On Thursday, speaking at an event held by the Constitutional Accountability Center, [U.S. Senator Elizabeth] Warren argued, "If the court continues in the direction of Citizens United, we may move another step closer to neutering Congress' ability to limit the influence of money in politics and another step closer to unlimited corporate contributions given directly to candidates and political committees."
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The Citizens United ruling “emboldened opponents of campaign finance reform,” noted Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center. “So I think there are people who want to do away with any and all limits on political contributions.”
Doug Kendall, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, which opposes the Chamber on issues, including campaign finance, said groups like his would need to respond if the Chamber expands its influence beyond the high court. "You can't help but notice how successful the National Chamber Litigation Center has been before the Supreme Court," Kendall said. "It certainly requires organizations that support appropriate regulations of businesses and the free market system to take notice and respond appropriately."
Yet Elizabeth Wydra of the Constitutional Accountability Center said her group's scrutiny of the framers' references to corruption show that the founding fathers had a more expansive interpretation: Their concern was elected officials' "improper dependence" on influences other than the people they were elected to serve. "It's important to note that the American people intuitively know what the founders themselves believed: that big money in politics is a problem not just because it could lead to bribery or money-for-votes types scandals, but also because of the way it corrodes the people's faith in our elections and our government," Wydra said.
After Thursday's vote, several liberal groups urged a full Senate review of the nominations. "The question is: what will moderate Republican Senators do next?" said Constitutional Accountability Center Vice President Judith Schaeffer. "If they truly have the interest of the American people at heart, they will follow the lead of Senator John McCain, who has said each of the three pending nominees to the D.C. Circuit should get a yes-or-no vote on the Senate floor," Schaeffer said. "Each of these nominees deserves no less."
As Brianne Gorod, the appellate counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center explains, "The search [in Riley v. California] violates that core purpose of the Fourth Amendment...If the Supreme Court doesn’t resolve this, police officers in some parts of the country will be able to search the entire contents of an individual’s cell phone, tablet, e-reader, and any other digital devices he has in his possession if he is arrested, even if the arrest is for a minor offense, such as failing to fasten his seatbelt."
As Simon Lazarus recently pointed out in The New Republic, radical libertarian ideas are gaining ground in amicus briefs and lower-court opinions and finding their way into the minds of the conservative bloc.
CAC Counsel Tom Donnelly joined Karl Frisch on Take Action News radio to discuss the influence of corporations on our Nation's federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
Critics of the legal challenges say the cases are based on a deliberate misreading of the ACA. “[The cases] take two phrases in different provisions of the ACA and read them in isolation, without looking at the act as a whole,” says Simon Lazarus, senior counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center, a public interest legal group.
The amicus brief of the Constitutional Accountability Center goes so far as to argue that warrantless cellphone searches are akin to the despised Colonial-era general warrants that inspired drafters of the Constitution to include the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizure.