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Alix Swann

12/30/15
Period 1
Citizens United v. F.E.C. Document Based Question
The United States operates under the principle of republican government.
Republican government is a government whose power comes directly from the people.
And in this republican form of government, the people in the United States are given the
right of free speech. This right cannot be infringed on by anyone. The Supreme Court
ruling in Citizens United should be deemed constitutional because money is necessary for
campaign speech in todays society, the Constitution was meant to change, and
corporations are factions, which work off of older values.
The Founding Fathers left Great Britain for freedom. When they wrote the
Constitution, they wrote it to specifically outline the rights of the people. The First
Amendment states Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech
(Document C). Due to the importance of this sentiment, the First Amendment was placed
first and foremost in the Constitution. In todays society, limiting the money allowed in
the campaigning process would be limiting free speech. Speech about candidates
deserves the same protections as all other speech protected under the First Amendment.
In Buckley v. Valeo, the precedent case for Citizens United v. F.E.C., it was stated that A
restriction on the amount of money a person or group can spend on political
communication during a campaign necessarily reduces the quantity of expression by
restricting the number of issues discussed (Document F). People need money to be able
to express their opinion during campaign speech. Thomas Jefferson, one of the authors of
the Declaration of Independence, said the basis of our governments being the opinion of
the people when writing to Edward Carrington (Document B). Thomas Jefferson was

very influential in his ideas about the freedom of people in the United States. If the
opinion of the people is to be able to give money towards campaign speech, then that is
how it should be. Buckley v. Valeo also stated Discussion of public issues and debate on
the qualifications of candidates are integral to the operation of the system of government
established by our Constitution (Document F).
In the dissenting opinion of Citizens United v. F.E.C., it was stated that
[M]embers of the founding generation held a cautious view of corporate power and a
narrow view of corporate rightsandthey conceptualized speech in individualistic
terms (Document J). The United States Constitution was not set in stone. The Founders
realized that as society advanced, changes would need to be made in order to
accommodate these changes. That is why there was an opportunity for amendments in the
Constitution. Many of the views of Americans have changed, including radical changes
of the perception of African-Americans and women and their roles in society. This view
can be taken just the same, and deemed constitutional. The Wall Street Journal, a credible
news source with an international reputation, wrote an article about Citizens United vs.
F.E.C. In the article the author spoke about the decision and said The landmark decision
which overturned two Supreme Court precedents (Document M). The Supreme Court
previously deemed the decisions unconstitutional, but through advancement and change
this decision was made. Everything in the United States is always evolving, and this
decision is just another one that did too.
Corporations are essentially groups of people. James Madison, who is referred to
as The Father of the Constitution, and was very involved with the rights of the citizens.
He focused a lot of his time and energy on factions. He defines factions as By a faction,

I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the


whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest,
adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the
community (Document A). Corporations operate under the same valuesthey are
groups of people that share common interests and they are working toward a goal through
their corporation. In the Concurring Opinion of Citizens United vs. F.E.C it is stated that
The dissent says that when the Framers constitutionalized the right to free speech in the
First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind.
That is no doubt true (Document K). Individual persons share views. That is why there
are political parties and interest groups. To support this, the Concurring Opinion also
states that But the individual persons right to speak includes the right to speak in
association with other individual persons (Document K).
After the decision in Citizens United vs. F.E.C., campaign financing is a better
process in which people can utilize their free speech to voice their opinions about
candidates. Politics is one of the most important things in todays society, since voting is
one of the most important values. In proving that the decision in Citizens United vs.
F.E.C. was constitutional, another document with examples of recent court cases in which
the decision has been used would give more insight into the decision in the case. But
since money is necessary for campaign speech in todays society, the Constitution was
meant to change, and corporations are factions, the decision should be deemed
constitutional.