One year ago today, on January 21, the United States Supreme Court released its decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
David Bossie – from Citizens United – reminisces about the US Supreme Court’s ruling:
The decision corrected an anomaly in campaign finance law, and in doing so was a tremendous victory for the First Amendment and Americans who wish to participate in our political process.
The case found its origins in 2007 when my group, Citizens United, a membership organization, sought to promote, distribute, and broadcast via video-on-demand a film critical of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. If Citizens United would have done so, we were told by the FEC that it would have been a willful violation of the provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 (better known as “McCain-Feingold”) which prohibited corporations from making independent expenditures and electioneering communications. This violation was not merely subject to a civil fine, but rather a criminal penalty – I personally would have been sent to jail for promoting the film. Citizens United filed a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission to defend our right to promote and broadcast the film. It took more than two years, but the First Amendment protection of political speech was restored by the Supreme Court in this landmark ruling.
All this ruling did was uphold the right to engage in free speech and the right to freely associate. The last time I checked, that was one of the key principles this great Nation was built upon. Those who attack this ruling are just doing it because their political agenda is under attack. In their minds, the end justifies the means. They feel it is okay to spit on the 1st Amendment as long as it protects incumbents favored by big labor and their far-left allies. Fortunately for our country, the United Citizens v. FEC ruling allows it so that will no longer happen.
January 21, 2010 was a great day.
*UPDATE* – January 21, 2011 – 4:30 PM
The Cato Institute put together a great video on what truly was/remains at stake: