“Change the Constitution in Six Easy Steps? It Won’t Be That Simple, Justice Stevens; From campaign finance to political gerrymandering, the retired Supreme Court justice skips hard arguments in his new book in favor of unrealistic, poorly drafted solutions. “

I have written this book review for The Daily Beast. It begins: Reading retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’s new book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, I was reminded of an old Steve Martin routine from his standup days. “First, get a million dollars,” Martin explains in “You Can Be a Millionaire and Never Pay Taxes.” Then if the tax collector comes to your door asking why you didn’t pay taxes on your m…

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Perhaps for First Time, Justice Breyer’s McCutcheon Dissent Cites Unavailable Forthcoming Scholarship

…here, the second with a link to a now-expired HUP page) about it when McCutcheon was released–but, sadly, the only response was of interest, not of anyone who could identify any precedent. Interestingly, the HUP link identifying the forthcoming book was available when McCutcheon was released, but it appears that HUP has now moved the page to here: http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674729001 Another question I had is, who se…

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Linda Greenhouse on McCutcheon

NYT: This time, five justices did actually manage to toss something out the window: the post-Watergate system of campaign finance regulation. Only Justice Clarence Thomas, who refused to sign the four-justice plurality opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. because it didn’t go far enough, would have explicitly overturned the court’s foundational precedents in this area. The chief justice tried in his own opinion to persuade readers that…

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“McCutcheon Attorney Files New Challenge To Contribution Limits for Traditional PACs”

Bloomberg BNA: An attorney who helped launch the successful challenge to the cap on individual campaign contributions recently decided by the Supreme Court has filed a new lawsuit challenging limits on contributions by traditional political action committees (PACs) that contribute to candidates (Stop Reckless Economic Instability Caused By Democrats (Stop Reid) v. FEC, E.D. Va., No. 14-397, filed 4/14/14). Attorney Dan Backer of DB Capitol Strat…

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“Supreme Court Protester Sentenced to Time-Served”

Tony Mauro: In a statement to the judge, Newkirk said he had spoken out at the Supreme Court and broken the law “in the tradition of civil disobedience” to draw attention to the court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling and the then-pending McCutcheon campaign finance case. “Our democracy is greatly threatened” by the court’s decisions weakening restrictions on campaign money, Newkirk told McKenna. “The Suprem…

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Updated/Final Versions of Some of My Articles on Campaign Finance, Voting Rights

I’ve posted an updated version, including a short discussion of McCutcheon, of Super PAC Contributions, Corruption, and the Proxy War over Coordination, forthcoming in the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy. I have posted the final version of Three Wrong Progressive Approaches (and One Right One) to Campaign Finance Reform, 8 Harvard Law & Policy Review 21 (2014) I have posted the final version of Shelby County and…

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The Court and Institutional Realism: McCutcheon

…is going on politically,” knows nothing will happen, and is therefore deceptively hiding the truth about McCutcheon’s effects.  Put another way, we can ask:  should McCutcheon – and cases like it — be decided differently based on the Court’s judgments of “political realism” about how the political branches and regulatory agencies are likely to respond? McCutcheon is thus a perfect example of what I have…

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“COMMENTARY: Free speech just got more expensive”

Jusus Baird of Religion News Service has written a commentary which begins: Dear Supreme Court justices: When I heard about the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling, it made me plotz. I’m a rabbi, so I know much more about the Talmud than about torts. But if there’s any group that can compete with scholars of constitutional law, it’s rabbis. Your recent decision was all about the First Amendment and free speech. As I understand it, l…

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“The war against American citizens”

Katrina vanden Heuvel WaPo column: In 1971, before becoming a Supreme Court justice, Lewis F. Powell Jr. penned a memo to his friend Eugene Sydnor of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce advocating a comprehensive strategy in favor of corporate interests. Powell wrote, “Under our constitutional system, especially with an activist-minded Supreme Court, the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change.” In last…

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A Tale of Two Campaign Finance Appeals at SCOTUS: Why No Push to Allow Corporate Contributions to Candidates?

