"Hillary: The Movie" Goes to High Court

November 14, 2008

By Dan Slater

Speculation runs rampant over whether President-elect Barack Obama will appoint his old nemesis, Hillary Clinton, to be the next secretary of state. Meanwhile, "Hillary: The Movie" is going to the Supreme Court.

Back in January, we blogged on the lawsuit over the legal question of whether a 90-minute movie excoriating Clinton constituted a campaign advertisement or not. James Bopp, the lawyer for Citizens United, a conservative group, argued that the movie should be considered "issue-oriented" speech, not a political spot (even though Clinton was a presidential candidate at the time). But Bopp failed to convince a three-judge panel that viewers aren't urged to vote for or against the Democrat. The result: the movie must contain a disclaimer and face restrictions on its broadcast.

But Bopp and Citizens Untied are getting a second shot. Scotus blog reports that today the Court added five new cases to its decision docket for the current term, including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Among other things, Citizens United will ask the Court to create a new exception to a 2002 law's ban on radio or TV ads that corporations and labor unions air close to election time, so that the ban would not apply to a feature-length movie aimed at a candidate for President or for Congress, according to Scotus blog.