Professor Nathaniel Persily Reacts to Supreme Court Decision on Corporate Spending in Elections

Professor Nathaniel Persily Reacts to Supreme Court Decision on Corporate Spending in Elections

Public Affairs, 212-854-2650
 
New York, Jan. 21, 2010 – Columbia Law School Professor Nathaniel Persily, one of the nation’s leading experts on election law, said Thursday the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, continued the pattern of the justices limiting campaign finance reforms they found clashed with rights to free speech.
 
Persily, the Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, said the ruling means that corporations, for the purpose of electioneering expenditures, “basically have the same rights as individuals.”
 
Persily also offered these observations on the widely anticipated 5-4 decision:
 
“Three years ago, the Court basically said a corporation is allowed to run an ad that says call your congressman and tell him how terrible he is so long as you didn’t expressly advocate the defeat or election of a candidate. Now they said you can now expressly advocate the reelection or defeat of candidates.”
 
“Union and corporate treasury money is now a potentially unlimited source for independent expenditures.”
 
“The court has struck down or narrowed every campaign finance law it has visited since Roberts and Alito replaced Rehnquist and O’Connor. "

 

“I tend to think the practical effect is not going to be as great as some people think, just because I don’t think corporations actually are itching to spend that much on electioneering expenditures.”
 

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