Is the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Decision Hurting Democracy?

Critics have warned that the court's decision could spur new special interest spending.

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When the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. FEC that corporations could spend money on political campaigns, critics warned it would mean new special interest spending. Others hailed a victory for free speech. With midterms weeks away, how has it played out?
Edited by Robert Schlesinger

Yes

Michael Waldman
Executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University law school

We now approach the first general election of the Citizens United era. The opinion was the most controversial in years. Critics warned it would tilt the playing field of American politics. Citizens United has loosed a tide of massive—and alarmingly sneaky—spending. For all the Tea Party hubbub, this election's major factor could be cold cash.

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No

John Samples
Director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Representative Government

Many people say the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United is harming American democracy. Is it? Everyone knows democracy means "government by the people." But what does that mean concretely? The people should select those who govern. Each citizen should have an equal vote on who holds office.

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