December 4, 2013 |
Matt Bevin stood beneath Kentucky's Capitol dome and tore into all the things wrong with Congress, starting with the state's U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. "How," Bevin demanded, "can we begin to remedy what ails us as a nation ... if we continue to send the very same tired ideas and tired people to Washington over and over and over again?" Soon enough Alison Lundergan Grimes chimed in. "D.C. has come to stand for the dysfunctional capital," she told a pair of reporters after touring a distribution warehouse in northern Kentucky, "and after 28 years in Washington, Mitch McConnell is the institution and the reason that it's broken down.
October 9, 2013 |
If you think Citizens United has unleashed a torrent of cash and real corruption into our electoral system - and it has - brace yourself for something worse. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a campaign finance case that could be even bigger than Citizens United, which was decided in 2010. The new case, McCutcheon vs. FEC, challenges the aggregate spending rules that limit any one campaign contributor to $123,000 in total spending to political candidates and election committees during any two-year federal election cycle.
October 7, 2013 |
Almost 40 years ago, in Buckley vs. Valeo, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress didn't violate the 1st Amendment when it imposed reasonable limits on contributions to political candidates and campaign committees in an attempt to check the role of big money in politics. That bedrock of campaign finance law survived even the court's ill-conceived decision in Citizens United three years ago removing restrictions on independent political spending by corporations and unions. But some wealthy Americans have never reconciled themselves to the idea that they can't lavish as much money as they want on their favorite candidates, and some Supreme Court justices are sympathetic to that point of view.
September 8, 2013 |
Churches and other nonprofits long have been forbidden from endorsing political candidates. But erratic enforcement of the law has emboldened supporters of legislation in Congress that would end the restriction. Far from needing to be repealed, the ban on politics in the pulpit ought to be enforced more aggressively. A bill sponsored by Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) would repeal a 1954 amendment to the tax code sponsored by then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson. The amendment says that churches and other so-called 501(c)
March 24, 2013 |
Court decisions sometimes spark dramatic political backlashes. Brown vs. Board of Education, which struck down school segregation laws in 1954, temporarily retarded progressive racial reform in the South and advanced the political careers of racial extremists. Furman vs. Georgia (1972), which strictly limited capital punishment, increased support for the death penalty, and Roe vs. Wade (1973) catalyzed a powerful right-to-life movement. The Massachusetts Supreme Court's 2003 ruling in favor of marriage equality led 25 states to enact constitutional amendments barring it. One possible outcome of the Hollingsworth vs. Perry litigation currently before the Supreme Court, which challenges California's Proposition 8, is a broad ruling in favor of marriage equality.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 3, 2013 |
Mayoral candidate Kevin James clawed his way into the thick of the race for mayor of Los Angeles, but a harsh TV ad last month turned off twice as many voters as it won over, according to a USC Price/Los Angeles Times online survey. That reaction contrasts strongly with viewers' feelings about more upbeat ads for front-runners Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel, the survey found. The James ad, financed by the independent group Better Way L.A., blames the three sitting politicians running for mayor - City Controller Greuel, Councilman Garcetti and Councilwoman Jan Perry - for the city's "loss of services, crumbling streets" and "bankruptcy.