High Court May Lift Restrictions on Corporate Cash in Politics

Firms could be allowed to spend freely on ads
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2009 2:25 PM CDT

September 9 could mark a watershed in campaign finance, as the Supreme Court hears a special argument for overturning long-standing rules that restrict corporations from buying political advertisements, the Los Angeles Times reports. The court has used the case of Hillary: The Movie, a documentary that a lower courts decided fell under the definition of campaign advertising, to take on the larger issue of whether corporations should have the same right to political free speech as individuals.

If the court strikes down 1990 and 2003 rulings that limited corporate political spending, "this could take us back to the era when people referred to the senator from Standard Oil," said Trevor Potter, a former McCain campaign adviser, noting that corporate dollars could “drown out the speech of ordinary voters." Five out of nine justices have said they think the limits violate the First Amendment. The case will be Sonia Sotomayor's first.
(More campaign finance stories.)

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