On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for donors to give more money directly to congressional candidates, mirroring a similar decision from 2010 with the Citizens United case. Supporters say the ruling protects the free speech rights of donors, while critics fear it will give wealthy individuals more influence in politics. We’ll discuss the ruling and look at its potential impact on state and national races.

Joel Richard Paul, professor of law at University of California Hastings Law School
Allen Dickerson, legal director of the Center for Competitive Politics
Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics and
David McCuan, professor in the Department of Political Science at Sonoma State University

  • trite

    The nomination and confirmation process for judges, including those of
    the Supreme Court, is political. It is naive to think that business and
    political decisions made by the judges and justices will not reflect
    those political biases. Much better to have panels of peers nominate the
    judges–all the way up the system–so that it is judicial excellence
    that will count–not the political inclination of the individual judge
    or justice.

  • Sam Badger

    If anyone questions the kind of impact this can have on politics, they need to look no farther than Sheldon Adelson making Chris Christie apologize for referring to Palestinian lands as an “occupied territory” in a speech which was anyways very pro-Israel. Groups with less money will simply get written out of the political discourse. And that is today – imagine what politics will be like without that last barrier against the domination of the rich and powerful. This will happen to both Democrats and Republicans whose parties are already dominated by the rich and powerful as it is.

  • Sam Badger

    Philosophically speaking, how is money speech? Money is not communication it is a form of property and currency. Why is it “free speech” to give money, and not “free speech” to give someone a gun? We regulate exchanges between people regarding all sorts of commodities, why not financial spending to candidates?

  • Debbie Neff McKee

    Unions are no longer a very large concern…getting smaller all the time…
    30+ years ago…35+% of workers unionized….now about 7% and falling fast…”right to work” states…etc……the word ‘union’ is a red herring used as ‘balance’ on the left to the
    mega donors on the right..(see Koch brothers et al)….

  • jdoubleu

    How many times has President Obama been to the Bay Area since he was first elected in 2008? (More than 15.) President Bush went to Meadowood (Napa) once. (Bush went to other areas for fund raising.) The news media refers to the Bay Area and Hollywood as “Obama’s ATMs.” Citizens have needed $5K to $32K to attend these private dinners. (The 99% are certainly not getting 1×1 time with him.) By scheduling any public ‘photo op’ (Solyndra…) or speech in conjunction with these fund raising trips — the Democratic Party does not need to pay for the cost of Air Force One, the back-up plane, the cargo aircraft shipping the 2-3 helicopters, “the Beast,” the cost of hotel rooms for the Secret Service, etc. What hypocrisy! Frankly, who cares if the Supreme Court raised the limits? The reality is: the carefully orchestrated “Benetton ad” of people in the ‘photo ops’ behind Obama are not the people who paid $32K to get 2-5 minutes (of private time) to speak with him. We’re not stupid; there’s a reason Obama’s polls are in the 40-50% range. He’s a fraud. Nothing has changed since 2008. (And to be clear: both parties are equally guilty of using/abusing existing fund raising laws.)

  • Bob Fry

    America’s “Christian” Evangelicals have finally achieved their dream: a conservative SCOTUS. But instead of achieving their goals–overturning Roe vs. Wade, allowing religious activities in public schools and public places, etc.–they have only carried the water for the super-rich wing of the Republican party.

  • Steve

    I would make a distinction between money spent directly on political advertising, which I think is fairly characterized as free speech, versus money given to candidates and parties. In the latter case, a strong argument exists that such giving leads to the appearance and possibility of corruption. In my mind, the best solution is adequate public financing of campaigns to eliminate or reduce the dependence of politicians on those who donate to them.

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