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Constitutional Law Keyed to Barnett
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
Citation:558 U.S. 310 (2010)
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- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
- Case Doctrines, Acts, Statutes, Amendments and Treatises: Identifies and Defines Legal Authority used in this case.
- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 was a federal law that prohibited corporations and unions from using general treasury funds to contribute to candidates or spend money to advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate, including through media. (However, corporations could establish a “political action committee (PAC)” to collect donations from stockholders and employees or members of the union). Specifically, § 441(b) of that law made it a felony for all corporations, including nonprofit corporations, to advocate for a candidate through media within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general election. The Federal Elections Committee (FEC) issued regulations that further defined and regulated this prohibition on political speech.
Petitioner Citizens United, a nonprofit corporation, released a documentary film that was critical of Hilary Clinton, a 2008 presidential candidate. Leading up to the 2008 Primary elections, Citizens United wanted to release the film through video-on-demand but was worried that the film and ads would be banned under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. Citizens United sought declaratory and injunctive relief against the FEC, arguing certain provisions in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act were unconstitutional limitations on speech in violation of the First Amendment.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
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- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.