Citizens United v. FEC

Citizens United is a conservative non-profit organization that produced a documentary movie highly critical of then-candidate Hillary Clinton. The group wanted to distribute the move via video-on-demand technology, and run ads promoting the movie. The FEC ruled that they could not, under the electioneering communications sections of McCain-Feingold, air commercials promoting the movie or distribute the movie via video-on-demand technology. Citizens United appealed, and in June 2009 the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would re-hear oral arguments in the case specifically on the issue of whether they should overturn Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, a 1990 decision permitting bans on independent expenditures in campaigns by corporations and unions. Oral arguments were held on September 9, 2009.

 

On January 21, 2010 in an unusual special session, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Citizens United. It is a transformative which restores the First Amendment rights of businesses, unions and nonprofit advocacy groups to participate in campaigns.

It’s an extraordinary win for free political speech rights by speakers of all stripes.

 

Court Filings and Rulings

Citizens United
Citizens United brief Citizens United supplemental brief
Citizens United reply brief Citizens United supplemental reply brief
FEC
FEC brief FEC supplemental brief
FEC supplemental reply brief

Amici Briefs

Briefs in Support of Citizens United
CCP Amicus Brief Cato Institute Amicus Brief
Alliance Defense Fund Amicus Brief American Civil Rights Union Amicus Brief
Committee for Truth in Politics Amicus Brief Foundation for Free Expression Amicus Brief
Institute for Justice Amicus Brief Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Amicus Brief
US Chamber of Commerce Amicus Brief Wyoming Liberty Group and Goldwater Institute Amicus Brief
Briefs in Support of FEC
Senator John McCain, Senator Russell Feingold, et al Amicus Brief Center for Political Accountability and the Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research Amicus Brief

Supplemental Amici Briefs

Briefs in Support of Neither Party
Independent Sector Supplemental Amici Brief Hachette Book Group, Inc. and HarperCollins Publishers LLC Supplemental Amicus Brief
Former officials of the ACLU supplemental Amicus Brief State Attorney Generals supplemental Amicus Brief
Briefs in Support of Citizens United
CCP Amicus Brief Cato Institute Amicus Brief
ACLU Amicus Brief AFL-CIO Amicus Brief
NRA Amicus Brief Seven former FEC Chairmen and one former FEC Commissioner Amicus Brief
American Civil Rights Union Amicus Brief American Justice Partnership Amicus Brief
Alliance Defense Fund Amicus Brief California Broadcasters Association Amicus Brief
Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence Amicus Brief California First Amendment Coalition Amicus Brief
Campaign Finance Scholars Amicus Brief Fidelis Center Amicus Brief
Former FEC Commisioners Amicus Brief Free Speech Defense and Education Fund Amicus Brief
Institute for Justice Amicus Brief Judicial Watch Amicus Brief
Senator Mitch McConnell Amicus Brief Pacific Legal Foundation Amicus Brief
Reporters Committee Amicus Brief US Chamber of Commerce Amicus Brief
Wyoming Liberty Group, et al Amicus Brief
Briefs in support of FEC
American Independent Business Alliance Amicus Brief Center for Independent Media, Brennan Center for Justice, et al Amicus Brief
Committee for Economic Development Amicus Brief Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21, et al Amicus Brief
Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy et al Amicus Brief Center for Political Accountability and the Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School Amicus Brief
DNC Amicus Brief Justice at Stake Amicus Brief
League of Women’s Voters Amicus Brief Senator John McCain Amicus Brief
Norman Ornstein Amicus Brief The Sunlight Foundation Amicus Brief
Rep. Chris Van Hollen. David Price, Michael Castle, and John Le
wis Amicus Brief
Brief of Public Good in support of FEC

Blogs

CCP: Citizens United: The reform community reverses itself on the importance of precedent (9/22/09)
CCP: Professor Winkler Weighs in on Citizens United (9/24/2009)