Constltutional Law

Reagan Era Influenced Supreme Court Vote in Citizens United Campaign-Finance Case


A landmark campaign-finance decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last month striking corporate spending limits as an unconstitutional restriction of companies’ free speech reflects the influence of the Reagan era, writes David Savage in a Los Angeles Times analysis of the decision.

All five of the justices who voted to strike a portion of the McCain-Feingold Act were either appointed by President Ronald Reagan or worked as lawyers in his administration, the article notes.

“This is a different brand of conservatism,” says election law expert Trevor Potter, who counseled the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

“The justices are shaped by society,” he tells the Times. “Those that came after the Great Depression saw government regulation of corporations as natural and necessary. This younger generation sees it very differently. They have a real distrust of government.”

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “5-4 Citizens United Ruling ‘a Revolution in Campaign Finance Law’”

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