Town Hall Meeting Will Review Citizens United Case

The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission will be the topic for a town hall meeting Oct. 10 at Radford University.

The free public event will be from 7 to 9 p.m. in the auditorium of the Hurlburt Student Center on campus. Co-sponsors are the RU departments of Political Science, the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, the RU Political Science Society and the Quality Enhancement Plan Initiative.

The nation's highest court ruled in 2010 that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. The goal of the town hall meeting "is to highlight the implications of the court's decision for this presidential election," said Radford Professor Margaret Hrezo, chair of the Department of Political Science. "One of the outcomes of the decision is the movement of vast sums of money to Super PACs—committees that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to advocate for or against candidates."

So far in the current presidential campaign, Super PACs have spent more than $275 million, Hrezo said.

RU Professor Jack Call, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, will moderate the town hall meeting, which will begin with a panel discussion followed by a question-answer session.

Guests on the panel will be John Tedesco, associate professor in Virginia Tech's Department of Communication; and Nicholas Abramszyk, who has years of experience working with Congress and  special-interest groups in Washington.

Other panel members will be Tanya Corbin, RU assistant professor of political science; and RU students Jesse Lynch and Justin Blankenship.

The panel will make a brief presentation of the facts and outcome of the case. The focus will then shift to its implications for campaigns and the electoral process as a whole.

Founded in 1988 and based in Washington, Citizens United is a conservative nonprofit group that states its mission as restoring the U.S. government to "citizens' control" and asserting American values of "limited government, freedom of enterprise, strong families, and national sovereignty and security." The organization supports a number of educational projects, including advertising and documentary films.

Oct 1, 2012
Deanne Estrada