The result, as I said at the outset, is a decision that substitutes judges’ understandings of how the political process works for the understanding of Congress; that fails to recognize the difference between influence resting upon public opinion and influence bought by money alone; that overturns key precedent; that creates huge loopholes in the law; and that undermines, perhaps devastates, what remains of campaign finance reform.
With respect, I dissent.
Justice Breyer, McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commissiion (30).
This is an amazing document and worth reading despite the tangles of legal language. It ought to be known as “Right Wing Ideologue v. Common Sense” or “Right Wing Ideologue v. Democracy.” In presidential elections progressive people have often found themselves in a dilemma. We’d prefer to vote for a third party– Nader, or the Greens– if only to make a point or to help a third party build up a national voice. If you do, the story goes, you risk creating a Supreme Court that will undermine reform for a generation.
The lesser of two evils argument works for a lot of people but some find it specious. Yet electing Bush twice seems to have made the dire predictions come true. Ironically, Chief Justice Roberts’ arguments, as Justice Breyer notes, amount to exactly the sort of “judicial activism” so often decried by right-wing critics. Justice Roberts’ arguments are perfectly Orwellian, contending that too much democracy– limits on money in politics set by Congress– is not enough democracy, that is, a limit on freedom of speech.