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No Middle Ground? Reflections on the Citizens United Decision


Randall P. Bezanson


University of Iowa College of Law

August 31, 2010

Iowa Law Review, Forthcoming
U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-29

Abstract:     
My interest in this brief essay is to explore precisely what the Court decided in Citizen’s United and the constitutional basis upon which the decision rests. I will turn first to the Kennedy opinion, its broad holding that corporations are first amendment speakers, its logical consequences, and the analytical problems under the First Amendment and Supreme Court doctrine that Kennedy basically ignored. I will then turn to the Scalia opinion and its significance for first amendment theory and doctrine. Finally, I will make the claim that Justice Scalia’s opinion is, for analytical purposes, the governing opinion. At least this is so on all of the “holdings” in the Court’s opinion that Justice Kennedy’s style of decision unnecessarily (in terms of Justice Scalia’s reasoning) reached out to announce. These broad holdings are the very basis upon which the controversy about the decision has rested.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 20

Keywords: Constitutional Law, Supreme Court, Free Press, Free Speech, corporations, election laws, First Amendment

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Date posted: September 6, 2010 ; Last revised: December 2, 2010

Suggested Citation

Bezanson, Randall P., No Middle Ground? Reflections on the Citizens United Decision (August 31, 2010). Iowa Law Review, Forthcoming; U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-29. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1669358 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1669358

Contact Information

Randall P. Bezanson (Contact Author)
University of Iowa College of Law ( email )
Boyd Law Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States
319-335-9171 (Phone)
319-335-9098 (Fax)
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