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Experts to discuss 'Citizens United' case in televised forum Oct. 18 at F&M

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Experts to discuss 'Citizens United' case in televised forum Oct. 18 at F&M

LANCASTER, Pa.–A panel of constitutional law and government experts will discuss the landmark U.S. Supreme Court "Citizens United" labor case in a televised forum starting at 12:45 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 18, at Franklin & Marshall College.

The event is the second in the "Law and Government Forum" series organized by Widener University School of Law and the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) to address various issues in law and government that could affect the upcoming election. Segments are being taped at various Pennsylvania higher education institutions.

In the 2010 case Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the high court ruled that corporations and unions should not be limited in how much they spend to support or oppose political candidates. Critics maintain spending limits are needed, but the Supreme Court in June declined to reconsider its decision.

"In the Citizens United case, the U.S. Supreme Court gave corporations and labor unions greater ability to participate in elections," said Lance Cole, a visiting professor of law at Widener's Harrisburg campus, who helped organize the event. "This panel includes election law and constitutional experts who can give in-depth analysis of recent changes in constitutional law and how they may affect this election."

The segment will be broadcast at 9 p.m. Oct. 18 and re-air at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21. The taping is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. The panel discussion will be held at the Woods Memorial Meeting Room in F&M's Alumni Sports & Fitness Center off Harrisburg Avenue, and guests should arrive by 12:30 p.m.

The panelists are Stan Brand, a Class of 1970 alumnus and F&M trustee, partner of the Brand Law Group, and former counsel to U.S. House of Representatives; F&M Associate Professor of Government Stephen Medvic; Widener Law Associate Professor and book author Michael Dimino; and Widener constitutional law professors Robert Power and G. Randall Lee. The panel will discuss federal restrictions on campaign contributions that resulted from the Citizens United case. Professor John L. Gedid, who directs the Law & Government Institute at Widener, will moderate.

The panelists will take audience questions after an initial discussion.

The "Law and Government" forums are taped twice each semester. A previous segment filmed at Widener's campus focused on federalism and the Pennsylvania Constitution. Two other panel discussions on judicial selection and the Affordable Care Act are being planned.