The Anti-Corruption Principle

74 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2009 Last revised: 18 Oct 2011

See all articles by Zephyr Teachout

Zephyr Teachout

Fordham University School of Law

Date Written: March 4, 2009


There is a structural anti-corruption principle, akin to federalism or the separation-of-powers principle, embedded in the Constitution. The Constitution was designed, in large part, to protect against corruption. This structural principle - like the other structural principles - should inform how judges "do" modern political process cases. This paper documents the corruption concerns at the Constitutional convention in detail. It then examines how the modern Supreme Courts' conception of corruption is fractured and ahistorical, and has led to an incoherent jurisprudence. Instead of starting with Buckley v. Valeo, as so many modern cases do, the Court should return to the founding purposes and recognize that corruption has constitutional weight.

Keywords: corruption, gerrymandering, campaign finance, virtue, framers, founders, constitution

Suggested Citation

Teachout, Zephyr, The Anti-Corruption Principle (March 4, 2009). Cornell Law Review, Vol. 94, No. 341, 2009, Available at SSRN:

Zephyr Teachout (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

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New York, NY 10023
United States

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