Professor McConnell’s Defense of Citizens United

May 1, 2013
posted by Bob Bauer
Professor Michael McConnell defends Citizens United, but it is a highly qualified defense. He is critical of the Court’s craftsmanship—the “overlong opinion” is the least of the problems, secondary in significance to a holding that ranged “beyond what the parties argued or the facts demanded,” and that has prolonged the jurisprudential agonies inflicted by the long-standing contribution/expenditure distinction. McConnell believes that the Court, relying on a rationale he views as “naïve” or “obtuse,” missed a better argument for the outcome. So much for the defense. He then proposes an alternative way of seeing—and more favorably evaluating—the decision to bless corporate independent spending.