In a dramatic upheaval that sharply divided the Supreme Court, a 5-4 majority ruled Thursday that under the First Amendment Congress may not bar corporations and unions from using their own money to make independent expenditures to support or oppose candidates for office.

The court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruled that the ban on direct corporate expenditures before elections, with criminal penalties, is a powerful chill on legitimate political speech. “Its purpose and effect are to silence entities whose voices the government deems to be suspect,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority. “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.”

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]