One sigh of relief, and then back to deep breathing

"Rachel Lewis" "CitVox"
Citizen Vox (voice), the official blog of Public Citizen. Keeping it real offline AND online.

Remember Citizens United v. the FEC? Well, it’s hard to imagine myself saying this but: it could have gotten even worse, and it didn’t. So while it’s a very short sigh of relief, it’s still a relief.  NPR’s Nina Totenberg, questioned Public Citizen lawyer Scott Nelson about a much talked about Nevada case that was appealed to and reviewed by the Supreme Court. Nelson said of the case,

It’s in some ways seemingly part of a coordinated strategy to use the First Amendment to dismantle protections against corruption in government

“The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously upheld a broad state ethics law, ruling that legislators have no personal, First Amendment right to vote on a measure. The decision reverses a Nevada state court ruling that would have undermined conflict-of-interest laws across the country.”

The case ruling that was reversed by the Supreme Court on Monday involved a city council member whose campaign manager was a paid consultant (paid to the ring of $10,000) to a casino developer whose contract the council member was giving a thumbs up or down vote on.  When the council member got in trouble, he took it to court saying that voting was a “first amendment right” he was entitled to . . . (yeah, not joking here). AND, he won in Nevada (yeah, that explains a few things, right?).

Nelson applauded SCOTUS for their unanimous reversal of the Nevada decision.

Still, after a sigh of relief, Nelson and the rest of us at Public Citizen are expanding our lungs for another deep breath, as the fight must continue until we get a constitutional amendment passed that will overturn the court’s terrible Citizens United v. FEC decision. What to me seems nothing short of a case of cognitive dissonance, Nelson had this to say of to Totenberg:  ” . . . the court apparently sees a difference between campaign finance laws, [where] there is a majority that is very suspicious, and ethics laws, which seem backed by pretty much a unanimous court.”

To hear or read Totenberg’s full report please click here.