Supreme Court Decision in 'Citizens United v. FEC' Empowers New Citizen Action
The decision handed down in 'Citizens United' opens the door for our work. It is a 'game changer'.
We should be emboldened by this Supreme Court decision. We should also use it as a blueprint. It is time to follow our President’s example in at least one way, by becoming 'community organizers.'
The non-profit organization for which the case is named describes itself this way: “Citizens United is an organization dedicated to restoring our government to citizens' control. Through a combination of education, advocacy, and grass roots organization, Citizens United seeks to reassert the traditional American values of limited government, freedom of enterprise, strong families, and national sovereignty and security. Citizens United's goal is to restore the founding fathers' vision of a free nation, guided by the honesty, common sense, and good will of its citizens.”
In January of 2008 Citizens United released a documentary on then candidate Hillary Clinton entitled Hillary, the Movie. It intended to release the production within thirty days of the primary election through Video on Demand. It also wanted to run advertisements on television to call attention to the message. Concerned that such an activity would be considered a violation of the campaign finance “reform” Citizens United sought what is called declaratory relief from the Court. Otherwise, it ran the risk of facing criminal charges.
The “FEC” (Federal Election Commission) had determined that Citizens United’s desire to offer the documentary to cable stations for on-demand play violated the “McCain-Feingold” campaign finance law. The group determined that what was at stake was the right of the people to participate freely in the election process. So, they used the controversy as a vehicle to set up the course of events which led to the landmark decision handed down on Thursday, January 21, 2010.
This association asked the US Supreme Court to overrule itself and strike down the most significant restrictions imposed on what is called “corporate” free speech. Remember, “Non-Profits”, the vehicle used by many in our cause, are also corporations. Citizens United contended that the statutory scheme regulating political speech is a violation of the Free Speech clause contained within the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The Supreme Court used this case to rule on the constitutionality of restrictions imposed on political speech and expenditures by corporations, associations and organizations through campaign-finance laws. To the shock of some observers, the US Supreme Court reversed itself and overruled the central provisions of “campaign finance reform”. Within minutes of the decision the reactions and the posturing began. The Obama administration called for legislative action to undo the impact of the ruling. However, there is little chance that such an effort will succeed.
The well written majority opinion traces the confused labyrinth of cases and statutes which act to restrict corporate/organizational speech and expenditures related to it. Many observers felt the Court would not overrule itself but use a narrow ground to somehow remedially approach the issue. The majority opinion states the standard for such a rare action as overruling past holdings, “Our precedent is to be respected unless the most convincing of reasons demonstrates that adherence to it puts us on a course that is sure error….”
The fact that the Court overruled its prior decisions is very significant to anyone who has set their sites on overturning Roe v Wade and engaging in the kind of massive political action such a result will require. We must persuade the Court to reverse Roe and Doe. This will take massive organizational development as well as effective and sustained political and legal activism. It will also take a lot of money. In addition, we must encourage candidates to run for office who recognize the fundamental human right to life, oppose those who do not and pressure those who waver.
The Anti-Life decisions of Roe and its companion case Doe reached into what the Court called the penumbra of the Constitution in order to manufacture an utterly indefensible and incomprehensible judicial holding. The result was far more egregious than the holding overruled by this decision. By Judicial Fiat, the Roe Court “removed” the Right to Life of millions of our fellow human persons and first neighbors. They then, in effect, placed the Police Power of the State behind protecting their killers.
Roe is grounded in faulty history, relied upon disproven junk “science” and rejected both the Natural Law and the Equal protection Clause of the US Constitution. Its flawed reasoning cries out for reversal. ...
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