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Tuesday round-up

Marcia Coyle at the National Law Journal discusses the impact of the Citizens United decision on cases pending in the federal courts, noting that courts in two high-profile cases have already ordered supplemental briefing on the relevance of Citizens United. Coyle also discusses several state-level cases that may be affected by Citizens. As Congress continues to explore legislative responses to the decision, ACSBlog also has this post on today’s Senate hearing on the  case.

Others are defending the Citizens United decision.  The Denver Post’s editorial board applauds the decision’s requirement that corporations “disclose their backing of political speech,” explaining that the earlier patchwork of campaign-finance legislation created a regulatory system that allowed candidates to mask the sources of corporate donations.  And in an op-ed piece in the Seattle Times, Bill Maurer of the Institute for Justice argues that corporations are simply composed of individuals, who should not be penalized for “[picking] the wrong form for their association.”  Like any other association, he writes, corporations should be free to “choose the form that they believe is most effective for disseminating their message.”

Pundits continue to analyze President Obama’s criticism of the Citizens United decision during his State of the Union address, as well as Justice Alito’s “response.”  In an editorial piece in the Washington Post, E.J. Dionne Jr. argues that President Obama’s criticism of the Court was an appropriate presidential response supported by “ample precedent.” He points out that previous presidents – including Reagan and Nixon – freely and publicly took issue with the Court, and he concludes by asking, “Isn’t it more honorable to criticize the justices to their faces?”  At the Christian Science Monitor, Brad Knickerbocker points out that President Obama was speaking not to the Court but to Congress, and he characterizes the rebuke as a call to Congress to parry the decision by creating new campaign-finance legislation that will pass “constitutional muster with the high court.”   Finally, Michael Smerconish at the Philadelphia Inquirer also examines President Reagan’s public opposition to Roe, noting that he softened his admonishments by avoiding direct references to the Court decision and by repeatedly calling for bipartisan solutions to the conflict.

In other news, an L.A. Times editorial discusses Doe v. Reed, the Washington state disclosure case in which the Court recently granted cert.  The editorial argues that although the First Amendment protects anonymous political expression, signing a petition is a legislative act that makes signers “akin to legislators whose names are public.”  The piece concludes that signers should press criminal charges if they are subjected to harassment for their actions, but “the remedy for that problem is…not the withholding of public documents.”

Finally, Lyrissa Lidsky at PrawfsBlog covers the Court’s decision in Presley v. Georgia (PDF), a recently decided case that may have gone “overlooked in all the brouhaha over Citizens United.”  Lidsky expresses surprise that the Georgia state courts repeatedly showed “blatant disregard” for Supreme Court precedent in excluding the public from voir dire of prospective jurors and applauds the Supreme Court for rebuking the lower courts and affirming the defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights in its decision to reverse.