My First Post at Just Security: “Will the Supreme Court’s Understanding of the First Amendment Thwart Laws Aimed at Limiting Foreign Influence in U.S. Elections?”

I have written this post for Just Security, which is the second in their series on potential legal gaps exposed by events related to the 2016 election. It begins:

By now everyone is familiar with attempts by the Russian government and others to interfere in U.S. elections. They hacked into at least 21 state voter registration databases, though there is no evidence they changed any data there or affected any voting or vote counting. Numerous Russian officials tried to gain influence over the Trump campaign, including though an offer to the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., of dirt on opponent Hillary Clinton. And there were the Russian-funded social media campaigns, some of which spread falsehoods, and others of which just tried to stir up the muck by posting on both sides of divisive issues like immigration, Black Lives Matter/police violence and gay rights.

Understandably, Congress and states are considering whether existing laws are sufficient to proscribe illegal foreign influence in our elections, or if new legislation is necessary. In this post, I want to call attention to perhaps the greatest impediment to effective limits on foreign influence on our elections: the United States Supreme Court.

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