Washington, D.C. — Supreme Court Justices enjoy constitutionally protected independence that frees them from the burdens of running for office or collecting campaign contributions. But Justices still have an obligation to understand the practical consequences of their actions when weighing in on laws. For revealing a stunning indifference to the corrosive influence of money on democracy in a recent campaign finance case, CREW’s voters awarded Justice Antonin Scalia the title of October’s Scoundrel of the Month.
In October, the Court heard oral arguments in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a chase challenging the aggregate limit on campaign contributions made directly to candidates. During the arguments, Justice Elena Kagan noted that, without the limits, candidates could construct complex fundraising committees allowing them to solicit contributions of up to $3.5 million from a single donor. In response, Justice Scalia remarked, “I don’t think $3.5 million is a heck of a lot of money.”
Justice Scalia’s blithe dismissal of the ever-increasing sums of money pouring into our elections is in keeping with his ruling in the disastrous Citizens United case, which opened the door for corporations and the nation’s wealthiest individuals pour unlimited sums of anonymous money into political campaigns.
“CREW’s voters — unlike Justice Scalia — understand that allowing federal officeholders to solicit a multimillion-dollar campaign contribution from a single donor poses an obviously threat to democracy,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “While Justice Scalia and the rest of the misguided majority on the Court keep whistling past the graveyard, American voters are living with the consequences of their catastrophic rulings.”
Nominations are already being accepted for November’s Scoundrel of the Month. People, entities, and agencies are all eligible. Submit your choices by Friday, November 22nd. Voting will begin the following week.