The issue – whether campaign-reform laws unconstitutionally restrict ads for political documentaries – now goes to a three-judge panel.
With the 2008 presidential election on the horizon, the US Supreme Court on Monday summarily dismissed an appeal alleging that the free speech rights of the producers of a harshly critical political documentary were violated.
At issue was a request for a preliminary injunction by Citizens United, a conservative advocacy group that produced a documentary about Hillary Rodham Clinton called "Hillary: The Movie." The effort was patterned in part on Michael Moore's irreverent 2004 film about President Bush, "Fahrenheit 9/11."
The high court did not address the merits of the arguments. Instead, the case was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because the justices apparently felt the appeal for a preliminary injunction should have been filed first at the federal appeals court in Washington before arriving at the Supreme Court.
The action does not end the case, but it makes it less likely that the Supreme Court will rule on these issues prior to the November election.