You’ve probably heard by now that next week the Supreme Court will break up its summer recess to hear argument, for the second time, in Citizens United v. FEC. You may have the sense that this doesn’t happen often and that something important is going on. If so, you’re right and then some.
The case involves a film, Hillary: The Movie, that was produced by Citizens United, a conservative, non-profit corporation, to coincide with the 2008 presidential primary season. The case began as a fairly sleepy challenge to the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC’s) decision to treat the film’s production and release as corporate electioneering subject to campaign finance regulations, but was transformed by an order issued by the Supreme Court on June 29th. Here are five reasons why Citizens United is now a truly momentous case:
Digby goes on, but I'll just enumerate the five briefly by referencing her headers: A) President Palin, Courtesy of Chevron; B) Reargued Cases in September are like a Snowstorms in July; C) A Cast of a Thousand Stars (and a lawyer’s trick you should not try at home; D) The Alito Court; and E) The Roberts Court and Stare Decisis. She finishes up by saying, "Anybody want to take bets on whether or not the Roberts Court is going to move sharply to the right?"
I'd like to get in on that action, too.
I think the odds of the Roberts Court moving sharply to the right are approaching Sure Thing chances. And if you've been reading the Sara Robinson articles I've been linking, then you can probably infer the reason I'm having a tough time arguing against Digby that this case might not mean very much.
Here's what I want to know: if the Roberts Court overturns both Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and the parts of McConnell v. FEC that uphold regulation of corporate spending in candidate elections, then does that free our corporate overlords to go public under the law with their courtship of the militant right-wing extremists?
Should I be worried?