Not since Roe v Wade in 1973 has there been a Supreme Court Case with a long lasting impact on U.S. political structure. The 2010 ruling in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case is shaping up to rather impactful, whether it will measure to historic rulings like Dred Scott v. Stanford, or Brown v. Board of education remains to be seen. Currently the ruling is still host to much opposition, especially from the Political Action Committee, but should it stand the ramification could very well alter political fabric for years to come.
The 2010 case basically redefined the First Amendment. It all went down in 2008. A conservative group wanted to show a film called Hillary: The Movie right as the democratic presidential primaries were going on. The FEC stopped them, because they redefined the film as a long political campaign ad. As Citizens United could not readily identify the funding behind the movie, which is a regulation for political propaganda, the airing of the film was halted. Citizens United promptly sued, but the FEC ruling was upheld by Federal Court.
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Fast forward to the heady days of Barack Obama’s presidency. The primaries as well as the whole election are over. The Citizens United case pops up in the Supreme Court. In a controversial 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court reversed the decision. Now free speech applies to corporations as well as individuals. This means there are little to no restrictions on the support and funding corporations can provide during an election. It has many people asking if the Supreme Court just allowed elections to be bought and sold. This was the opinion of Justice Stevens, who was among the minority vote.
A case passing by a single vote will always be controversial but in this case it became even more. The most ardent opposition stems from the Democratic side of the pool, as they see this as allowing the Republican side advantage. They hold that corporations should have restrictions, and they are not alone. Many polls advocate that John Q. American holds the same opinion, but such opinion is also a gut reaction. Corporations have always been viewed as the enemy, and the Republican side has more corporate leanings according to docquery.fec.gov. Republicans do not hold that the decision is bad, nor that they will gain favor, as this allows corporations to fund Democratic campaigns as well. The question still remains, “How much power should corporations have?”
Enter End Citizens United, founded by PAC in 2015. End Citizens United is an organization dedicated to… well… ending Citizens United. They want to overturn the ruling of Supreme Court and bring back limitations on corporation electoral support. However, End Citizens United has a lot of ground to cover. The ruling cannot be overturned so that means the Constitution itself has to be targeted. Basically, the definition of free speech must be redefined as pertaining to the individual. This takes legislation, which is why End Citizens United supports legislators that strongly advocate censure of Citizens United.