The Great Debate

Tycoon dough: The ultimate electoral martial art

By Lawrence Norden and Daniel Weiner
January 16, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, May 20, 2009. REUTERS/Molly Riley

This is first article in the Reuters series on the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, handed down Jan. 21, 2010. After five years, is anything the same in U.S. elections? You can read other pieces in the series here.

Democracy is drowning in a sea of dark money

By Fred Wertheimer
January 16, 2015
Voters fill in their ballots as they vote in the U.S. midterm elections at a polling place in Westminster, Colorado

Voters fill in their ballots in the midterm elections at a polling place in Westminster, Colorado, November 4, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

from Stories I’d like to see:

Should Obamacare be derailed by a single sentence?

By Steven Brill
November 11, 2014


Most disputes that end up at the U.S. Supreme Court are about the interpretation of the Constitution and statutes, not about facts. The press is mostly left to provide the basic background of the dispute and then quote each side’s lawyers. Little independent digging is required.

from Jim Gaines:

Clear-eyed dissent from Supreme Court’s ruling to allow Texas voter ID law

October 18, 2014


Before dawn on Saturday morning, the Supreme Court issued a terse, unsigned ruling that, in effect, endorsed Texas’s voter-ID law, the most restrictive such law in the nation.

from Jim Gaines:

A constitutional amendment to take Big Money out of politics dies quietly

September 12, 2014


This week the U.S. Senate considered a constitutional amendment that would have allowed Congress and state legislatures to limit the power of money in politics. The debate was not much covered in the media because the outcome was so predictable. But the party-line vote that killed it should not go unnoted.

What’s the 2014 election really about? Religious vs. women’s rights

By Bill Schneider
July 10, 2014

Demonstrators gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court for the "Not My Boss's Business" rally for women's health and rights in Washington

Religious rights versus women’s rights. That’s about as fundamental a clash as you can get in U.S. politics. It’s now at the core of the 2014 election campaign, with both parties girding for battle.

from Stories I’d like to see:

How much is contraception coverage and costly violations for BNP Paribas

By Steven Brill
July 8, 2014


1. Does health insurance covering contraception actually cost anything?

In this article about a renewed fight at the U.S. Supreme Court just days after its decision about whether the owners of the Hobby Lobby retail chain had to buy insurance covering certain forms of contraception, the New York Times’ ace court reporter Adam Liptak wrote:

Despite Scalia, Supreme Court sends Obama a progressive message

By William Yeomans
July 1, 2014


In a decision widely perceived as a setback for President Barack Obama last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the president’s recess appointment of three members of the National Labor Relations Board. Though the ruling could mean Obama never makes another recess appointment, the court’s reasoning is a substantial victory for progressives. It decisively rebuffs the wrongheaded, rigid brand of originalism that argues only the framers’ original intent is relevant in interpreting the Constitution — which conservative justices have supported for decades.

Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision puts faith in compromise

By Jay Michaelson
June 30, 2014

Anti-abortion demonstrators high five as the ruling for Hobby Lobby was announced outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington

On Monday the Supreme Court decided its most anticipated case of the year. According to a sharply divided 5-4 court, the government cannot compel a closely-held corporation to provide contraceptive coverage as part of its Affordable Care Act-mandated employee insurance plans.

Think we don’t need to update the Voting Rights Act? Check out Tuesday’s primaries.

By Janai S. Nelson
June 25, 2014

mahurin-for-troutt--- nelson

The door is open for Congress to repair the nation’s most transformative election law, which was neutered by the U.S. Supreme Court a year ago today.