitutional.

Lasting Impact:⟴ Corporations and unions can now influence the political process by making unlimited donations to super PACs.⟴ Super PACs may not make direct contributions to specific campaigns or parties, but they can use their money to broadcast political ads.⟴ Some other nonprofits can also collect funds from corporations and unions to support political ads, as long as it's not their primary activity.⟴ Super PACs have to report their benefactors, while other nonprofits do not.⟴ Donations to both are unlimited.


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