Today’s Supreme Court ruling scares the hell out of me. Michael Waldman:
The decision portends an even more deregulatory thrust in campaign finance. Another big campaign finance case soon likely to reach the high court would test the ban on large “soft money” contributions to political parties, last upheld by the court in 2003. Just days after John McCain’s presidential campaign ended, the Republican National Committee sued to overturn the provision that was his proudest legislative accomplishment. That would mark a true plunge into partisan wars. Explaining the case, the RNC’s political director was blunt: To have a chance of matching Obama’s small donations, “we need to be on an equal footing, and we think that law [McCain-Feingold] keeps us from doing that.”
What will this mean for Obama’s broader agenda? Health care, climate change, financial reregulation, the auto bailout — all heighten government’s role in the economy. The Citizens United ruling suggests the court may smile on even the most audacious conservative legal theories, such as those alleging that regulations are an improper taking by the government. And it shows an unsettling eagerness to overturn precedent in line with ideological predilection. The five votes may be fleeting, depending on who leaves the court next, but the Roberts majority appears ready to use its power while it has it. The Supreme Court and its role may well become a contested issue in this and upcoming elections — as it has been through much of American history. This time it will be progressives demanding an end to judicial activism.
The Bush era was foisted upon us by the Supreme Court. And the Roberts Court is just another instrument of Republican obstruction.