Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More Citizens United: Lessig, Sandra Day O'Connor, and a Citzens United Litmus Test? -- UPDATED

Larry Lessig, perhaps the most recognizable tech/internet law lawyer in the world, has lately been more focused on cleaning up corruption and influence peddling in Washington.  To that end, he has been making the rounds, giving his take on the United States Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United.
See Lessig on point here, speaking from San Fran's airport.  And more recently in the Huffington Post, criticizing the Democrat's milquetoast strategy to respond to the decision's implications.
Also, interestingly enough, former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has also weighed in to criticize the decision, saying its implications will pose problems for an independent judiciary.
Though these things are never certain, given the former Justice's public dissent it is very likely that had she still been on the Court, there would have been a 5-4 decision upholding the corporate spending limits (Justice Samuel Alito who replaced the madame justice voted with the plurality to strike them down).
This, as well as the Democrats' response to the decision, raises an interesting question for future Supreme Court appointments. After Dems have railed for years against any litmus test for judicial appointments, might the litmus test for the next Supreme Court appointments be: what do you think of Citzens United?
One more link to add to the mix (via Adam in comments), a bloggingheads video of Lessig speaking on point posted on the New York Times site Click here.
Also, more polling data. Public opinion seems to be trending sharply against the ruling, with remarkably little difference between  self-identified Republicans and Democrats, with 76% of the former and 85% of the latter opposing the ruling. Wow. Here is one issue where a bipartisan Congressional response might be possible. Emphasis on might. I mean, Congressional action would require the Senate after all.


  1. Thanks for the info, Jon. Lessig is heading the project on institutional corruption at Harvard, both in the law school and in his capacity as the head of the Safra Center for Ethics at the Kennedy School. To add one more link, this is a bloggingheads interview published today in the NYT, discussing congressional reforms following Citizens United.

  2. Awesome. I'll update the post and add your link.


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