Here’s a round-up of day two coverage of the historic Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
CCP Chairman Brad Smith published an “opposing view” op-ed in USA Today:
[T]he various “doomsday” scenarios being floated by critics of the decision, claiming that corporations will dominate American politics with billions of dollars in expenditures, are pure science fiction.
Prof. Hayward also published an op-ed in the New York Post, “High Court rules for free speech“:
The Supreme Court yesterday confronted a fact in constitutional law that has been hard to justify: How is it that the First Amendment protects obscene speech, nude dancing and talk radio — but permits Congress to shut down independent political messages from corporations and labor unions? Why do those groups get second-class status when politics, rather than, say, simulated child porn, is the topic?
Investor’s Business Daily featured comments from Brad:
Bradley Smith, former FEC chairman and an advocate for loosening the laws in the name of free speech, applauded the decision.
“This is a big victory for free speech,” said Smith, now a professor at Capital University Law School. “It will allow people to hear more voices in elections.”
Smith noted that 26 states already allow this kind of corporate or union spending in state elections with no notable corruption of the political process. So there is little reason to expect that a national law will have any different effect, he argued.
It even has an egalitarian effect, Smith added. The bigger corporations and unions have until now had an edge in electioneering because they could afford to create big PACs. Smaller ones usually couldn’t.
BNA:Money & Politics Report ($) highlighted the comments of Brad and other participants on CCP’s post-Citizens United conference call:
Bradley Smith, a law professor [and] former Republican FEC commissioner, said in a post-decision teleconference that most of the states already allow corporate and union campaign money in their state election campaigns, without detriment to the smooth functioning of democracy. Smith also noted that corporate and labor money has long been a part of federal elections, through so-called “issue ads” and even direct contributions to political parties before BCRA was passed.
Joseph Sandler, a prominent election lawyer advising leading Democrats echoed Smith, saying the impact of the Supreme Court ruling would be “more marginal than cataclysmic” to the current campaign finance system. He added, though, that an influx of corporate and union spending on independently sponsored campaign ads was likely to result in “more sharp-edged ads” aired close to upcoming elections.
Sandler said this could impact the broader political process, for example by making it tougher to hold votes in Congress on controversial issues when an election looms.
Another top attorney, Republican James Bopp, who handled the Citizens United challenge before it reached the Supreme Court, predicted that there would be continuing legal developments in campaign finance law. These include possible challenges to remaining restrictions on direct corporate and union contributions to candidates and parties, as well as challenges to disclosure of donors to specific political ad campaigns, he said.
McClatchy Newspapers‘ dispatch also noted Brad’s comments:
“This case will lead to more spending, and that’s a good thing,” agreed former Federal Election Commission member Bradley Smith.
The Huffington Post delves into claims from across the spectrum about Citizens United’s impact:
Former FEC chairman Bradley Smith, now chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, a group that opposes restrictions on campaign finance, said after the ruling that “the idea that corporations are going to devote 10 percent of their profits or something like that to independent political expenditures is just absurd.” Smith said that before the McCain-Feingold law banned “soft money,” corporations did not use their spending freedom to the extent that critics of the Supreme Court’s ruling now say they will.