Quantcast
Connect with us

Group: Supreme Court justices ‘participated in political strategy sessions’ before Citizens United

Published

on

On the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, which overturned nearly a century of restrictions on campaign spending, a progressive group has asked the Department of Justice to look into “conflicts of interest” two justices may have had when issuing the ruling.

In a petition to be sent to the department this week, Common Cause will argue that Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas should have recused themselves from the campaign finance decision because of their involvement with Koch Industries, a corporation run by two conservative activists who many say directly benefited from Citizens United.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It appears both justices have participated in political strategy sessions, perhaps while the case was pending, with corporate leaders whose political aims were advanced by the decision,” the letter alleges, as quoted at Politico.

The group will urge the department to disqualify Scalia and Thomas from the ruling. If that were to happen, the Supreme Court could vacate the ruling, effectively returning the campaign finance restrictions that existed until 2010. But, as Common Cause itself admits, the odds are against it.

At the center of the group’s claims is a document from Koch Industries unearthed last fall by ThinkProgress and the New York Times. In an invitation to a Palm Springs retreat to be held this month, Charles Koch boasted that previous events were attended by Scalia and Thomas.

If Scalia or Thomas attended a Koch event between 2008 and 2010, when the court was dealing with issues affecting Citizens United, “it would certainly raise serious issues of the appearance of impropriety and bias,” the Commons Cause petition states, as quoted in the New York Times.

Since the Citizens United ruling, many critics have focused on the role of the Koch brothers in US politics, arguing that the oil-business billionaires have placed themselves at the nexus of big business and conservative politics.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Koch brothers are generally believed to be behind Americans for Prosperity, a group that has been accused of distorting facts in campaigning against health care reform and climate change legislation. President Obama last fall referred to the group as an example of how Citizens United has allowed large corporations to use political groups to funnel unlimited amounts of money into campaigns.

“They don’t have to say who, exactly, Americans for Prosperity are,” Obama said. “You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation [or even] a big oil company.”

Steven Gillers, a legal ethics professor at NYU, told the Times that Common Cause’s campaign is “a steep uphill climb … but not an insurmountable one.” He suggested that even if the effort failed, it would still allow for a “public airing” of concerns surrounding the Supreme Court’s impartiality.

ADVERTISEMENT

But Rick Hasen, an election law expert at UC-Irvine, had far less faith in Common Cause’s effort.

“I am a big critic of the Citizens United case. I would love to see it reversed,” Hasen told Politico. “But this approach seems both unlikely to yield the desired result of seeing the case overturned and appears to be an unwarranted attack on the ethics of the Justices.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Hasen noted, “Justice Scalia has refused to recuse himself from cases involving a far closer relationship.”

Arn H. Pearson, a Common Cause vice president, made it clear that the group doesn’t see its effort as an open-and-shut case.

“We’re treading in new territory here for us,” he told the Times. “But a situation like this raises fundamental questions about public confidence in the Supreme Court.”

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Maddow reveals how one state stood up to Trump’s USPS cuts — and won

Published

on

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow's opening segment on Friday focused on a positive story of political pressure stopping one of the Trump administration's attacks on the U.S. Postal Service.

Maddow reported how NBC Montana reporter Maritsa Georgiou had doggedly reported on the removal of postal boxes in Missoula, where she is based. Missoula has been a long-time Democratic Party stronghold.

Montana has a competitive U.S. Senate election in 2020, with Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock challenging first-term Republican Sen. Steve Daines.

As Georgiou chased the story, she learned there were also plans to remove boxes in the battleground of Billings. And more planned for the blue town of Bozeman. And other towns.

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Pepsi joins the chorus of people dunking on Tucker Carlson over Kamala Harris

Published

on

The Pepsi soda company mocked Fox News personality Tucker Carlson on Friday evening.

On Tuesday, Carlson flipped out after a guest attempted to teach him how to pronounce the name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is running for vice president on Joe Biden's ticket.

Video of the exchange was posted on Twitter by Nikki McCann Ramirez, a researcher at the watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Tucker Carlson loses it when a guest corrects his pronunciation of Kamala Harris's name pic.twitter.com/1fHIrPGuwN

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Chad Wolf’s authority is ‘illegitimate’: Hispanic Caucus chairman demands DHS chief ‘resign in disgrace’

Published

on

Immigrant rights groups and Texas Democrats are urging a review on the legality of Trump administration immigration policies after a government watchdog found two of the White House’s top immigration officials are not legally eligible to serve in their respective positions.

The Government Accountability Office on Friday determined that Chad Wolf, acting Department of Homeland Security secretary, and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, aren’t legally qualified to hold those posts.

United We Dream, an advocacy group pushing for immigration reform, said the GAO’s conclusion calls into question the latest guidance from the DHS on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that was initiated in 2012.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image