In early 2008, when Hillary Clinton was a contender for the Democratic nomination for the presidency, Washington, D.C.-based conservative group Citizens United wanted to buy TV ads promoting Hillary: The Movie, a documentary Citizens United produced that is critical of Clinton. But a federal court in Washington. D.C.. ruled that buying the ads would run afoul of the McCain-Feingold Act. Citizens United sued the Federal Election Commission over the issue, and the Supreme Court majority ultimately decided in its favor, striking down restrictions that had barred corporations from spending money from their general treasuries on campaign ads in the days before an election.
Stevens’ dissent is a long and steady criticism of allowing corporate funding into campaigning. Corporations are “not themselves members of ‘We the people’ by whom and for whom our Constitution was established,” Stevens said.