Saturday, January 23, 2010
This is a link to the dissent to January 21st's Supreme Court opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission written by Justice John Paul Stevens. The dissent lays out just how activist this decision was.
The court decided questions it begged to be asked.
From the dissent: "Essentially, five Justices were unhappy with the limited nature of the case before us, so they changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law."
Stevens doesn't sugar-coat the situation; he calls it the way he sees it. His fellow justices ignored centuries of protocol to rule on this case. The act Stevens accuses his colleagues of committing is highly irregular and almost without precedent--predecent is an important word here--in the annals of Supreme Court jurisprudence.
Bush v. Gore and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission are bookends and of one piece. Both decisions fly in the face of precedent. They dismantle years of settled law. They benefit narrow interests to the detriment of the common good.