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McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission

Impact

In 1998, most states required sponsors of political television advertisements to identify themselves in the advertisements. McIntyre may provide a way for political organizations to challenge that condition. Notably, the petitioner's lawyer in McIntyre did say that an identification requirement for television advertisements would be appropriate.

Another parallel is to Internet speech, which, like pamphleteering, falls into the category of "cheap speech." Internet "remailers" allow individuals to post messages anonymously; many object to the resulting lack of accountability. The arguments presented in McIntyre could equally well address that objection. On one hand, the author's identity may not always add relevant information. On the other hand, if the author's identity might create a bias against a message, anonymity could deliver a more open-minded audience.

However, this decision may prove conducive to dirty campaigning. Scalia noted in his dissent that "[t]he principal impediment against [mudslinging] is the reluctance of most individuals and organizations to be publicly associated with uncharitable and uncivil expression." With the McIntyre decision, the Court may have provided a way around that impediment.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission - Significance, Talley V. California, Regulation Of The Electoral Process, "exacting Scrutiny", . . . Or Perhaps Not