Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Decided

July 29, 2009

Whether a provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which bars unions and corporations (both for-profit and non-profit) from engaging in "electioneering communications," violates the First Amendment and should be struck down as facially unconstitutional.

Section 203 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 prohibits unions and corporations (both for-profit and non-profit) from engaging in “electioneering communications.” The legislative definition of an “electioneering communication” was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2003 and then substantially narrowed by the Supreme Court in 2007. In scheduling this case for reargument, the Court specifically requested briefs on whether section 203 should now be struck down as facially unconstitutional. The ACLU has consistently taken the position that section 203 is facially unconstitutional under the First Amendment because it permits the suppression of core political speech, and our amicus brief takes that position again.

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