The Citizens United case is a landmark. The Supreme Court struck down parts of America’s campaign finance laws—the parts that forbade corporations from speaking out during election season. I was fortunate enough to moderate a panel discussion on the case, called “Citizens United and the Future of Campaign Finance Law.” (Details on the panel members are here.)
The entire 72-minute discussion is worth listening to—all four panelists were excellent in presenting their diverging viewpoints—but if you’re pressed for time, I urge you to start with Prof. Eric Daniels’ 8-minute discussion of essential issues raised in the case. In this segment, Dr. Daniels makes it clear why he agrees with the result reached by the Supreme Court, but not with the Court’s reasoning. Along the way, he addresses some important questions:
- Is the First Amendment an instrument for achieving so-called social interests, or is it a safeguard of individual rights?
- Why do corporations spend as much money as they do on elections, and is that spending a symptom of a deeper problem?
- Are corporations exercising special privileges when they speak, or are the rights of individuals being exercised?
To locate the Daniels segment, let the video download (click here—may take a few minutes to finish) and then move the slider to the 36:25 mark.
Image: WikiMedia Commons