A. Barton Hinkle on Campaign Finance and the Death of Democracy


Citizens United was a simple First Amendment matter, writes A. Barton Hinkle. Could the government ban the distribution of a movie advocating the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the crucial days leading up to an election, if the movie were paid for by a corporation? Could it, for that matter, ban a similarly funded book that said "Vote for X," or a sign in Lafayette Park that said the same thing? The government's lawyer, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart said yes: The government "could prohibit" such a book, movie, or sign. The Supreme Court said: No, it cannot.

Cue the hysterics.