Anthony Kennedy on Government Reform
Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Pres. Reagan 1988)
Chief Justice Roberts asked if the president "can take action that's inconsistent with the determination of federal law by this Court?" Justice Kennedy echoed this theme. "I agree that we should give (the World Court's) determination great weight, but that's something different from saying that (the president) can displace the authority of this Court on that issue of law."
With an opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, the Supreme Court agreed with Texas that the World Court had no authority whatsoever to bind the U.S. justice system. At the same time, it struck down the president's order, concluding it was unconstitutional for the president to unilaterally surrender the sovereignty of the United States of America.
OnTheIssues explanation: This ruling led to a spate of "Voter ID" laws, which proponents claim is needed to protect the integrity of the vote, and which opponents say discriminates against youth & minority voters.
Opinions:Majority: Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, & Alito; concurrence: Thomas; dissent: Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, & Kagan.
Federalism secures to citizens the liberties derived from the diffusion of sovereign power.
Kennedy pounded away, asking if the Florida legislature could have convened after the election and changed the rules as the court's decision had. Boies made what sounded like a critical admission, saying, "It would be unusual." To my ears, Boies had admitted the Florida legislature could not do what the Florida Supreme Court had done. Didn't that means the Florida court created new law?
Kennedy hammered Boies. "Could each county, " he asked, "give their own interpretation to what intent means, so long as they are in good faith and with some reasonable basis [of] finding intent?" From my vantage point, Boies made a second key admission, conceding, "it can vary from individual to individual" county.
Kennedy is usually conservative, and part of the majority bloc that favors states’ rights, but voted against states that wanted to outlaw flag burning.
Prior to the 2008 primary elections, Citizens United, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to educating the American public about their rights and the government, produced a politically conservative 90-minute documentary entitled Hillary: The Movie. This documentary covers Hillary Clinton's record while in the Senate & the White House. However, The Movie falls within the definition of "electioneering communications" under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 ("BCRA")--a federal enactment designed to prevent "big money" from unfairly influencing federal elections--which, among other things, prohibits corporate financing of electioneering communications. The FEC [enforced the provision] of BCRA prohibiting corporations from broadcasting electioneering communications within 60 days of a general election. [The Supreme Court rules that this] violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment.
Justice Kennedy , Opinion of the Court (Roberts, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas concurring):
Some members of the public might consider "Hillary: The Movie" to be insightful and instructive; some might find it to be neither high art nor a fair discussion on how to set the Nation's course; still others simply might suspend judgment on these points but decide to think more about issues and candidates. Those choices and assessments, however, are not for the Government to make.
Justice Stevens (dissent joined by Ginsburg , Breyer, and Sotomayor)
Neither Citizens United's nor any other corporation's speech has been "banned." All that the parties dispute is whether Citizens United had a right to use the funds in its general treasury to pay for broadcasts during the 30-day period. The notion that the First Amendment [allows that] is, in my judgment, profoundly misguided. Although I concur in the Court's decision to sustain BCRA's disclosure provisions, I emphatically dissent from its principal holding.
An Arizona public campaign financing law allowed a person who agreed to the restrictions of a publicly financed campaign to receive an initial allotment from the state. That initial allotment was increased when the spending of a privately financed opponent together with the spending of any independent group exceeded that initial allotment. The public funds to match opponent expenditures topped out at two times the initial allotment.
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Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sandra Day O'Connor
John Paul Stevens
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