Justice Kennedy’s Legacy: Democracy Contaminated!

by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director

June 27, 2018

Justice Anthony Kennedy will be remembered for writing the horrendous 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United, which said that corporations, unions, and other groups can spend unlimited amounts of money to try to get their favorite candidates elected.

This has opened the floodgates, and our democracy is drowning in big money and dark money as a result.

In that decision, Kennedy wrote two of the most naïve statements ever contained in a Supreme Court decision:

“Independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”

And, “The appearance of influence or access, furthermore, will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.”

Wow, what planet was he living on?

When corporations spend millions of dollars to elect candidates, that spending amounts to legalized bribery.

And the electorate is already losing faith in our democracy precisely because of the pernicious role of big money in our campaigns. A poll just came out this week, commissioned by the George W. Bush Institute, the University of Pennsylvania’s Biden Center, and Freedom House, that revealed that 8 in 10 Americans are concerned about the condition of democracy in America, and 8 in 10 believe that the influence of money in politics is getting worse.

They have Anthony Kennedy to thank for that.