Campaign Finance Reform Literature Review

1883 words - 8 pages

In a country where democracy is at the heart of all citizens, these citizens need to have a stronger voice when it comes to elections. This is why the implementation of an amendment that reforms the financing of campaigns is disputed greatly among scholars and political officials alike. The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are entitled to first amendment rights, but the basis of this ruling is unclear. Unfortunately the overturning of such a ruling would not even guarantee a restored democracy to American elections. Some professionals see corporations and hefty donating figures as an essential part of the election process, while others believe the Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee has taking many of the rights that the founding fathers had fought for. In the following body paragraphs, five sources will be reviewed in hopes of comparing the benefits and pitfalls of revising the way American Elections are financed.
Corruption is a constant idea surrounding the Campaign Finance Reform Act, both the court’s decision to overturn it and what corruption is going on through the donation and contributions of funds. According to Zephyr Teachout, Associate Law Professor at Fordham Law School and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Harvard's Kennedy School, corruption was present in the Citizens United opinion. This is important when dealing with the idea of whether or not The Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform was corrupt, and whether or not the ruling to overturn it was unjust. According to Justice Kennedy's ruling of Citizens United, corruption exists when someone seeks to influence an official through compensation, though there is no direct evidence to support this as there is in other cases in court.
At a procedural level, the Citizens United decision explicitly diminished the role of facts and narrative in determining what constitutes corruption. Chief Justice Roberts’s court has been known for its activism, in reaching beyond normal procedural constraints to reach a decision. The job of the court is not to do this though, instead it is directed to rule constitutionality on the basis of the constitution. It also goes further than that, in revealing a theory of corruption based not on facts, but instead an irrefutable truth depended upon, the 100,000 page record of an earlier court case McConnell v. FEC.
The author of this article finds this precedent to be a disturbing to set, especially when Campaign Reform is at the peak of its life-cycle. Such an example shows neglect for developed and well-thought-out evidence. In the Citizens United v. FEC case, the proof of unconstitutionality was rooted in the experience of those who passed the law, and not acquired facts. The choice to rule based on past understandings of corruption, instead of real-world instances of corruption, can possibly have freighting ramifications for the Supreme Court. It has also made it nearly impossible to get a new Campaign Finance Reform Act passed due to the...

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