Citizens United, Austin, and the Unconstitutionality of MCL Section 169.254(1)
Posted: 25 Jul 2012
Date Written: 2010
The United States Supreme Court case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, invalidated on First Amendment grounds provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA, also known as McCain-Feingold Act) which prohibited indirect or independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. In doing so, the Court reversed its earlier decisions in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce and, in part, McConnell v. Federal Election Committee.
This Article reviews the Citizens United decision and provides a historical perspective of Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, including both the U.S. Supreme Court decision and the earlier U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision which had declared MCL section 169.254(1) unconstitutional on First and Fourteenth Amendment grounds, an outcome similar to the holding in Citizens United. The article concludes, asserting that section 169.254(1) of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA) is unconstitutional in light of the Court's decision in Citizens United.
Keywords: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, McCain-Feingold Act, BCRA, Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, independent campaign contributions
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