Senator John Cornyn today accused Solicitor General Elena Kagan of displaying “disregard for the First Amendment and freedom of speech” by defending laws that limited corporate influence on elections.
People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan issued the following statement:
“Senator Cornyn has done a superb job of exposing the Right’s hypocrisy on judicial philosophy. In Citizens United v. FEC, the case Senator Cornyn refers to, the right wing bloc of the Supreme Court threw out more than a century of settled law to give corporations the same rights as citizens to campaign for or against candidates. For a Senator who has made a career of railing against ‘judicial activism’ to criticize the Solicitor General for defending legislation enacted by Congress is almost laughable. Senator Cornyn must have forgotten his years-long quest for judges who are ‘strict constructionists’ and who follow the ‘original intent’ of the Constitution. Citizens United flies in the face of all those buzzwords.
“The First Amendment is unambiguous in its goal of protecting a marketplace of ideas where all opinions, even unpopular ones, can be voiced freely. But corporations don’t have the same free speech rights as individuals. The First Amendment does not demand that we sacrifice our democratic system to the whims of corporations like Exxon and Goldman Sachs. Our founders didn’t intend to offer our government to the highest bidder. This decision doesn’t defend the First Amendment—it perverts it.
“The confirmation hearings for General Kagan will be an excellent opportunity for Senator Cornyn to attempt to defend his support for Citizens United. I look forward to watching him try.”