Monday, January 23, 2006

Supreme Court Sends Right to Life Ad Case Back to Lower Court

By Kirsten Kukowski

Today the U.S. Supreme Court said a lower court should look further into Wisconsin Right to Life's challenge to federal restrictions on political issue ads.

Read the Opinion

Instead of using the case to spell out election ad guidelines, however, the court delayed a ruling until after this year's elections. But the court did overturn a ruling that prevented Wisconsin Right to Life from running ads using U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold's name during his re-election campaign.

In a statement, Wisconsin Right to Life said it looks forward to the lower courts getting to the merits of the case now that one obstacle has been removed.

"Wisconsin Right to Life is asking for a grassroots lobbying exception to the McCain-Feingold law as long as the ads talk about a genuine issue before the U.S. Congress and do not mention an election."

Also, in a statement released today, Feingold called it good news that the issue-ad provisions would be in place through the next election saying, "ultimately, I believe the courts will reject challenges to the law based on ads that are intended to affect elections."

And a Common Cause in Wisconsin release said: "If WRTL prevails, then the huge loophole in federal campaign finance law that McCain-Feingold closed in 2002, will be reopened and that reform will be crippled. We expect that the Court will ultimately rule to uphold their 2003 decision affirming McCain-Feingold and bar a return to campaign electioneering masquerading as issue advocacy."

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