Hillary movie case could affect campaigns

Aug. 30, 2009 at 12:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court seems on the verge of bold action concerning corporate free speech in political campaigning, analysts say.

The high court has moved to cut short its summer recess to listen to re-arguments in a case concerning a documentary titled "Hillary: The Movie," in which the justices may issue a broad ruling that could have a profound effect on laws barring corporations from spending money to support or oppose candidates, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Supporters of the company that made the anti-Clinton documentary -- the conservative advocacy group Citizens United -- say the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law goes too far in regulating campaign spending by corporations and are looking for the court to overrule a 1990 decision, Austin vs. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which reinforced long-held bans on such corporate political spending, the newspaper said.

While many liberals fear overturning that law, and allowing corporate political spending, is a threat to democracy, other liberal groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, are backing the conservative group on free speech grounds, producing a bitter split among progressives, the Times said.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the re-arguments Sept. 9.

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