A Triumph for Political Speech
The United States Supreme Court has come under fire in recent decades for what many critics have condemned as a hunger to subsume thepolicymaking functions of Congress and the executive branch. But this January, the Court rocked the political landscape by performing what is indisputably its core function: serving as the constitutional guardian of fundamental rights that elected leaders have blithely disregarded in pursuit of political advantage or in the name of a misbegotten policy goal.
In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Court struck down a key provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002—commonly known by the monikers of its two principal authors, “McCain–Feingold.” The provision in question “prohibits corporations and unions from using their general treasury funds” to make independent expenditures for speech that either is an “electioneering communication” or that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a candidate.
About the Author
Jennifer Rubin, COMMENTARY’S contributing editor, writes daily for our blog, Contentions. Her most recent article for the magazine was “Going After Joe Lieberman” (March 2010).