Friday, October 17, 2008
Supreme Court Case Brought by Anti-Choice Group Paved Way for Corporate- and Union-Sponsored Political Ads
PaperTrail (Center for Public Integrity): ELECTION ’08: Supreme Court Ruling Looms Large in ’08 Political Ads, by Marianne Lavelle:
Wonder why you’re seeing so much corporate- and union-sponsored political advertising this election cycle? You have the anti-abortion movement to thank for it.
The group Wisconsin Right to Life paved the way last year when it won a Supreme Court challenge striking down a key provision of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law on First Amendment grounds. Under that law, corporations and labor unions were barred from running so-called issue ads on television or radio within 60 days of a general election if the spots mentioned a candidate’s name. But on June 25, 2007, Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for a 5-4 majority, agreed with the anti-abortion group that this portion of the law represented an unconstitutional restriction on free speech. As long as the ads in question don’t explicitly urge voters how to vote, they should be allowed, he wrote.