Friday, January 22, 2010, 10:30 AM

Supreme Court Sides with Broadcasters in Landmark Case

Overturns McCain-Feingold’s Electioneering Communication Prohibitions

The Supreme Court struck down longstanding federal laws that prohibit corporations from directly financing election ads in a decision released on January 21, 2010. The Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission agreed with the position advocated by Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC in a brief filed on behalf of ten State broadcasters associations. Corporations are now free to purchase ads that expressly support or oppose candidates, and so-called "electioneering communications" – broadcast ads referring to candidates which air in the periods immediately before elections.

"The Citizens United decision is a strong affirmation of the First Amendment rights of media corporations," said Womble Carlyle Communications Attorney Gregg Skall. "We are pleased that the Court recognized and protected the broadcast industry’s vital role in the dissemination of political information to the public."

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