Hillary: The Movie: The Lawsuit

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Stacy McCain catches the GOP (sort of) frontrunner making life easier for the Democratic (sort of) frontrunner, as McCain-Feingold trips up the release of an anti-Hillary documentary.

"Hillary: The Movie" is "a political documentary like Michael Moore or Al Gore has made," said James Bopp, who went to federal court last week to represent the movie's producers. Yet the conservative group Citizens United, which produced the Clinton film, must "go to court to get permission to advertise the film… because of McCain-Feingold," he said.

[T]he 2002 law that regulates campaign advertising could require the film's producers to disclose the names of their donors and to insert a disclaimer in ads for the movie.

The disclaimer provision of the law poses a difficulty because some ads for the film are only 10 seconds long, Mr. Bopp told The Washington Times

"Our position is we're not going to run a 10-second ad that the government requires 4.2 seconds for a disclaimer," he said.

Stephanie Mencimer argues that the judge who'll cast the swing vote on this is no Clinton ally (Royce C. Lamberth "allowed Judicial Watch bulldog Larry Klayman to depose scores of White House staffers in lawsuits most judges would have quickly dismissed") but that he tried to laugh the Citizens United case out of court.

Attorney James Bopp argued that they should be considered "issue-oriented" speech because viewers aren't urged to vote for or against the Democrat.

"What's the issue?" asked Judge A. Raymond Randolph, a federal appeals judge sitting on a mixed panel to review the case.

"That Hillary Clinton is a European Socialist," Bopp replied. "That is an issue."

"Which has nothing to do with her campaign?" U.S District Judge Royce C. Lamberth interjected.

"Not specifically, no," Bopp replied.

"Once you say, 'Hillary Clinton is a European Socialist,' aren't you saying vote against her?"

Bopp disagreed because the movie did not use the word "vote."

"Oh, that's ridic…" Lamberth said, trailing off and ending the line of questioning.

I don't know that it's so ridic. "X is a European Socialist" isn't the same as "you must vote against X"–lots of people like European Socialists. Most of them live in New England and California. Also, whether or not you say "vote for X" is a big part of campaign finance pedantry, which is why the third-party ads that invest your screen say things like "call Mike Huckabee, tell him tax hikes are for sissies" instead of "vote against Mike Huckabee."

So Citizens United should be allowed to run ads for the movie and get the whole thing screened in whatever theatres want it. The problem is that they didn't always feel this way about political films. In 2004, the group filed a formal complaint with the FEC to stop ads for Fahrenheit 9/11. CU head David Bossie explained himself at the time:

All we want is Michael Moore to follow the law. McCain-Feingold limits my free speech as well as Michael Moore's.

Bossie's work would be a little easier if he'd believed in the First Amendment as strongly then as he does now.

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  1. SLD#7: Anyone should be allowed to put out any movie they want.

    That being said, this is just more of the red team/blue team crap that is destroying the country.

    I want to hear all the Right-wingers, who decried Clinton for “building a legacy” during his last year, go after Bush for this new Peace in the Mid-East future-debacle.

    As long as our guys are doing it, it’s OK.

  2. It’d be cool if the judge ruled that all Americans must see it a la Coupon: The Movie

  3. She used the coupon! And it was a movie!

  4. as McCain-Feingold trips up the release of an anti-Hillary documentary.

    But that’s impossib… oh, right, this is political speech.

    Congress shall make no law…

  5. “Once you say, ‘Hillary Clinton is a European Socialist,’ aren’t you saying vote against her?”

    From where I stand this could be an advertisement for Hillary, depending on the audience.

  6. “Once you say, ‘Hillary Clinton is a European Socialist,’ aren’t you saying vote against her?”

    Heh. at least we know the judge is coming from the right place. he could be like me (a future attorney meself) and think we all just learn through the Socratic method.

  7. Bopp is being consistent. He wants the same treatment before the law for his political film as Michael Moore got for his.

    His position basically is: Moore didn’t have to comply with MF to promote his film, and neither should I.

    Michael Moore – friend of liberty! Ol’ Mikey could earn a chit in my book by weighing in on this (snerk) is support of CU.

  8. I think this is less hypocrisy and more “so then, I can do this, too.”

  9. Goddamit. Is it like “defend the crazy right-winger in the name of free speech”-day here at Reason?

  10. While I am sensitive to the difference between saying someone is (insert derogatory reference — “socialist” is pejorative even to most liberals), and not to vote for someone, it really doesn’t seem to hold up when the epithet is something most people would not vote for, and when applying it has no rationale except to influence voting.

    By the way, although socialists are allowed to be US President, Europeans aren’t. So the statement was that HRC lacks the most rudimentary of qualifications to be President. Compare to a similar but flattering statement: Hillary is not yet 35 years of age. The effect is the same.

    The New Republic released its statement that “Ron Paul” is a racist” the day of the NH primary, where he was expected to do well. Regardless of the merits of McCain-Feingold, your argument supposes that RP was going to crash and burn regardless. Is this true?

  11. Goddamit. Is it like “defend the crazy right-winger in the name of free speech”-day here at Reason?

    reason WAS on the Paul bandwagon recently.

  12. I think Clinton should be able to have a movie that suggests that McCain really is a Manchurian candidate, so I don’t think left or right-wing comes into it. Freedom o’ Speech–it’s finger-lickin’ good!

