'08 elections should set ad-spend records after today's USSC's vote

Legal News Line Jun. 26, 2007, 1:15am

Chief Justice John Roberts

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The American business sector's winning record so far this summer at the U.S. Supreme Court must be an embarrassment to the hapless Washington Nationals. And corporate interests racked up yet another significant victory at the USSC Monday when a 5-4 decision allowed interest groups to release political advertising just before elections. The opinion, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, was the first major challenge to the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance laws. Other consitutional challenges to the contentious restrictions are now expected. In Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. (docket# 06-969) the USSC affirmed a District Court of D.C. ruling. That decision stated that banning ads that were "genuine issue ads, not express advocacy," was an unconstitutional attack on free speech. Analysts now predict a tidal wave of big-spending attack ads in congressional and judicial races all over the country during the election cycle of '08. One legal expert told the AP: "We've come full circle to the regime before McCain-Feingold." Business groups, which often sponsor advertising targeting candidates they consider unfavorable, were pleased with the opinion. The U.S Chamber of Commerce (a financial sponsor of LegalNewsLine) hailed it in a press release Monday for "protecting grassroots lobbying from unconstitutional government restrictions." "This decision is a clear vindication of the rights of all Americans – including the private sector – to speak out and publicly petition their government," said Steven J. Law, the Chamber's chief legal officer and general counsel. The ruling was the third USSC ruling in as many weeks favoring business, LegalNewsLine reported. Last week the court ruled in favor of companies over investors, while the week before it was schools over unions.

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