Former Justice Stevens Portrays Court as Inconsistent After Citizens United

by - May 31, 2012

Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired from the Supreme Court two years ago, accused his former colleagues in a speech Wednesday night of inconsistency, if not incoherence, in their rulings in the aftermath of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the blockbuster 2010 campaign finance decision.

The decision allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts to support or oppose political candidates. The vote was 5 to 4, and Justice Stevens wrote the dissent.

In his speech, delivered at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Justice Stevens questioned whether the majority was prepared to apply one of the principles it had announced in the decision in other contexts. In striking down part of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, the majority said that “the First Amendment generally prohibits the suppression of political speech based on the speaker’s identity.”

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