Thursday's landmark decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission may, as the dissenters and many commentators are saying, "open the floodgates" of corporate campaign money. But before that, the biggest flood will be the outpouring of words about the ruling. The chattering classes and advocacy groups are on the case already.
Some hear in the decision a death knell for the entire structure of campaign finance reform, which has been based on the notion that some restraints can be constitutionally placed on the money that is spent in campaigns. Unsurprisingly, the Wall Street Journal celebrates the demise while the New York Times attacks it, accusing the Court of plunging the nation back into the "robber-baron era of the 19th century."
The Sunlight Foundation offers its views about campaign fund transparency here, and the Cato Institute rejoices here. The American Judicature Society worries about the impact on judicial elections here, and Covington & Burling views political parties as the big losers. People for the American Way launches a campaign for a constitutional amendment to overtrun the ruling, while Common Cause and Public Campaign see public funding as the remedy. The Pacific Legal Foundation applauds the ruling as a great vindication of the First Amendment.
Other thoughtful analysis can be found at Slate, both here and here, and at SCOTUSBlog, here and here. NLJ colleague Marcia Coyle analyzed the decision on the PBS News Hour. Doug Kendall of the Constitutional Accountability Center accused the Court of rewriting the Constitution at Huffington Post. WSJ's Law Blog wonders about the impact on the 2010 elections. For more, check just about any other Web site you know of, except maybe this one. (Hat tip to Election Law Blog, SCOTUSBlog, How Appealing, and Public Policy Matters for help in aggregating these links.)