You may have heard by now but today the Roberts Court struck down the limits on the amount a single wealthy donor can give directly to his or her favored candidates, parties, and committees. Basically, this is the second shoe to drop after Citizens United in 2010. While supporters of this ruling will claim that it's a victory for the First Amendment, or that this means parties will be placed on a level-playing field with outside groups unleashed by Citizens United, what it means without any doubt is that even more money will flood our election system.
Yep, expect to see more than a billion additional dollars from fewer than 2,800 elite donors entering races between now and 2020.
Here's what our VP of Legal Strategies Brenda Wright said about the decision:
Today’s decision shows how fatally flawed the Court’s approach to money in politics has become. It will do incalculable harm to our democracy, allowing millions of new dollars to flow. This will lead to even further domination of our politics and public policy by the economic elite, pushing ordinary Americans further out of the political process.
We've been reading through the opinion and here are some choice quotes from Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote the dissenting opinion:
Accordingly, the First Amendment advances not only the individual’s right to engage in political speech, but also the public’s interest in preserving a democratic order in which collective speech matters.Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard.Today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.