  13. Ol’ Mikey could earn a chit in my book by weighing in on this (snerk) is support of CU.

    He will undoubtedly fuck it up.

    Which is fine by me. I’d prefer he stay off my side.

  14. Goddamit. Is it like “defend the crazy right-winger in the name of free speech”-day here at Reason?

    And tomorrow it’ll be “defend the crazy left-winger in the name of free speech”-day.

    We like to mix it up.

  15. So who should the European Socialists vote for? And will it be the same candidate that the Cosmotarians support? Paleoquisitive minds want to know!

  16. …friend of liberty! Ol’ Mikey could earn a chit in my book by weighing in on this (snerk) is support of CU.

    RC, Michael Moore can’t weigh in. They don’t make scales with that many numbers!

    [rimshot]

  17. Is it like “defend the crazy right-winger in the name of free speech”-day here at Reason?

    “[T]ruth is great and will prevail if left to herself; … she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate; errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.”

    — another “crazy right-winger”

  18. another “crazy right-winger”

    Oh, good. Another pseudo-intellectual with no sense of humor.

    Dude, no one said that defense of free speech was a crazy right-w….ahh, fuck it, if you didn’t have reading skills up until now, why delude ourselves?

  19. Wee! I love it when people can’t take a joke!

  20. “RC, Michael Moore can’t weigh in. They don’t make scales with that many numbers!”

    Sure they do – they’re the ones that have their own interstate offramps and the signs that say “All trucks must stop”.

  21. Hillary: The Toilet Paper
    Hillary: The Flamethrower
    Hillary: The Talking Doll
    Hillary: The Lunch Box

    How come no one told me my ass was so big?!

  22. I think comparing the style of your documentary to Michael Moore’s warrants it being dismissed entirely. Eh?

  23. Wee! I love it when people can’t take a joke!

    I love it when jokes are funny, but the usual cosmopolitan banality on display here is making me — Yawn — ZzZz.

  24. I mean, really, did I wonder into the Daily Kos by mistake.

    Insulting right wingers, and then after one of the knuckle draggers becomes defensive, stating ‘don’t you get a joke, don’t you understand satire, what is it about irony that you are so bereft of it, yadda fladda smadda’, is really nothing more than a rhetorical tactic lacking substance.

    It occurs so often on left wing and some right
    wing site so often in the post you ought to be able to easily recognize it and avoid it.

    Reason deserves better that this sort of sophistry.

  25. t occurs so often on left wing and some right
    wing site so often in the post you ought to be able to easily recognize it and avoid it.

    Reason deserves better that this sort of sophistry.

    Reason deserves editing skills better than what I offer, but that is another story.

  26. Don’t people know that a lawsuit against a media eventonly PROMOTES whatever it is?

  27. Ayn_Randian

    Oh, good. Another pseudo-intellectual with no sense of humor.

    Hey, I just flew in from Galt’s Gulch — and boy are my arms tired!

    Whooo, tough room! But seriously, folks … Wesley Mouch, what’s up with that guy, huh?

  28. PRAISE CLINTON AND GORE WITH PLEASURE

    GDP–rose from 6,300 to 11,600
    NATIONAL INCOME-5,000 to 8,000 Billion–
    JOBS CREATED-237,000 per month to replace Jimmy Carter record
    of 218,000.
    AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS–$360 to $478
    AVERAGE WEEKLY HOURS WORKED–never hit 35.0–hit that mark 4
    times in 80’s
    UNEMPLOYMENT–from 7.2% down down down to as low as 3.9%
    MINIMUM WAGE–$4.25 to $5.15
    MINORITIES–did exceedingly well
    HOME OWNERSHIP–hit all time high (no big deal most can say
    this-except Reagan)
    DEFICIT–290 Billion to whoopee a SURPLUS
    DEBT—-+28%—300% increase over prior 12 years by
    Conservatives.
    FEDERAL SPENDING–+28%—+80% under Reagan- who is da true
    conservative?
    DOW JONES AVERAGE-3,500 to 11,720 top in 2000. All it’s
    history to get to 3500 and Clinton zooms it
    NASDAQ–700 to 5,000 top in 2000.—All of it’s history to
    get to 700 and Clinton zooms it
    VALUES INDEXES– almost all bad went down–good went up in
    zoom zoom zoom
    FOREIGN AFFAIRS–Peace on Earth good will toward each
    other—Mark of a true Christian–what has Bush done to Peace
    on Earth?
    POPULARITY—highest poll ratings in history during peacetime
    in AFRICA, ASIA AND EUROPE . Even 98.5% in Moscow–left
    office with Highest Gallup rating since it was started in
    1920’s.
    STAND UP FOR JUSTICE–evil conservatives spent $110,000,000
    on hearings and investigations and caught one very evil man
    who took a few plane rides to events.
    BOW YOUR HEADS-“Thank you God for sending us a man of Bill
    Clinton’s character, intelligence, knowledge of governance,
    ability to face up to crises without whimpering and a great
    leader of the world. Amen”.

    THANK YOU GOD FOR THE GOOD TIMES THE CLINTON YEARS.

  29. Love the movie plot with good comic timing and serious topic discussion

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