2014-04-22T174738Z_1_CBREA3L1DFO00_RTROPTP_2_USA-HEALTHCARE

Supreme Court hears challenge to ban on 'false' campaign speech

Pro Life Democrat Rep. Bart Stupak announces his support for health care bill on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Joan Biskupic WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Supreme Court justices across the ideological spectrum voiced doubts on Tuesday about a state law that prohibits false statements during a political campaign. The Ohio law allows candidates and other citizens to file a complaint for allegedly false slogans, prompting a state election commission hearing and public scrutiny of advocacy groups’ or individuals’ claims in the middle of a campaign. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Republican appointee, speculated that calling in a group’s leaders “to justify what (they’re) going to say” could impinge on free speech rights under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Democratic appointee, observed that simply being forced to defend an advertisement could be costly and diminish speech at a crucial point in a campaign.

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