UofL Law Professors Debate 'Citizens United' Case

by scrosby on February 23, 2010

It still remains unclear how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this year in the so-called “Citizens United” case will affect elections. Some University of Louisville professors believe there will be much more discussion about it in legal and political circles in the months to come.

A Supreme Court decision in January relaxed restrictions on corporate contributions to issues-related advertising close to elections. Some observers have wondered if the shift will dramatically change the airwaves near elections, and if that shift will affect the electorate. University of Louisville law professor Russ Weaver says that isn’t the issue.

“The bottom line is, in a free society, I think we have to trust the process,” says Weaver, “and we have to trust speech and we have to trust the ability of voters to make decisions and to evaluate the speech that’s out there.”

University of Louisville visiting assistant professor of law Joseph Tomain says the views of corporations shouldn’t matter to voters.

“When we talk about corporations, when we talk about Humana, or University of Louisville, or Exxon, or McDonald’s, those views don’t necessarily represent the views of the people,” says Tomain. “Those views represent the views of those companies. And there are very legitimate reasons to distinguish between natural persons and artificial entities as corporations.”

Weaver and Tomain made their comments on Tuesday’s State of Affairs.

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