At stake in a case it will re-hear Wednesday is whether corporations and unions should enjoy the same rights to political speech as individuals.
The US Supreme Court this week takes up a potential crossroads case that could greatly expand the ability of corporations and labor unions to wield influence in federal elections.
The high court on Wednesday is re-hearing a case it heard last spring involving a Federal Election Commission (FEC) effort to block an unflattering 90-minute video portrait of Hillary Rodham Clinton. She was then running for the Democratic presidential nomination. The film was called, "Hillary: The Movie."
The FEC said the film was the equivalent of an electioneering attack advertisement and thus could be regulated under the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The conservative nonprofit group that produced the film, Citizens United, charged that the FEC's actions amounted to unconstitutional suppression of political speech.
"Hillary: The Movie" is a documentary, the group said, not a political advertisement.
The case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, asks a fundamental question: Whether corporations and labor unions have the same protected First Amendment free speech rights as individuals to engage in political debate during elections without facing government censorship.