Citizens (dis)United: A Discussion of the Recent Campaign Finance Decision

February 17, 2010Duke Law News

Join Duke University Professors Michael Munger and Neil Siegel and UNC Professor Gene Nichol for a lively panel discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Initially, the question before the Court was whether federal campaign finance laws restricting corporations and labor unions from using their general treasury funds to pay for "electioneering communications" applied to a film critical of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, which the filmmakers intended to show in theaters and on-demand to cable subscribers. Following oral argument in March of 2009, the Court took the unusual step of ordering reargument on the more fundamental question of the facial validity of these restrictions and whether it should overrule two of its most important precedents in this area, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce and parts of McConnell v. FEC. On January 21, 2010, the Court, dividing 5-4, held that the restrictions were unconstitutional and overruled Austin and parts of McConnell.

Neil Siegel
Professor of Law and Political Science
Co-Director, Program in Public Law
Duke Law School

Michael Munger
Professor and Chair, Political Science and Professor of Economics and Public Policy
Duke University

Gene Nichol
Professor of Law and Director of the Center on Poverty, Work & Opportunity
UNC School of Law

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