It probably pleases Bernie Sanders each morning to wake up and realize the trajectory of his campaign shows that Chief Justice John Roberts and Antonin Scalia didn’t ruin the country in quite the way that progressive groups had feared in 2010. After all, the flood of money unleashed by them and the other justices in the majority of the Citizens United case hasn’t been enough to stop him and Donald Trump from skyrocketing in polls this summer.
Congress spent the four decades since Watergate chasing the moneychangers out of politics. Then, in 2010, the Supreme Court invited them back in with its Citizens United decision. Citing the First Amendment, the court ruled unconstitutional government restrictions on independent political spending by corporations and unions. The court’s massive deregulation of the campaign finance biz infuriated the New York Times editorial page, which spoke for liberals everywhere when it asserted that the court had “thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th century” and “paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding.”
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