Chief Justice Roberts distorts 1st Amendment

The recent Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon, et al v. Federal Election Commission is glaringly flawed. Justice Roberts's majority opinion reads, in part: "The only type of corruption that Congress may target is quid pro quo corruption… Spending large sums of money in connection with elections, but not in connection with an effort to control the exercise of an officeholder's official duties, does not give rise to quid pro quo corruption."

The obvious question is how do you distinguish, "spending large sums of money in connection with elections" from "spending large sums of money in connection with an effort to control the exercise of an officeholder's official duties?" (Note that spending large sums is in connection with an effort to control; apparently, the officeholder doesn't actually need to do your bidding.)

You don't find the answer in Justice Roberts's majority opinion, which is the decision's glaring flaw. I agree with Jeffrey Toobin in this week's New Yorker Magazine: "It increasingly appears likely that, for John Roberts, the (goal) will be removing the limits that burden wealthy campaign contributors-the 'whole point' of the First Amendment, as he sees it."

Hide Comments

READER COMMENTS

Loading comments...
Hide Comments