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Supreme Court justices question campaign finance law

At a hearing Wednesday on 'Hillary: The Movie,' conservative justices repeatedly asked whether limits on corporate contributions in federal elections are too broad and amount to censorship of free speech.

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The US Supreme Court appears poised to pare back campaign finance reform measures that sharply restrict corporate expenditures during federal campaigns.

At issue in a special hearing Wednesday was whether the court should strike down two legal precedents that bar corporations from spending their general treasury funds on political speech during campaign season.

Although it is difficult to predict how the high court may rule based solely on the questions the justices ask during oral argument, several analysts say five of the nine justices appear united in their skepticism over the two measures.

"We don't put our First Amendment rights in the hands of FEC bureaucrats," Chief Justice John Roberts said at one point, referring to staff members of the Federal Election Commission which enforces the campaign finance laws.

Three justices, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas, are on record opposing the two provisions. By the end of the 80-minute oral argument, it appeared that Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito are prepared to vote with their colleagues on the court's conservative wing.

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