We perish because we know not… #TLENews
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doubled down Wednesday on her belief that Citizens United was the worst decision made by the current U.S. Supreme Court, saying it is the the first decision she would overturn if she had a “magic wand.”
Ginsburg said the current campaign system is “being polluted by money” during a C-SPAN3 appearance, crediting the Citizens United decision, which effectively gave corporations and unions the right to give and spend unlimited funds on independent political activity.
The justice said the effects of that 2010 decision can even be felt in the judiciary system too, as judges in some 29 states face elections at some level.
“It costs millions of dollars to fund a campaign for a state supreme court,” Ginsburg said. “Something is terribly wrong. I think we are reaching the saturation point.”
Still, Ginsburg expressed hope. She shared her late husband’s claim that the “true symbol” of the United States is the pendulum, that when things swing too far one way, they eventually have to swing back the other.
“I can’t say when, but one day sensible restrictions on campaign financing will be the law of this land. Yes, it will happen,” she said.
One of the more “shameful” byproducts of the Citizens United decision is the staggeringly low voter turnout in the U.S., Ginsburg added. She said it’s difficult to go abroad and be hit with questions like, “how do you allow people with money to have access to the lawmakers, to the decision makers that ordinary people don’t have?” and, “how do you have a system where legislative districts in the House are so gerrymandered that people don’t vote?”
“The [American] people have a sense, ‘why bother?'” she said. “It’s a foregone conclusion who’s going to win. So I think we need to get our democracy to where it is a democracy for all of the people.”
“There is important work to be done.”
Ginsburg believes legislators have a better grasp for the ways money and politics are connected, and that it should be up to them to decide campaign finance regulations. In September, Ginsburg told The New Republic that the Supreme Court should have trusted the legislative system when making their 2010 decision, saying the Citizens United ruling taints democracy as it should be.
“I think the notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be,” she said at the time.