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A ruling on the First Amendment? We'll introduce legislation!

In the week following the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC, members of Congress introduced 10 pieces of legislation to limit the impact of the decision. (List here.) Other bills had been introduced before the decision, as well.

In his prepared statement today at a hearing by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, Sean Parnell of the Center for Competitive Politics of Alexandria, Va., explained that the legislative approach is fundamentally flawed.

Among the options that are unlikely to be permitted by the Courts would be any sort of tax levied on the exercise of a constitutional right, as proposed in H.R. 4431, or the enactment of legislation that would simply restore the pre-Citizens United status quo through the back door such as H.R. 4435, a bill that would apparently forbid companies listed on stock exchanges from engaging in independent expenditures....[snip]

[The] Courts are likely to be skeptical of laws and regulations that impose burdens upon only some disfavored incorporate entities while leaving other, favored speakers free of similar burdens. For example, laws that require for-profit corporations to seek shareholder approvals for expenditures, such as H.R.s 4487 and 4537, might be struck down in court because no similar requirement is imposed on unions or other non-profits.

The others testifying ...

Laurence H. Tribe
Carl M. Loeb University Professor, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA

Monica Y. Youn
Counsel and Director of the Campaign Finance Reform Project
Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law, New York, NY

Donald J. Simon
Partner, Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP
Washington, DC

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.