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First Amendment Library:
Francis H. Fox


479 U.S. 238 (1986) FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION v. MASSACHUSETTS CITIZENS FOR LIFE, INC.     No. 85-701. Supreme Court of United States.    Argued October 7, 1986 Decided December 15, 1986 APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT*240 Charles N. Steele argued the cause for appellant. With him on the… Read more


In sustaining a state criminal statute that forbids certain expenditures by banks and business corporations for the purpose of influencing the vote on referendum proposals, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that the First Amendment rights of a corporation are limited to issues that materially affect its business, property, or assets. The court rejected appellants' claim that the statute abridges freedom of speech in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The issue presented in this context is one of first impression in this Court. We postponed the question of jurisdiction to our consideration of the merits. 430 U. S. 964 (1977). We now reverse.