Citizens United

  • October 5, 2015

    by Jim Thompson

    Garrett Epps at The Atlantic discusses the partisan implications of three forthcoming Supreme Court cases.

    At The New Republic, Lawrence Goldstone explains that the decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission has misguided legal roots in “a series of late nineteenth century Supreme Court rulings that disemboweled the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments and ushered in the Jim Crow era.”

    Catherine Fisk at On Labor argues that Justice Antonin Scalia’s frequent opinion that public employees have minimal free speech rights “should require him to reject the First Amendment challenge to union fair share fees in Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association.”

    At Vice, Max Rivlin-Nadler explains why budget constraints are undermining defendants’ right to an attorney in legal proceedings. This story is part of a larger series on mass incarceration in America. 

  • September 16, 2015
    Guest Post

    by Norman L. Reimer, Executive Director, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

    The power to prosecute is the power to destroy a person’s reputation.  It is the power to seize the hard-earned treasure of a life’s work, to strip a person of liberty, and even in some jurisdictions in this country, to kill a fellow human being.  Simply put, a criminal prosecution is the most awesome use of government power short of warfare.  For this reason, the founders of this nation constructed a network of fundamental constitutional rights to ensure that this enormous power is used fairly and with appropriate limitations and safeguards. The American system of government entrusts the enforcement of these rights to an independent judiciary. As Chief Justice John Roberts famously explained in his confirmation hearing: the role of a judge is like an umpire, “to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.”  In other words, the role of the judge is to make the hard calls, applying constitutional principles, statutory provisions, and case precedent without fear or favor, and unencumbered by self-interest. But that imperative is under assault.

    As a criminal defense attorney for nearly 30 years, I represented hundreds of accused persons whose lives were profoundly affected by judicial decision-making, and nothing is more heartbreaking than to see a judge take the easy way out to avoid criticism in the criminal context. Nothing is more corrosive of public confidence in the criminal justice system than the perception that the game is rigged. That perception breeds resentment and contempt.  It denigrates the courts in the eyes of the public. It polarizes society—and turns a process that should promote healing into one that perpetuates mistrust and division.

    Skewed Justice: Citizens United, Television Advertising and State Supreme Court Justices’ Decisions in Criminal Cases confirms the corrosive effect of money on judicial behavior. It is an important contribution to the mounting data that proves that there is an inverse relationship between the influx of the outside judicial campaign money authorized by the Citizens United decision and due process in criminal cases. This report empirically demonstrates that the infusion of spending to influence judicial elections increases the likelihood that state supreme court justices will vote against the interests of criminal defendants and that the greater the number of television advertisements the greater the likelihood that those judges will vote against those interests.

  • June 8, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    Jerry Markon reports for The Washington Post that the White House has stopped work on its immigration program in response to numerous legal setbacks this year.

    At SalonHeather Digby Parton writes about the plot against the Affordable Care Act and the dire circumstances that would arise should the Court rule against the healthcare law. 

    Sarah Kliff of Vox takes a critical look at the GOP's five plans to fix the Affordable Care Act should the Supreme Court strikes down the law.

    At SlateMichael J. Socolow explains how television stations are the major winners of the Citizens United ruling. 

    Kenneth Jost considers at ‚ÄčJost on Justice Texas's challenge to the "one-person, one-vote" rule that the Supreme Court granted cert to late last month.



  • June 3, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jeff Clements, member of the ACS Boston Lawyer Chapter’s Board of Advisors, argue at Reuters that  it’s time for the United States to create a 28th amendment to overturn Citizens United.

    Jess Bravin reports in The Wall Street Journal on the Supreme Court’s decision in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch, which “underscored employers’ obligation to accommodate…the religious practices of workers and applicants.” 

    At Hamilton and Griffin on Rights, Marci A. Hamilton considers what the EEOC v. Abercrombie decision means in relation to the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.

    Noah Feldman discusses at Bloomberg View how Anthony Elonis’s Facebook threats case may drag on as the Supreme Court decision “left open exactly what will have to be proved at his retrial.”

    At The Hill, Juan Williams writes about the problems of King v. Burwell and asserts that “nobody wins when the courts get caught up in hyper-partisan politics.” 

  • May 28, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    In The New York TimesACS Board of Directors member Linda Greenhouse explains how presidential hopefuls have made Citizens United a litmus test when discussing potential Supreme Court nominees.  

    Also in The New York Times, Julie Bosman reports on the decision in Nebraska to abolish the death penalty with a veto override. 

    Deborah L. Rhode laments the lack of diversity in the legal profession, the least diverse profession in the United States, at The Washington Post.

    At SlateMark Joseph Stern writes that the Supreme Court will review a case in which prosecutors worked to remove all black jurors from a jury pool for a death penalty case.  

    Simon Maloy examines the Texas redistricting case Evenwel v. Abbott at Salon and argues that the Supreme Court's decision could allow the GOP to engineer elections in their favor. 

    At The AtlanticAlana Semuels takes a look at how Cincinnati both reformed its police department and reduced crime.