Mark Walsh From Inside the McCutcheon Handdown

April 2nd, 2014

One of my favorite SCOTUSBlog features (other than Box-Count) are Mark Walsh’s reports from inside the court. His post on McCutcheon has some great personal moments from the Justices.

This seems like a classy nod from the Chief to the dissent:

Roberts then makes a noticeably respectful nod to the dissent that would soon come from one of his colleagues.

“There’s a thoughtful dissent today,” he says, one that performed its function of forcing the majority to think through its conclusions. At this moment, Justice Stephen G. Breyer turns to his the neighbor on his right, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and gives a wry smile.

And Breyer seems to have reciprocated:

Breyer says he will focus on the Chief Justice’s plurality opinion, and he departs from even his own printed bench statement, to call it “a good opinion, though I don’t agree with it.”

And some humor from Breyer:

“Today the Court overrules Buckley and strikes down a similar ceiling [on overall contributions] as unconstitutional,” Breyer says. “The Court substitutes for the current two-year overall contribution ceiling of $123,000, the number infinity.”

He pauses and a few people chuckle at that. “If the Court in Citizens United opened a door, today’s decision may well open a floodgate,” he says.

There is more tapping into the Citizens United vein. “Taken together with Citizens United, today’s holding, we fear, eviscerates our nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to support.”