Major First Amendment case coming up
On Sept. 9 the Supreme Court hears Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That it may be a major decision is suggested by the fact that after first briefing and argument, the Supreme Court ordered a second briefing and argument, and by the argument being held before the Court formally begins its new Term in October.
It's a challenge to electoral campaign regulations, which forbid corporations to spend money to influence elections (tho they can create and contribute to separate political action committees, which are subject to a variety of regulatory burdens). [I'm not clear whether it involved the separate ban, in McCain-Feingold, against merely mentioning a candidate's name in purchased airtime within 30/60 days of an election). It's brought by the producers of "Hillary: The Movie," a 90 minute very anti-Hillary documentary. They wanted to buy airtime to run it back when its subject was still a candidate.
It was initially briefed and argued on fairly narrow grounds. The gov't's attorney, charged with arguing for the state, wound up admitting that, under the gov't's view, it could ban a book on politics if made by a corporation, which drew a negative reaction with Justice Alito. Story here. Then the Supreme Court ordered new briefing and argument, to focus upon whether the earlier decision of Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which upheld a law forbidding corporations to make campaign expenditures, should be overruled. Story here.
ScotusWiki has detailed entry with links to briefs.