How Scalia’s Absence Impacts Democracy Rulings


Eliza Newlin Carney  | The American Prospect | February 18, 2016

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia has both short- and long-term implications for a host of judicial disputes over democracy and election law, in areas from redistricting to voting rights, corruption statutes and campaign-finance rules.

Over the long term, a reconstituted Supreme Court could make it easier for reform advocates to reverse Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 ruling that for many voters has become a symbol of campaign deregulation run amok. While Scalia staunchly defended political disclosure, he was part of a conservative majority under Chief Justice John Roberts that tossed out one election regulation after another, and that drastically narrowed the legal definition of corruption.

“There are a lot of areas of jurisprudence that are now going to be subject to a potential course correction, depending on who ultimately takes Scalia’s position,” says Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “Money and politics issues are definitely at the top of that list.”

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