Alas, Lessig’s TUMBLR of every founding-era use of the word “corruption” was not cited by the Court. Lessig faults the liberals for not looking to his originalism.
But the striking fact about McCutcheon is that the government didn’t even try. Originalism is not the language of liberals. It’s beneath them—the weapon of the enemy. So the government’s brief didn’t even hint at the argument that there was no good originalist reason to restrict the meaning of “corruption” to quid pro quo corruption alone. And Justice Breyer in his classically geeky dissent doesn’t even hint at the possible originalist inconsistency—even though the core of his argument is precisely that “corruption” does not mean “quid pro quo corruption” alone.