Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Amicus Brief in Support of Appellant U.S. Supreme Court

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Election Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of appellant Citizens United on a supplemental question. The amicus brief urges that Citizens United’s challenge to federal regulation of electioneering communications be sustained, and the decisions in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce andMcConnell v. FEC, as applied to BCRA section 203, be overruled since they endorse an erroneous view of the freedom of speech that conflicts with Citizens United’s freedom of the press. Contrary to the assumptions in Austin and McConnell, the freedom of the press does not confer a special privilege upon the institutional press, but is enjoyed by all the people. Austin’s and McConnell’s narrow reading of the press freedom is not only contrary to history, but at odds with new realities of journalism.

Further, the amicus brief explains that BCRA section 203 violates Citizens United’s freedom of press by: (1) establishing a licensing system; (2) operating as an unconstitutional previous restraint; (3) intruding into the editorial function; (4) imposing discriminatory economic penalties and burdens; and (5) forcing the public disclosure of the names and addresses of authors and publishers.

Our amicus brief was filed on behalf of The Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, Inc., Free Speech Coalition, Inc., The Abraham Lincoln Foundation for Public Policy Research, Inc., American Values, Americans for the Preservation of Liberty, Base Connect, Inc., Michael Cloud, Concerned Women for America, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, Constitution Party, Downsize DC Foundation, DownsizeDC.org, Inc., Eberle Communications Group, Inc., English First, English First Foundation, Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Inc., Carla Howell, Institute on the Constitution, The Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, The National Center for Public Policy Research, The National Right to Work Committee, National Taxpayers Union, The Richard Norman Company, The Senior Citizens League, U.S. Border Control, U.S. Border Control Foundation, and The United States Constitutional Rights Legal Defense Fund, Inc.

Link to brief