U.S. Supreme Court to Re-Hear Argument on the "Hillary Movie" Case
The case involves federal regulation of the political documentary titled, "Hillary, The Movie", which took a critical look at the character and career of Ms Clinton back in her pre-presidential candidate days. The documentary was produced by a conservative advocacy group; Citizens United. The issue in the case arose when the group was denied permission from the FEC to distribute the short film via "on-demand" cable services.
Re-arguments at the high court are very rare, giving rise to speculation that the Supreme Court may be getting ready to issue a momentus decision. Such a decision comes at a critical time in our history relative to government control and influence over private business.
The chief issue in the case concerns application of the McCain-Feingold law which bans the use of corporate money in elections. Some argue this restriction puts a stake in the heart of free speech; others assert that the ban is necessary to avoid a flood of corporate election funding which would corrupt and pollute our democratic process. The FEC banned the Clinton documentary on the basis it was produced, in part, with corporate profits. Direct corporate-funding of political campaigns has been banned for more than 100-years in America (Tillman Act 1907).
The case also has a Michigan connection in that it could overturn a 1990 decision of the high court, Austin vs Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which upheld restrictions on corporate spending in election campaigns.
The Supreme Court's decision to re-hear oral argument has prompted the filing of more than 40 "amicus" briefs from such disparate groups as the NRA and the ACLU. Stay tuned.