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Ten years ago, the Supreme Court overturned portions of a federal law that empowered government to dictate how Americans who were not connected to any candidates and political parties could practice their inherent right of free expression. It was one of the greatest free speech decisions in American history.
The case of Citizens United revolved around state efforts to ban a conservative nonprofit group from showing a critical documentary it produced of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton right before the 2008 Democratic primary elections. At the time, the McCain-Feingold Act made it illegal for corporations and labor unions to engage in "electioneering communication" one month before a primary or two months before the general election.
Words - Law - Politicians - Restrictions - Speech
Or, in other words, the law, written by politicians who function without restrictions on speech -- and applauded by much of a mass media that functions without restrictions on speech -- prohibited Americans from pooling their resources and engaging in the most vital form of expression at the most important time, in the days leading up to an election.
"By taking the right to speak from some and giving it to others," Justice Anthony Kennedy would write for the majority, "the Government deprives the disadvantaged person or class of the right to use speech to strive to establish worth, standing, and respect for the speaker's voice."
Decision - President - Barack - Obama - Justices
Right after the decision, President Barack Obama famously rebuked the Justices during his State of the Union for upholding the First Amendment, arguing that the Supreme Court had "reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign corporations -- to spend without limit in our elections."
Not a word of what he said was true.
First - Court - Century - Law - Age
First of all, the court hadn't overturned a century of law (though the age of the law bears absolutely no relevance to...
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