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Today's Special: A Smorgasbord of Citizens United Coverage

Has coverage of yesterday's Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (PDF) got your feed burner feeling a bit ... well, overfed? Can't quite find the time to read Justice Kennedy's 57-page majority opinion, Justice Stevens' 90-page dissent, or the assorted concurring and dissenting ruminations of Justices Roberts, Scalia and Thomas -- but still need to be well-armed for your weekend cocktail chatter? Fear not: On the menu today at Legal Blog Watch is a more manageable serving of notable Citizens United news. Think of it as a buffet, from which you can sample at your leisure. Please, just remember to use the tongs.

As noted in this piece in The Washington Post (which provides an overview of the Court's ruling), yesterday's decision "prompted sharp partisan reaction[s]," including a response from President Obama (who released a statement lambasting the Court's action). While all parties seem to agree that the decision "shakes the foundation of corporate limitations on federal and state elections that stretch back a century," the consensus ends there. The WSJ Law Blog took a moment to wonder how much Citizens United "is really going to change state and federal elections," but, elsewhere in the blawgosphere, reactions were less measured.

Some "critics and dissenters immediately predicted it would alter elections in 2010 and beyond by unleashing a new flood of corporate and union money into a system already awash with special-interest funds" wrote Tony Mauro in The National Law Journal. Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times declared that, "[a]t first blush, Republican candidates would seem to benefit from this change in how political campaigns are conducted in America," and Richard Hasen, writing in Slate, called yesterday "a bad day for American democracy."

Other commenters urged us all to take a deep breath. "Relax," Roger Pilon counseled, in a post on the Cato Institute's blog entitled "Democracy Will Survive Citizens United." "The First Amendment is not a 'loophole.' It's the very foundation of our democracy, and we are stronger today for this decision." At, Daniel Fisher summarized the decision by noting simply that, "Money talks. And that's okay."

In the mood for a thoughtful look at the larger issues? Lyle Denniston's analysis at SCOTUSblog addresses some of the questions left unanswered by Citizens United, and Robert Barnes, of The Washington Post, dissects the dynamics of the divided Court that was very much on display at the announcement of yesterday's decision. And at her Crossroads blog, Jan Crawford wonders whether Justice Stevens' halting presentation, from the bench, of his dissenting opinion is yet another clue that he plans to retire from the Court. Finally, if you like your commentary with a side of profanity, check out Jason Linkins' take on the matter in The Huffington Post.

Bon appetit, Courtwatchers.

Legal Blog Watch guest blogger Liz Kurtz is a former federal law clerk and litigator specializing in white collar criminal defense.

Posted by Liz Kurtz on January 22, 2010 at 04:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)


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