Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc.

Federal Election Commission V. Wisconsin Right To Life, Inc.

Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc.

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Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., 551 U.S. 449 (2007) , from FindLaw was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that issue ads may not be banned from the months preceding a primary or general election.

Background

In 2002, the Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act ("McCain-Feingold") to regulate money in public election campaigns. One provision of the legislation limited "issue ads," those ads using a candidate's name with regards to a particular issue, such as abortion. Section 203 prohibited issue ads within 30 days of a primary election and 60 days of a general election. In McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court upheld section 203 and other sections of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act against a facial challenge that the law was unconstitutional. This left a significant open question about whether the FEC could constitutionally apply (enforce) the law.

Wisconsin Right to Life Inc., a nonprofit advocacy group, was running ads urging voters to contact their Senators and urge them to avoid filibusters of judicial nominees. The WRTL sought to run their ads through the 2004 General Election; however the McCain-Feingold Act prohibited them from using corporate money to run ads that close to an election. The law was created to weaken the power of the national Political Action Committees. In McConnell v. FEC the court had upheld Congress' ability to...
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