What began as a case over whether federal election laws could be applied to an available-on-demand video during the 2008 presidential campaign has moved to the U.S. Supreme Court – and could have far reaching consequences.
Mike McCabe with the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign warns that efforts to reign in campaign spending and increase transparency are in danger at the U.S. Supreme Court. “A negative ruling in this case would destroy all those efforts,” says McCabe. “It would cement in place the problems that have become so evident in Wisconsin in recent years, and it would actually spread those problems to other states that haven’t witnessed these kinds of campaign arms races.”
McCabe says the high court has asked lawyers to argue whether two previous rulings that upheld corporate spending bans should be overturned. “That would be a profound act of judicial activism,” says McCabe. “Current members of the U.S. Supreme Court are at least signaling some discomfort with that history, and some interest in revisiting it and potentially overturning it.”
The Democracy campaign has signed onto a brief in the case Citizens United versus Federal Election Commission, which will be argued before the court in September.