UT to host debate on Citizens United decision

February 6, 2012 | Events, UToday



In a 5-4 decision in January 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations, unions and other organizations have the same political speech rights as individuals under the First Amendment. The Citizens United ruling has left room for debate among many scholars and researchers that is already especially heated for a presidential election year.

The University of Toledo will host “Citizens United, Corporate Personhood and Democracy: Point/Counterpoint” Wednesday, Feb. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Law Center Auditorium.

The debate will feature Bradley Smith, the Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Designated Professor of Law at Capital University Law School, and Greg Coleridge, director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee and a Move to Amend Ohio committee member.

“Both sides of this debate are very passionate about their understanding of the ruling’s significance,” said Dr. Cynthia Ingham, UT assistant professor of history and Phi Alpha Theta adviser. “Some regard Citizens United as a victory for free speech, reversing a legislative and judicial trend to proscribe corporate involvement in elections. Others see the decision as a step backward for democracy because it is based on the principle that corporations are entitled to the same rights as persons.“

The debate is sponsored by the UT Chapter of the Federalist Society, UT College of Law, Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Toledo).

Because the Federalist Society and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom represent the two sides of the debate, Ingham said she hopes the event will go far in raising public awareness of the issue.

For more information on the free, public debate, contact Ingham at 419.530.2393 or email cynthia.ingham@utoledo.edu.