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Stevens's Séance

Progressive campaign-finance opponent Bob Bauer turns his weary eye to Justice Stevens's breathtaking dissent in the Vermont campaign-finance-reform case. In that case, of course, the Supreme Court struck down Vermont's limits on how much candidates can spend as well as excessively low limits on how much citizens can contribute.

What's remarkable is that the decision was only 6-3, meaning that three justices think that the First Amendment is actually without meaning.

But the Stevens dissent is of particular interest -- for purposes of mockery -- in that it makes a wholly unsupported appeal to the authority of the Founders:

I am firmly persuaded that the Framers would have been appalled by the impact of modern fundraising practices on the ability of elected officials to perform their public responsibilities. I think they would have viewed federal statutes limiting the amount of money that congressional candidates might spend in future elections as well within Congress' authority.5 And they surely would not have expected judges to interfere with the enforcement of expenditure limits that merely require candidates to budget their activities without imposing any restrictions whatsoever on what they may say in their speeches, debates, and interviews.

Why is he so persuaded? God knows. But there's certainly nothing in his dissent to persuade anyone else.

What an utterly unfit man to sit on the court.