Worse than Citizens United: How the court’s latest democratic death spiral should have gone differently
Greytak is senior counsel for RepresentUs, a right-left anti-corruption group.
Legal experts have had their way with the Supreme Court's instantly infamous conclusion on June 27 that the Constitution serves as no barrier to politicians rigging elections by cherry-picking who votes for them. Perhaps most colorful were takes from The Washington Post and Slate, which opted for WWE-style cage match imagery, opining that the court had "body-slammed" and dealt a "body blow" to American democracy. Yet it was two former lawmakers — a Republican from Tennessee and a Democrat from New York — who lapped the pack by invoking the Voldemort of modern Supreme Court decisions.
"As Bad as Citizens United," proclaimed the Atlantic headline for Zach Wamp and Steve Israel's piece.
If these pronouncements sound like more of the same from our ever-churning Outrage-Industrial Complex, like familiar mile-markers on our collective race to the bottom, that's an unfortunate coincidence. Because the Supreme Court's decision in Rucho v. Common Cause isn't as bad as its decision in Citizens United. It's worse. And perhaps worst of all, the court knew better.