Discussing future U.S. Supreme Court justices during a campaign stop in Iowa on May 18, current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton bluntly characterized her future views on the matter.
“I will do everything I can to appoint Supreme Court justices who protect the right to vote and do not protect the right of billionaires to buy elections,” Clinton said, referring to the Court’s decision in the controversial Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission case of 2010.
Citizens United has been a prime target among liberals in the Democratic Party for not allowing the federal government to restrict political spending by corporations and other organizations in elections. At the time of the decision, in January 2010, President Barack Obama called it “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans,” The New York Times reported.
In response, Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered the lone nonpartisan Justice currently on the Court, said “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech,” defending his vote for Citizens United.
Clinton’s comments are odd due to the fact that her presidential campaign is being assisted by a Super PAC, which could only have been made possible with the existence of the Citizens United law. The legislation also allows for unions to spend millions of dollars in elections, a group that traditionally favors Democratic candidates.
The Los Angeles Times reports that campaign finance reform groups, who would typically side with Clinton on the issue, are weary of the former First Lady’s exploitation of the issue during her campaign stops in key primary and caucus states, such as Iowa.
Photo Credit: MSNBC, nationofchange.org