Professor Valerie Baehl
15 November 2012
Citizens United the Death Knell of Democracy
In 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on the Federal Elections Commission v. Citizens United, a case that will have drastic effects on our political system. Large corporations and labor unions will now have unprecedented influence over America’s national, state, and local elections. If Congress does not overturn the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United then, as a result, the decision has the potential to lead to political corruption, the increase of voter apathy, and the drowning out of third party ideas. Soon our country’s political system will no longer work for the good of its citizens, but rather be beholden to whomever has the most money to contribute.
The Supreme Court decision on the Citizens United case is one of the most devastating court decisions in our country’s history, but many people know little to nothing about the landmark case. Citizens United is a conservative non-profit organization, and in 2008 they attempted to violate federal campaign laws by distributing a documentary critical of Sen. Hillary Clinton. The law Citizens Untied violated was the part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act that prohibits, “Broadcast advertisements mentioning a candidate within 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election” (par. 19). As a result, the Federal Election Commission blocked the film and Citizens United sued on the grounds that it violated their first amendment right to free speech; however, Citizens United lost the case in Federal Court, but they appealed and the case went before the Supreme Court.
The question proposed before the court was whether Citizens United should have been allowed to show the Clinton documentary. According to Adam Liptak, a political columnist for The New York Times, “Instead, the court addressed the questions it proposed to the parties in June when it...