In a recent speech Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio unwittingly illustrated the folly of attacks on “judicial activism” by the left and the right.  Senator Brown decried the Supreme Court’s opinion in Citizens United because it allowed corporations (and unions, although it does not appear the Senator complained about that result) to speak about elections.  […]

As we’ve noted, Target has drawn heavy fire for its donation to an organization that’s speaking out in support of Minnesota gubernatorial candidate who opposes gay marriage. One of the latest examples of this criticism is a humorous viral video featuring a flash mob that performs a song called “Target Ain’t People”—set to the tune […]

Inevitably, whenever one starts reading about the government’s “compelling” need to collect information on the political activity of American citizens, one comes across this quote from Justice Louis Brandeis:  “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”  Ever since the Supreme Court used the quote in Buckley v. […]

Glenn Greenwald wrote a column in Salon back in 2008 that bears on the debates over Citizens United and the Shareholder Protection Act. Greenwald rightly criticized Palin for claiming the First Amendment was threatened when reporters attacked her for making negative comments about President Obama:   The First Amendment is actually not that complicated.  It […]

In a recent op-ed, Steven Maviglio and Jon Fleischman, two veteran California bloggers, lavish praise on the Fair Political Practices Commission for its suggestions on how to regulate online political activity.  According to the two, “the use of the Internet for political activity has enriched democracy, inspired creativity and fostered robust debate.”  So what’s the […]

In an op-ed in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle, R. Warren Langley and Ciara Torres-Spelliscy argue that Citizens United opens the door to corporate abuse of shareholder rights:   What’s really the problem with Citizens United, the case that welcomes corporate money into politics? It lets CEOs spend your money for any political reason they want. […]

As the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to take up IJ’s First Amendment challenge to Arizona’s system of taxpayer-funded campaigns, it is worthwhile to ask whether systems like these deliver the promised benefits to the public that pays for them. Inevitably, supporters claim that public funding will revolutionize—and, of course, elevate—democracy. See, for example, the […]

As Bill Maurer notes below, at the heart of IJ’s challenge to Arizona’s “Clean Elections” law is an obvious and important claim: If the government gives additional money to your political and ideological opponents whenever you speak, you are less likely to do so. Thus, the so-called “matching funds” (or “rescue funds”) in Arizona’s law […]

Today, the Institute for Justice filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to overturn a decision of the Ninth Circuit upholding Arizona’s punitive system of taxpayer-financed campaigns.  IJ’s challenge is Arizona Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (known as McComish v. Bennett at the Ninth Circuit).  At issue is Arizona’s […]

It turns out we were a little too quick in our post last week proclaiming the end of the case challenging the new Wisconsin campaign finance rule.  The case is in federal court and the judge has expressed concern that he might not have jurisdiction to enter a judgment, even an agreed one, that effectively […]