Ginsburg: ‘People are appalled abroad’ by big US campaign spending, the result of Citizens United

U.S. Supreme Court

Ginsburg: ‘People are appalled abroad’ by big US campaign spending, the result of Citizens United

Aug 26, 2013, 02:23 pm CDT

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg criticized escalating campaign spending and “a Congress that can’t react” to Supreme Court decisions in interviews with two separate publications.

Ginsburg told Bloomberg News that Citizens United led to big increases in campaign spending in the 2012 federal elections. The 2010 decision found that corporations have a First Amendment right to support political candidates with independent spending.

“You take the limits off and say, ‘You can spend as much as you want,’ and people will spend and spend,” Ginsburg told Bloomberg News. “People are appalled abroad. It’s a question I get asked all the time: Why should elections be determined by how much a candidate can spend and why should candidates spend most of their time these days raising the funds so that they will prevail in the next election?”

In an interview with the New York Times, Ginsburg noted congressional gridlock. In the past, she said, Congress and the court “have been having conversations with each other.” In one example, Congress reacted to a Supreme Court ruling on time limits for bringing pay discrimination lawsuits with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Ginsburg had called on Congress to act in reaction to that case, and she issued a similar call for action in June when the Supreme Court struck down the Voting Rights Act’s preclearance formula in Shelby County v. Holder.

“It isn’t good when you have a Congress that can’t react,” Ginsburg told the Times. “The Voting Rights Act passed by overwhelming majorities,” Ginsburg said, “but this Congress I don’t think is equipped to do anything about it.”

Ginsburg told both publications she doesn’t intend to retire. She told the Times her health is good and her work ethic is strong. She has made just a few adjustments because of her age. “I don’t water-ski anymore,” Ginsburg said. “I haven’t gone horseback riding in four years. I haven’t ruled that out entirely. But water-skiing, those days are over.”

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