Archives for November 2009

Previewing the Decision: Citizens United v. FEC

Filed Under: In the News

Administration Promotes Lobbyist ‘Brain Drain’

Filed Under: In the News

Why The Roberts Court Must Avoid Constitutional Avoidance

The clock keeps ticking away as election law observers await the Supreme Court’s to release its opinion in Citizens United v. FEC. This kind of delay has caused some anxiety for members of the campaign finance reform lobby. With each day that passes, the probability that something big is about to happen grows – stirring the pot of discontent. In Citizens United, “something big” means bringing clarity to the guarantee of free expression and clearing the mumbo jumbo of First Amendment jurisprudence that has muddled election law since the Court’s new take on campaign finance in McConnell.

The reform lobby has shifted into alarmist mode because they realize that if Austin and McConnell fall, a revived First Amendment jurisprudence will thwart many of their efforts to ban, regulate, and limit political speech nationwide. This concern can be seen in the writings of Fred Wertheimer, President of Democracy 21, who grows more anxious on a daily basis.

Filed Under: Blog

Happy Thanksgiving…

CCP’s blog will likely be dark for the next few days as our staff enjoys the Thanksgiving holiday.

As a reminder to our readers, we’ve added several social media features in conjunction with the relaunch of our website to make it easier to track political speech issues.

You can follow the Center for Competitive Politics on Twitter, a micro-blogging service, at @campaignfreedom. CCP Chairman Brad Smith and CCP President Sean Parnell also maintain accounts, @CommishSmith and @SeanParnellCCP.

You can also become a fan of the Center for Competitive Politics on Facebook.

Check out videos of Brad Smith and other CCPers explaining legal decisions, important legislation and other issues on CCP’s YouTube page.

Finally, we have a host of RSS feeds so you can follow specific news, research and legal updates from CCP. Our main RSS feed is CCP’s blog. We also have separate feeds for research, legal updates, newsroom (press release and “In the News” updates) and state-specific feeds. RSS feeds work by notifying you everytime a blog or a website posts a new item in a specific area. For example, instead of checking CCP’s blog five times a day, the new posts will appear like e-mail in an RSS feed reader like Google Reader.

We hope you’ll join the discussion about the First Amendment in politics as important issues like Citizens United and the mis-named Fair Elections Now Act are on the horizon.

Filed Under: Blog

Mayor Gets Pass For PAC Loophole

Filed Under: In the News


Filed Under: In the News

Welfare for politicians is libertarian?

Rep. John Larson, the Democratic caucus chair in the House, recently told National Journal that H.R. 1826, the Fair Elections Now Act, has a “very libertarian streak to it.”

National Journal: Are there other strongholds of potential Republican support for this?

Larson: It’s the kind of thing that perhaps would appeal to… House member Ron Paul [R-Texas]*. It’s got a very libertarian streak to it.

Umm… Does Larson know what libertarians stand for — at all? The American Heritage Dictionary defines a “libertarian” as “[o]ne who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.” [emphasis added]

Filed Under: Blog

What will be the tally in Citizens United?

At, they’re predicting the outcome of Citizens United v. FEC, known colloquially in many areas as the “Hillary Movie case.” Sixty-seven percent of the fantasy “10th Justices” are predicting that the Supreme Court will reverse the Court of Appeals and uphold the right of Citizens United to air its movie and ads. 

Overwhelmingly, the most common prediction is for a 5-4 vote overturning the lower court, as you can see below. This strikes me as incorrect. My guess is that the judgment will be at least 7-2 to overturn the lower court, and quite likely 9-0. However, the way the Court gets there will be much tighter, and it is quite likely that the key decision — whether to overturn Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce — will be a 5-4 tally.  But I’d be surprised if more than Stevens and maybe Ginsburg were prepared to rule that the government could censor this film.  My guess is that the liberal judges (Ginsburg, Breyer, Stevens, and Sotomayor) will argue that film is exempt under the press exemption in the statute, or under Wisconsin Right to Life II, or some other narrow ground.

Filed Under: Blog

CCP sends updated letter to Wis. Gov. Jim Doyle

The Center for Competitive Politics sent an updated letter to Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle on the constitutionality of a recently-passed bill instituting taxpayer financed judicial campaigns. The letter is in response to misleading statements from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign about recent federal court decisions concerning the constitutionality of “rescue funds” in similar taxpayer funded campaign programs.

Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign sent a letter to Gov. Doyle responding to the Center for Competitive Politics’ initial criticism. He erroneously claimed that the most recent federal court decisions support so-called rescue funds, which provide additional taxpayer money to participating candidates in response to the spending of non-participating candidates or outside groups.

Filed Under: Blog, Wisconsin

On campaign financing

Filed Under: In the News

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.