Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission is one of the most polarizing Supreme Court cases of all time. So what is it actually about, and why did the Justices decide the way they did? Justice Anthony Kennedy, often called the “most powerful man in America,” wrote the majority opinion in the case. In this episode, we examine Kennedy’s singular devotion to the First Amendment and look at how it may have influenced his decision in the case.
The key voices:
Kai Newkirk, 99 Rise
Michael Boos, vice president and general counsel of Citizens United
Jim Bopp, lawyer, The Bopp Law Firm
Marcia Coyle, chief Washington correspondent for The National Law Journal
Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, a contributing editor of The Atlantic, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution
Jeffrey Toobin, writer and contributor to The New Yorker and CNN
Michael Dorf, professor of law at Cornell University and former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy
Alex Kozinski, circuit judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy**
The key cases:
2010: Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commision
The key links:
"Money Unlimited," by Jeffrey Toobin
Correction: A earlier version of this episode misstated the date of the last day of the 2009 term.
Additional music for this episode by:
Kevin MacLeod "Bad Ideas (distressed)"Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Special thanks to Justin Levitt, Guy-Uriel Charles, William Baude, Helen Knowles, and Derek John.
Leadership support for More Perfect is provided by The Joyce Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation.
Supreme Court archival audio comes from Oyez®, a free law project in collaboration with the Legal Information Institute at Cornell.
**This episode was taped prior to The Washington Post's reporting on Judge Alex Kozinski which was published on December 8, 2017.