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Monday round-up

Wednesday’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, striking down the aggregate limits on contributions to candidates for federal office, political parties, and political action committees, continues to inspire commentary.  Kenneth Jost criticizes the decision at Jost on Justice and suggests that “[i]t is no mere coincidence” that the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who served (among other things) as a state senator in Arizona before ascending to the Court, “marks the court’s turning point on issues of campaign finance regulation.”   In an op-ed for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, David Gans argues that the ruling “dealt another blow to our Constitution’s promise of democracy” and “open[s] the door to a whole host of new challenges to state and federal contribution limits, including federal limits on soft money previously upheld by the justices.”  At big think, Steven Mazie lists the four errors that he sees in the decision, which in his view “will lead to huge new infusions of cash into our political campaigns and ramp up the already outsize influence that corporations and wealthy donors have in the American political system.”  At ACSblog, Ciara Torres-Spelliscy laments that not “only are [the Justices] forgetting precedent from decades ago, they can’t even recall cases from the beginning of the Roberts Court—a mere eight years ago,” while in an op-ed for Reuters Elizabeth Wydra contends that “the court’s conservative majority’s rulings have . . . made it easier for big-money donors to influence elections — while making it harder for many Americans to use the only political influence they have: their vote.”  And in a post at ACSblog, Ron Fein argues in favor of “a common-sense constitutional amendment to restore the people’s ability to set sensible limits on the amount of money that can be contributed or spent in elections.”  Finally, at truthdig Bill Blum focuses on Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion and the prospect that “the court may soon be ready to make even more drastic changes in the law, taking what some legal commentators have called a final jump down the First Amendment ‘rabbit hole.’”


  • In the latest installment of his “Drama in the Courtroom” series for ISCOTUSnow, Christopher Schmidt looks back at the “famously bad” oral argument in Flood v. Kuhn.
  • At The Huffington Post, Clay Calvert urges the Court to grant cert. in a case involving a “conviction for conveying threats of violence in the form of rap lyrics posted on Facebook.”

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 7, 2014, 7:38 AM),