Farber, Dan

Daniel Farber is the Sho Sato Professor of Law and Chair of the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley. This article originally appeared on the Berkeley Blog.

Of The Corporations, By The Corporations, And For The Corporations?

By Dan Farber

The Court’s decision in Citizens United was something of a foregone conclusion. Still, it was a bit breathtaking. 

The Court was obviously poised to strike down the latest Congressional restrictions on corporate political expenditures.  But the Court went further and struck down even restrictions that had been upheld thirty years ago. Seldom has a majority been so eager to reach out, address a question that wasn’t presented by the parties and overrule a bevy of prior decisions. The term “judicial activism” is overused but seems entirely appropriate here.

In the end, the Court just doesn’t see any real reason for campaign finance restrictions. It may be willing to tolerate some token restrictions in the name of precedent, but basically, it views economic influence over the political process as altogether natural and appropriate.