Supreme Court Hands Down Key Campaign Finance Decision -- Repeals Unconstitutional Restrictions on Political Speech

Posted on January 21, 2010

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Fairfax, Va. - The National Rifle Association praised the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, removing unconstitutional restrictions on the NRA’s ability to speak freely at election time.

The late Sen. Paul Wellstone had said during the original debate over this legislation that it was his intention to silence groups like the NRA. While the author of this measure had singled out the NRA, this law delivered a clear message to all American citizens: “Keep your mouths shut and stay out of our political debates.”

Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, said, “This ruling is a victory for anyone who believes that the First Amendment applies to each and every one of us. The majesty of free speech is that any American can roll out of bed and speak as freely as The New York Times, NBC or politicians. This is a defeat for arrogant elitists who wanted to carve out free speech as a privilege for themselves and deny it to the rest of us; and for those who believed that speech had a dollar value and should be treated and regulated like currency, and not a freedom. Today’s decision reaffirms that the Bill of Rights was written for every American and it will amplify the voice of average citizens who want their voices heard.”

The case originally centered on the FEC’s denial of Citizens United’s attempt to broadcast a film about Hillary Clinton through on-demand cable services in January 2008, but had broader implications in protecting the First Amendment rights of organizations like the NRA during election time.

Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA chief lobbyist, said, “This decision today returns sanity to our political system. The First Amendment does not allow Congress to make laws denying Americans the right to speak out on issues, the right to assemble or organize on public policy issues, or the right to petition our government for redress of grievances.”

-NRA-

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.

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