Without Citizens United, D’Souza’s Hillary movie might have been banned

Hillary's America

I saw Dinesh D’Souza’s movie Hillary’s America yesterday and it was great. It was essentially an acting out of Book I of Plato’s Republic. But, here’s what I want to say…

When I was sitting in the theater waiting for the movie to start, it hit me: the last time someone tried to show a movie about Hillary during an election year they were stopped by the FEC.

In 2008 there was a media company called Citizens United that wanted to show a movie they made called, Hillary: the Movie, during the Democratic Party Primary Elections. They were prevented from showing their movie by the FEC for violating campaign finance laws, and sued the FEC. That case went to the Supreme Court where Citizens United won on the basis that they are a media organization and have freedom of the press under the First Amendment.

Citizens United vs FEC is a court case that the Left is fanatically committed to overturning. Contrary to popular notions, the Opinion of the Court was not based on the idea that corporations are people. So, since the dispute was over a movie about Hillary Clinton airing during an election season, it is not far-fetched to suggest that movies like D’Souza’s would get caught by regulations if Citizens United were overturned.

Of course, such laws usually refer to numbers of days before an election and I didn’t check whether or not the pre-Citizen’s United era would have prohibited such a movie in the end of July in this election cycle. I know that Citizens United was busted for attempting to air their movie 30 days before a primary election, but I don’t know what the law would have been for a general election. In any case, it seems reasonable to believe that D’Souza would be quite satisfied for his movie to be shown until election day in November.

Certainly, banning movies like D’Souza’s is not what people usually think of when considering overturning Citizen’s United, but his movie is nearly identical to the subject of that 2009 Supreme Court decision.

Derek Hanusch

Derek Hanusch is a social commentator, writer and piano teacher in San Diego. He runs the Solid Quarry of Relatively Sober Reason. Find him on Facebook or Twitter.