WASHINGTON, DC - On the second day of the U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming Term, the Justices will hear a major case involving the corrupting influence of money in our political system, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.
Since the Supreme Court decided Citizens United v. FEC in 2010, Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, one of the nation's most respected academic voices on the First Amendment and campaign finance, has directed a massive research project to identify and code every mention of the word "corruption" in Founding-era documents and debates. The results of this exhaustive research are striking. While Mr. McCutcheon tries to build off suggestions by the Court in Citizens United that the government may only police money-for-votes forms of bribery, Lessig's research shows that the Founding generation had a much broader understanding of the federal government's power to root out corruption.
The Founders were intensely concerned with combatting what Lessig calls "improper dependence" or institutional corruption, in which public officials are dependent on special interests and their money rather than on, as James Madison wrote, "the people alone." Lessig's research raises the question of whether the Court will follow the Founders in McCutcheon, or side with the conservative critics of campaign finance laws. Constitutional Accountability Center has filed a Supreme Court brief on behalf of Professor Lessig in McCutcheon.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, a former colleague of Professor Lessig's at Harvard Law School, has emerged as one of the most vocal and effective critics of Roberts Court rulings, such as Citizens United, which favor corporate interests over the rights and voices of ordinary Americans. Senator Warren and Professor Lessig will lead a discussion about the stakes in theMcCutcheon case and the Court's increasingly aggressive rulings that are preventing Congress from combating the corrupting influence of money in our political system.
WHO: Senator Elizabeth Warren and Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig
WHAT: Opening remarks by Senator Warren, followed a presentation from Professor Lessig on corruption, campaign finance, and the Supreme Court case of McCutcheon v. FEC, concluding with Q&A for Professor Lessig and CAC President Doug Kendall
WHEN: 12:00 to 1:00 PM, Thursday, September 26, 2013