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

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 • 12:15 PM • Law School 3041Duke Law Events

Join Duke University Professors Guy-Uriel Charles, Michael Munger, 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.

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