Citizens United and the Future of the Roberts Court


USA Today's Joan Biskupic reports on what the Supreme Court's widely-debated ruling in Citizens United v. F.E.C. might mean for the other politically-charged cases up for review this term:

"Is this a turning point?" asks Pamela Harris, director of Georgetown Law's Supreme Court Institute. Harris notes that Chief Justice John Roberts' concurring opinion in the campaign-finance case defended reversing past rulings that have been, as Roberts wrote, "so hotly contested that (they) cannot reliably function as a basis for decision in future cases."

"That is an incredibly muscular vision of when you would overrule precedent," which usually guides justices in new cases, Harris says. "That makes it look like this is a court that's ready to go."

Several pending cases — some that already have been argued, some that will be argued in upcoming weeks — are likely to show the reach of the Roberts Court and its boldness….

Among the most closely watched disputes: whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms covers regulation by states and cities; whether people who signed petitions for a ballot referendum against gay marriage have a First Amendment right to keep their names private; and whether a board set up to regulate public accounting firms after the Enron and Worldcom scandals violates the separation of powers and infringes on the executive branch.

Read the whole story here. Last month I discussed what Roberts' Citizens United concurrence might mean for the Chicago gun case.