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A Response to the Citizens United Opinion

Summary:

  • The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC has extended  the doctrine of   “corporate personhood” to offer corporations the full protection of fundamental rights, like freedom of speech, under the First Amendment.
  • The Court’s rationale relies on false suppositions about the Founders’ motivations, the nature of inalienable rights, and the characteristics of free association under the Constitution.
  • The New Textualists on the Court are among the Majority, despite holding views about the nature of collective speech which seem to conflict with one of the decision’s central premises.
  • The Court’s decision will serve to diminish the public trust in government and to ensure the continued hegemony of the wealthy elite in American political life.


This article is by Tom Carroll, a 2L at Chicago-Kent.

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n has generated tremendous controversy among laymen, scholars and lawyers.  The Court struck down a federal law prohibiting corporations and unions from spending money on “electioneering communication” within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election.  It overturned precedents established in McConnell v. Federal Election Comm’n and Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce.  The Court applied a rigid strict scrutiny, holding that the law violates free speech and association rights under the First Amendment.

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