US Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Election Funding Restrictions on Corporations

The Supreme Court's conservative bloc sounded poised Wednesday to strike down, on free-speech grounds, the nation's ban on corporations spending large amounts of money to elect or defeat candidates for Congress and president.

If the justices were to issue such a ruling in the next few months, it could reshape American politics, beginning with the congressional campaign in 2010.

Conservative members of the Supreme Court indicated yesterday that they could not reconcile government restrictions on corporate spending in elections with constitutional protections of free speech and may rule broadly to strike what has been a long-standing fixture of campaign-finance law.

A majority of the court seemed impatient with an increasingly complicated federal scheme intended to curb the role of corporations, unions, and special-interest groups in elections.