Citizens United, Free at Last


In a major victory for the First Amendment and political speech, the Supreme Court has by a 5-4 vote overturned many of the worst campaign finance restrictions in federal law. From the Associated Press story:

[T]he court on Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for their own campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.

It leaves in place a prohibition on direct contributions to candidates from corporations and unions. […]

The justices also struck down part of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that barred union- and corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election campaigns.

Read the whole 183-page opinion here [PDF] (and tell us the juicy bits in the comments!). Early reaction from Cato's Ilya Shapiro. As always, the SCOTUS blog is essential reading.

Reason has written tons about the Citizens United case; start here. More on this landmark ruling throughout the day.