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May 18, 2018
Remembering a major victory for free speech, 40 years later
A landmark Supreme Court decision marked its 40th birthday late last month.
It’s worth celebrating. The case, known as First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, challenged the constitutionality of a Massachusetts law that censored speech by corporations on ballot measures. The law included criminal penalties.
In a 5-4 decision, the Court struck down the law, reversing the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. “We … find no support” the Court held, “for the proposition that speech that otherwise would be within the protection of the First Amendment loses that protection simply because its source is a corporation…”