…e Court is going about dismantling what’s left of campaign finance limits. After the Supreme Court decided McCutcheon v. FEC, striking down the aggregate limits on federal contributions, it disposed of two other cases it had been holding since McCutcheon. In one case, James v. FEC, also involving federal aggregate limits, the Court sent the appeal back to the district court to reconsider in light of McCutcheon. That’s sort of standard…

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“GOP creates new fundraising group after McCutcheon ruling”

Byron Tau reports: In the wake of a major campaign finance ruling from the Supreme Court last week, the three major Republican Party committees have formed a new joint fundraising effort that will allow them to collect big checks from major donors. According to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission, the newly formed Republican Victory Fund is a joint fundraising committee composed of the Republican National Committee, the National…

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“In Chevron Case, FEC Brings Clarity to the Federal Contractor Ban and Super PACs”

Covington‘s Inside Political Law: The rules on corporate contributions to Super PACs were made clearer today when the Federal Election Commission (FEC) released its finding that Chevron Corporation’s $2.5 million contribution in 2012 to the Congressional Leadership Fund (a Super PAC) had not violated the bar on government contractors making contributions in federal elections. Public Citizen and several environmental groups had alleged tha…

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What a Shock!: “John Roberts Gets the Parties Started”

Politico reports: Insiders are dreaming up how to maximize a recent Supreme Court ruling that frees up some big donors to give even more. A prominent idea: create a new class of donors who contribute a total of six- or seven-figures to each of three party committees and spread cash to endangered lawmakers. In exchange, the big-money givers would get something of an “all access pass” that comes with perks from the big three national committees, l…

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“Government Brief Cites McCutcheon Case In Defending FEC’s Requirements for PACs”

Bloomberg BNA: “Supreme Court precedents, including the court’s most recent campaign finance ruling in McCutcheon v. Fed. Election Comm’n, consistently have supported requirements for public disclosure of campaign money, government attorneys argued in a brief filed with the high court (Free Speech v. FEC, U.S., No. 13-772, brief filed 4/4/14).”…

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“McCutcheon and Corruption in America”

Harvard University Press blog: In Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United, Teachout reminds us that the particularly demanding notion of corruption represented by that early gifts rule is central to American law and democracy. This notion of corruption, she explains, is not limited to the blatant bribes and explicit quid pro quo to which Chief Justice Roberts referred in this week’s McCutcheon v. FEC ruling,…

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Thomas Alone on Campaign Finance?

…rovision,” he wrote. But it was somewhat of a surprise last week when Thomas wrote only for himself in the McCutcheon campaign finance case, depriving Chief Justice John Roberts of a majority opinion. McCutcheon concerned the constitutionality of a federal law which limited the total amount of money that an individual could donate to all federal candidates for office, political parties, and certain political committees in a two-year period….

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Gorod: The False Minimalism of John Roberts

The following is a guest post from Brianne Gorod of CAC: Chief Justice Roberts’ attempt to portray his decision in McCutcheon v. FEC as minimalist actually shows just how far from minimalist it is.  According to the Chief Justice, no one should worry about the consequences of the Court’s decision because “there are multiple alternatives available” that would accomplish the Government’s asserted interest without, in the majority’s view, unnecessa…

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“How to reverse a supreme court attack on democracy: fight for voting rights; John Roberts’ wrecking ball got you mad as hell? Don’t take his court’s electoral destruction for granted anymore”

I have written this piece for The Guardian.  It begins: Many Americans, especially on the left, are up in arms about the US supreme court’s decision last week in McCutcheon v FEC, which further deregulates campaign financing. Now the super-wealthy need not go through an independent Super Pac; they can get more money directly into the hands of politicians. The worst thing about the decision is that there’s not much you can do about it…

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The Disappearance of the “Appearance of Corruption” in McCutcheon

I have written a new piece for Reuters Opinion. It concludes: The Supreme Court’s opinions are themselves actually promoting the appearance of corruption. On the day McCutcheon was decided, I spoke at a luncheon honoring the California Supreme Court and criticized the U.S. Supreme Court for failing to pay attention to facts and evidence in election cases. I quoted from Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in Citizens United, the earlier Su…

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“WyLiberty Attorneys Call for Immediate Change to Wyoming Election Law”

Press release: “Wyoming Liberty Group attorneys delivered a letter to the Wyoming Secretary of State and Attorney General today, asking them to immediately cease enforcement of a provision of the Wyoming Election Code that limits aggregate political contributions in state elections to $25,000. The letter follows a decision by the United States Supreme Court last week, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which overturned the aggregat…

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Top Recent Downloads in Election Law on SSRN

Here: RECENT TOP PAPERS for all papers first announced in the last 60 days 4 Feb 2014 through 5 Apr 2014 Rank Downloads Paper Title 1 167 Free at Last: Rejecting Equal Sovereignty and Restoring the Constitutional Right to Vote: Shelby County v. Holder James Uriah Blacksher and Lani Guinier Attorney at Law and Harvard Law School Date posted to database: 24 Feb 2014 Last Revised: 24 Feb 2014 2 92 The 2013 Philippine M…

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