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Supreme Court Urged to Clear Way for Issue Advertising before Elections

Today the Supreme Court of the United States has an important opportunity to protect free speech by removing the blackout periods prior to primary and general elections that prohibit issue advertising.


The Supreme Court should restore the ability of organizations to speak out on key issues in the days leading up to an election by removing a ban on advertising.  The issue that is front and center is free speech.  By banning issue advertisements by grassroots lobbying organizations in the days leading up to an election, there is a significant bias in place putting these organizations at a distinct disadvantage in speaking out on the cultural and political issues that matter most.  The McCain-Feingold provisions established speech free zones.  Its time for the Supreme Court to end this censorship and declare these speech free zones unconstitutional.

 

The Court is hearing oral arguments in the consolidated cases of  FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life (No. 06-969) and McCain v. Wisconsin Right to Life (No. 06-970).  We filed an amicus brief with the high court on behalf of itself and Focus on the Family, a non-profit religious corporation committed to strengthening the family.  In our brief, we urged the high court to remove the prohibition of grassroots lobbying organizations from taking part in issue advertising 30-days before a primary election and 60-days before a general election.

 

The brief asserts:  Because the business of governing continues, the business of the People, that is, the business of giving instructions to their elected representatives continues.  And, likewise, the business of seeking redress of grievances continues.  When Congress enacted the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, it acted in derogation of these facts and to the detriment of the right of the people to petition for a redress of grievances through the use of genuine issue advertisements by grassroots lobbying organizations.  The right to petition is fundamental, and warrants this Courts close guardianship.

 

The Supreme Court will issue its opinion in the case before the end of the term this summer.

 

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