“The Rehnquist Conversion”

Bill Araiza blogs on Chief Justice Rehnquist’s change of position on regulating corporations in campaign finance.  I was in the courtroom during the oral argument in McConnell v. FEC when Paul Clement, arguing in favor of the constitutionality of the law for the government, reminded the Chief that he voted to uphold corporate spending limits in Austin.  The Chief responded that he thought he got that one wrong, and there was an audible gasp in the audience.

It is worth recalling he wasn’t the only one to change positions.  Justice O’Connor was with the majority in MCFL, which suggested corporations could be barred from spending direct treasury funds on elections, with the dissenters in Austin, and with the majority in McConnell, reaffirming Austin.  She too never explained the triple-shift.


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