FIRST ONE @ ONE FIRST

CITIZENS UNITED – Get Opinion Here!

Posted in Case Reports by Mike Sacks on January 21, 2010

5-4 overruling Austin v. Michigan and gutting McCain-Feingold.  Kennedy for the conservative majority; Stevens for liberal dissent.  To avoid the crashing at the Court’s official site, you can download the opinion here.

Back to class.  More later.  Go read SCOTUSBlog and the real reporters!

UPDATE: A bit of fracturing, but still very much 5-4:

KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and SCALIA and ALITO, JJ., joined, in which THOMAS, J., joined as to all but Part IV, and in which STEVENS, GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined as to Part IV. ROBERTS, C. J., filed a concurring opinion, in which ALITO, J., joined. SCALIA, J., filed a concurring opin- ion, in which ALITO, J., joined, and in which THOMAS, J., joined in part. STEVENS, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.

UPDATE II: 89 Year Old Stevens, for the dissenters, on page 90:

In a democratic society, the longstanding consensus on the need to limit corporate campaign spending should outweigh the wooden application of judge-made rules. The majority’s rejection of this principle “elevate[s] corpora­ tions to a level of deference which has not been seen at least since the days when substantive due process was regularly used to invalidate regulatory legislation thought to unfairly impinge upon established economic interests.” Bellotti, 435 U. S., at 817, n. 13 (White, J., dissenting). At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the com­ mon sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self­ government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.

UPDATE III: Speaking of Stevens’s age and his dissent today, check out CBS’s Jan Crawford’s impressions from inside the Court.

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