Saturday, January 23, 2010

Obama Blasts Citizens United Decision

In his weekly address, President Obama condemned the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which he said "strikes at our democracy itself":
This ruling opens the floodgates for an unlimited amount of special interest money into our democracy. It gives the special interest lobbyists new leverage to spend millions on advertising to persuade elected officials to vote their way - or to punish those who don't. That means that any public servant who has the courage to stand up to the special interests and stand up for the American people can find himself or herself under assault come election time. * * *

I can't think of anything more devastating to the public interest. The last thing we need to do is hand more influence to the lobbyists in Washington, or more power to the special interests to tip the outcome of elections.

The President said that he has "instructed my administration to get to work immediately with Members of Congress willing to fight for the American people to develop a forceful, bipartisan response to this decision." As SCOTUSblog notes, however, because Citizens United is a constitutional decision, there may not be anything Congress can do to challenge the decision directly, although it is conceivable that indirect limits could be placed on corporate spending on elections.

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