The Common Good

Money Unlimited

A good history in The New Yorker of attempts at regulating campaign finance leading to the Citizens United case before the Supreme Court and how Chief Justice Roberts orchestrated the decision:

"The decision followed a lengthy and bitter behind-the-scenes struggle among the Justices that produced both secret unpublished opinions and a rare reargument of a case. The case, too, reflects the aggressive conservative judicial activism of the Roberts Court. It was once liberals who were associated with using the courts to overturn the work of the democratically elected branches of government, but the current Court has matched contempt for Congress with a disdain for many of the Court’s own precedents."

Last evening, retired Justice John Paul Stevens, who led the dissent in the case, commented on it in a speech at the University of Arkansas.  Asking why those with the most money are permitted to dominate the airwaves, he said:

"During the televised debates among the Republican candidates for the presidency, the moderators made an effort to allow each speaker an equal opportunity to express his or her views. Both the candidates and the audience would surely have thought the value of the debate to have suffered if the moderator had allocated the time on the basis of the speakers' wealth, or it they had held an auction allowing the most time to the highest bidder."

Yet thanks to the Court, that is essentially what we have in this election.