From all the news media attention and dozens of amicus briefs it’s attracted, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission clearly is one of the major cases before the U.S. Supreme Court in its upcoming term.
But could it be the top case? Former U.S. Solicitor General Kenneth Starr says that’s possible. It “has a just claim to be the most important case” the Supreme Court will decide this term, Starr remarked at a lunchtime gathering sponsored by a local chapter of the Federalist Society, according to a report by the Metropolitan News-Enterprise in Los Angeles.
The case about corporate spending limits on elections–originating from a regulatory dispute involving a video documentary sharply critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton–will be reargued Sept. 9. When Starr was independent counsel, his report paved the way for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
Starr, a former federal appellate judge, is law school dean at Pepperdine University. He offered some handicapping of the Supreme Court’s handling of Citizens United.
At the gathering, Starr “suggested that fiveÂ justices… ‘probably think all restrictions’ on electioneering communications and campaign spending violate the First Amendment,” the publication reported. They are Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Starr said their views on the role of stare decisis will be tested by the case.
President Obama’s Department of Justice has urged the high court not to overrule two prior decisions involving corporate limits, saying a reversal “would likely invalidate federal legislation that has restricted corporate electioneering for over 60 years, as well as similar legislation enacted by many States; and basic principles of stare decisis…demand adherence to precedent in this case.”
TheÂ doctrine is literally translated from the Latin as “to stand by that which is decided.” To read more in Gavel Grab about the case, click here, and to see Justice at Stake Campaign’s amicus brief, visit here.