Today, the federal courts ruled once again to expand free speech rights by striking down government-imposed restrictions on participation in political campaigns. Citizens’ groups have now been freed to speak out in elections thanks to a unanimous “en banc” ruling today by all nine active judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. This is the first major application of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, which expanded the free speech rights of corporations and unions to participate in elections.
Holding that, under Citizens United, “the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting contributions to an independent expenditure group,” Chief Judge David Sentelle, in an opinion joined by all eight other judges on the D.C. Circuit, struck down federal campaign finance laws that made it practically impossible for new and independent groups of individuals to join together and advocate for the election or defeat of political candidates.
“This is a tremendous victory for free speech,” said Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Steve Simpson, who argued the case before the D.C. Circuit. “This decision ensures that all Americans can band together to make their voices heard during elections.”
More at Scotusblog and Wapo.