Wisconsin Pro-Life Group Takes Campaign Ad Ban Lawsuit to Supreme Court

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 9, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Wisconsin Pro-Life Group Takes Campaign Ad Ban Lawsuit to Supreme Court Email this article
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by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
September 9, 2004

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Wisconsin Right to Life is asking Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist for permission to run ads banned by the controversial McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

The National Right to Life affiliate says it should be allowed to run its grassroots lobbying ads, despite McCain-Feingold’s ban on ads which mention the name of a candidate 30 days before a primary.

Wisconsin Right to Life wants to run commercials urging people to contact Democratic Senator Russ Feingold and urge him to support President Bush’s pro-life judicial nominations. While Feingold is running for re-election, Wisconsin Right to Life’s legal counsel notes that the ads are not a commentary on Feingold’s record in office.

Feingold was a co-sponsor of the 2002 campaign finance law. The other major co-sponsor, Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking for a lower court to throw out Wisconsin Right to Life’s lawsuit.

Last week, Wisconsin Right to Life filed an appeal with the Supreme Court in an effort to get the go-ahead to run the ads. On Tuesday, the organization asked Rehnquist to grant an injunction to permit the ads pending the outcome of the appeal.

Recently, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided it did not have jurisdiction in the case, saying the authority belonged to the Supreme Court.

"The clock is ticking," said Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life. "The U.S. Senate is expected to vote to defeat the filibuster of (a number) of President Bush’s judicial nominees later this month. It is imperative that we be allowed to air our ads asking citizens to contact Senators Feingold and Kohl, asking them to oppose the filibuster."

But Wisconsin Right to Life is not the only national organization opposed to the broadcast ban. Groups ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO to the American Civil Liberties Union also oppose it.

The pro-life organization, however, is the first group in the nation to legally challenge the ban on grassroots advertising.

Documents in the case, along with information about the advertising campaign, can be found at https://www.befair.org.

Related web sites:
Wisconsin Right to Life – https://www.wrtl.org