Former Justices Stevens & O'Connor Reject 'Citizens United' Ruling

Ex-Supreme Court Justices Jab 'Citizens United' Ruling

Former Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor recently appeared to come to a similar conclusion about the majority decision reached by their former colleagues in Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Committee earlier this year: it was a "mistake."

In an interview between the two in Newsweek, Stevens, who stood on the dissenting side of Citizens United, characterized the final decision in the case as a failure that he would like to see readdressed:

O'Connor: I suppose the court has had occasion to change its view on certain issues over a period of years. Do you see any on the horizon that you think the court might well reexamine as things go on?

Stevens: Well, you know, Sandra, I dissented in a lot of cases, and I'd like [the court] to reexamine them all [laughs]. I don't expect them to, but I think they made a serious mistake in the [Citizens United] campaign-finance case, in which they overruled the portion of an opinion you and I jointly authored [on the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law]. And I think you might share my view.

O'Connor, who retired before the Citizens United ruling, then responded with a less direct criticism of the Supreme Court's final determination:

I notice that myself, and when I am asked about it, I often say, "Well, the court overruled part of what I wrote." And leave it there. It is a source of concern today, the extent of campaign contributions and whether corporations and unions must be held to the [same] standard as an individual. These are tough issues for the nation and the court.

A recent analysis of the effects of Citizens United found that $132.5 million, about 15 percent of all federal political spending in the recent election cycle, was channeled by anonymous groups or unlimited donations authorized by the Supreme Court's ruling.

Support HuffPost

Popular in the Community