Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi

This appeal of a declaratory judgment by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America involves the First Amendment and state regulation of political advertisements aired shortly before the election for members of the Mississippi Supreme Court. During the 2000 election season, the Chamber ran four television commercials describing the background and qualifications of candidates seeking positions on the court. The defendant state officials initiated a review of the advertisements to determine whether they were subject to a Mississippi statute that requires the disclosure of “independent expenditures” that “expressly advocate” the election or defeat of a specific candidate. In response, the Chamber sought a declaratory judgment that its advertisements were not subject to the disclosure law. The district court, in a thoughtful and reasoned opinion, held that the advertisements were subject to state regulation because reasonable minds could not differ that the advertisements advocate the election of the specified candidates.

The Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment permits regulation of political advertisements, but only if they expressly advocate the election or defeat of a specific candidate. There is some disagreement, however, concerning the standard to be applied in determining whether a given advertisement contains “express advocacy.” Today we follow most Courts of Appeal that have considered the issue. We hold that a state may regulate a political advertisement only if the advertisement advocates in express terms the election or defeat of a candidate. Applying this rule to the present case, we conclude that the Chamber’s advertisements do not expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate. This is true because the advertisements do not contain explicit terms advocating specific electoral action by viewers. As a consequence, the advertisements are not subject to mandatory disclosure requirements for independent campaign expenditures. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the district court.

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

More From ALM

Premium Subscription

With this subscription you will receive unlimited access to high quality, online, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry. This is perfect for attorneys licensed in multiple jurisdictions or for attorneys that have fulfilled their CLE requirement but need to access resourceful information for their practice areas.
View Now

Team Accounts

Our Team Account subscription service is for legal teams of four or more attorneys. Each attorney is granted unlimited access to high quality, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry along with administrative access to easily manage CLE for the entire team.
View Now

Bundle Subscriptions

Gain access to some of the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with our 2 bundle options! Our Compliance bundles are curated by CLE Counselors and include current legal topics and challenges within the industry. Our second option allows you to build your bundle and strategically select the content that pertains to your needs. Both options are priced the same.
View Now

Georgia Legal Awards 2022 (GALA)

June 23, 2022
Atlanta, GA

The Daily Report is honoring those attorneys and judges who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession in Georgia.

Learn More

Pennsylvania Legal Awards 2022 (PALA)

June 29, 2022

The Legal Intelligencer honors lawyers leaving a mark on the legal community in Pennsylvania with their dedication to law.

Learn More

Elite Trial Lawyers 2022 (ETL)

July 14, 2022
New York, NY

The National Law Journal Elite Trial Lawyers recognizes U.S.-based law firms performing exemplary work on behalf of plaintiffs.

Learn More


McGovern Legal Services, LLC seeks an attorney to join our team at our North Brunswick office working with Condominium Associations, Homeown...

Apply Now ›

Commercial Finance Associate (Flexible location)

Duane Morris LLP seeks two commercial finance associates to join its strong and growing 190+ lawyer Corporate Practice Group. The ideal cand...

Apply Now ›

Public Finance Associate

Cozen O Connor seeks an attorney with at least four years of experience to join the firm s growing multi-state Public Finance practice. This...

Apply Now ›



Lawrence Law LLC congratulates Jeralyn Lawrence, Esq. on her upcoming installation as President of the New Jersey State Bar Association

View Announcement ›



RAYNES & LAWN is Proud to Welcome Next Generation to the Firm

View Announcement ›