Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The Caperton v. Massey saga is cause for retired Justice O'Connor's concern over the Court's recent decision in Citizens United v. FEC. According to a report in the Washington Post this evening by Robert Barnes, O'Connor told law students at Georgetown:
"In invalidating some of the existing checks on campaign spending, the majority in Citizens United has signaled that the problem of campaign contributions in judicial elections might get considerably worse and quite soon."
O'Connor, however, didn't necessarily limit her criticism to judicial campaigns. Citizens United rejected precedents such as McConnell v. FEC, and Barnes quotes O'Connor as stating: "Since I was one of several authors" of the McConnell opinion, "if you want my legal opinion, you can go read it." The NYT has a similar report, adding that unlimited campaign spending might result in "mutually assured destruction."
However, in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, ConLawProf and now Dean at UC-Irvine School of Law Erwin Chemerinsky linked Bush v. Gore and Citizens United, characterizing both opinions as conservative judicial activism.