Will Citizens United land Kagan on the Court?

The Times covers the latest news on the search for Justice Stevens’s replacement here this morning.

Mr. Obama said he would appoint a justice who “knows that in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.”

But Ms. Kagan did not press that point in the Supreme Court. Indeed, she abandoned that rationale, one that had supported the central precedent at issue in the case, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, a 1990 decision that upheld restrictions on corporate political spending.

Ms. Kagan instead offered two other rationales: the possibility that independent corporate spending would corrupt or appear to corrupt politicians and the possible misuse of shareholders’ money. In her briefs and in arguing her point, Ms. Kagan threw overboard the interest mentioned by President Obama, that the government may limit corporate speech to make sure it does not distort the marketplace of political ideas. “We do not rely at all on that,” she said at the argument.

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