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Supreme Court of the United States

Campaign finance

2011

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Citizens United And The Illusion Of Coherence, Richard L. Hasen Jan 2011

Citizens United And The Illusion Of Coherence, Richard L. Hasen

Michigan Law Review

The self-congratulatory tone of the majority and concurring opinions in last term's controversial Supreme Court blockbuster, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, extended beyond the trumpeting of an absolutist vision of the First Amendment that allows corporations to spend unlimited sums independently to support or oppose candidates for office. The triumphalism extended to the majority's view that it had imposed coherence on the unwieldy body of campaign finance jurisprudence by excising an "outlier" 1990 opinion, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which had upheld such corporate limits, and parts of a 2003 opinion, McConnell v. FEC, extending Austin to unions …