A day after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, retired Justice John Paul Stevens on Wednesday night backed President Barack Obama's suggestion during his 2010 State of the Union address that the Citizens United decision could lead to "foreign entities" bankrolling American elections.
He urged the U.S. Supreme Court to explicitly explain why the president's words were "not true,"
as Justice Samuel Alito famously mouthed on camera, breaking the
justices' usual stoic appearance during the president's annual speech.
Stevens has been a trenchant critic of Citizens United since the
court decided the case in January 2010. On the day the opinion was
announced, he spent 20 minutes reading from the bench a summary of his
90-page dissent. Stumbling over some words that day convinced Stevens,
now 92, to retire, but he continued to condemn the ruling in speeches,
writings and even on the Colbert Report.
Over the next few weeks, some of Slate’s favorite legal eagles will propose their favorite Constitutional amendments, in the service of our effort, with Me the People author Kevin Bleyer, to rewrite the founding document. Here’s the first crack from NYU law professor Rachel Barkow, for the benefit of another group we think of fondly—accused criminals.