Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission. While there will be no red carpet, “Hillary: The Movie” makes its debut in front of the nine justices as Citizens United argues that the 90-minute anti-Hillary movie, which aired when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was then a Democratic presidential candidate, did not violate the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.
Citizens United argues that the movie is not a political ad but instead a documentary that viewers must seek out to watch, and therefore not subject to federal election law. At the lower court, a three judge panel concurred that the movie is indeed a political ad that spoke to candidate Clinton’s qualifications for office. Citizens United appealed to the Supreme Court. Today’s oral arguments will, among other things, pit the journalistic exceptions in federal election law against the Federal Election Commission’s role of governing political advertisements and its progeny of related issues. This will prove to be a very interesting First Amendment challenge for the Roberts court, which Alliance for Justice and the regulated community will follow closely.
March 24, 2009