First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti
|First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti|
|Argued November 9, 1977
Decided April 26, 1978
|Full case name||First National Bank of Boston, et al.
Francis X. Bellotti, Attorney General of Massachusetts
|Citations||435 U.S. 765 (more)|
|Corporations have a First Amendment right to make contributions in order to attempt to influence political processes.|
|Majority||Powell, joined by Burger, Stewart, Blackmun, Stevens|
|Dissent||White, joined by Brennan, Marshall|
|U.S. Const. amend. I|
First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765 (1978), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court ruled 5–4 that corporations had a First Amendment right to make contributions in order to attempt to influence political processes. In his opinion, Justice Lewis Powell ruled that a Massachusetts criminal statute prohibiting the expenditure of corporate funds for "influencing or affecting" voters' opinions infringed on corporations' "protected speech in a manner unjustified by a compelling state interest" as he put it. It was heavily cited in the majority opinion of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010).
- Text of First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765 (1978) is available from: Findlaw Justia
- Justice Rehnquist's dissent against the Court's majority opinion and the creation of corporate "free speech."
- ReclaimDemocracy.org also has a large library of information on the topic of corporations and ballot questions (they oppose corporations being granted political "free speech").
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