Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Citizens United 4 Year Anniversary Symposium: February 28, 2014

The following information was shared with me by my friend, Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy at Stetson Law.  On February 28, 2014, Stetson Law in Gulfport, FLorida, will host: 

Taking Stock of Citizens United: How the Law Has (and Has Not) Changed Four Years Later.

Panel One: Quantifying the Problem of Money in Politics
Citizens United opened a new avenue for corporations and unions to spend in politics by purchasing political ads. This ability to spend was added to older avenues of political activity such as corporate and union segregated funds (SSFs or PACs), lobbying and direct contributions in certain states. The question of what political spenders get in return for this largess remains an open one.
Panel Two: The Risk of Corruption Collides with Free Speech
From a Constitutional law perspective, the courts have long wrestled with the placing political spending into a single paradigm. On one hand, courts have recognized that running for political office is costly and fundraising implicates First Amendment concerns such as the freedom of speech and association. On the other hand, campaign spending can be a corrupting force in the democratic process. Layered on top of this is an impulse by the courts to treat different political spenders in distinct ways: state contractors, corporations, unions, nonprofits, political parties, PACs and individuals may find themselves subject to distinct legal rules in the same election.

Panel Three: Making New Rules that Help Taxpayers, Voters, Investors, Employees and Members
While Citizens United limited the scope of solutions that are available for campaign finance legislation, the decision leaves ample room for a wide range of reforms in the realm of tax law, employment law, corporate law and securities law. And the barriers to reform that Citizens United has constructed has inspired several legal and grassroots groups to work on a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the decision.

Registration is available online.

Before joining the academy, Professor Torres-Spelliscy worked as counsel in the Democracy Program of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.  The symposium line up contains a who's who of corporate political spending and first amendment scholars (include John Coates & Lawrence Lessig from Harvard) and industry experts.  The panels will provide balanced and in-depth discussions of the impact of Citizens United 4 years later.

 -Anne Tucker


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