Issue ads, McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform and free speech arguments will be heard by the US Supreme Court today, all in one Wisconsin case.
During the 2004 elections.. Wisconsin Right to Life tried to run some ads. At the time, the US Senate was blocking President Bush's judicial nominees with a filibuster.
Right to Life's Barbara Lyons says even though Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold was up for re-election, the ad was not about him. She says it was a grassroots lobbying effort to get people to contact their senators about stopping the filibuster and giving judges a yes or no vote.
But the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law says you can't run issue ads that mention a candidates name sixty days before a general election. But the ads did. "contact Senators Feingold and Kohl and tell them to oppose the filibuster."
So, rather than go to jail as the law states, Right to Life filed suit to overturn that section of McCain-Feingold.
Lower courts have upheld the Wisconsin group's case. But the federal Election Commission appealed to the Supreme Court.
A Supreme Court ruling later this year could have a profound impact on the millions pumped into issue ads every election year.