Brief Fact Summary. State prohibits corporations from spending money on promotions that will endorse or oppose local referendums.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The government may not restrict the topics of speech for corporations.
These are such as are supposed best calculated to effect the object for which it was created.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Is the state regulation of corporate speech constitutional?
Held. No. The Court reversed the state supreme court. It is unconstitutional to restrict corporate speech to items that are “materially affecting” its business.
Dissent. The majority improperly substituted its judgment over the state legislature and drastically departs from prior decisions.
Discussion. A corporation should not be treated differently than private persons. The corporation may freely discuss government affairs. They do not otherwise control or drown out the voices of individuals.