Advertisement
Send tips to video@realclearpolitics.com

Real Clear Politics Video

The Latest Politics, News & Election Videos

Kagan Botches Oral Argument In Supreme Court Appearance At Citizens United Lawsuit

Hot Air explains how Solicitor General Elena Kagan muffed her argument in front of the Supreme Court on the Citizens United v. FEC case: In fact, the crux of the case was the issue of limiting expenditures as an expression of political speech, not contributions. Kagan started off her argument by misconstruing the issue and then offering a factually incorrect reading of precedent. Both Scalia and Kennedy objected to it before Kagan even had time to get the argument completed, although as the transcript notes, she didn’t pay much attention to them.

Transcript below:

ORAL ARGUMENT OF ELENA KAGAN

ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLEE GENERAL KAGAN: Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court:

I have three very quick points to make about the government position. The first is that this issue has a long history. For over 100 years Congress has made a judgment that corporations must be subject to special rules when they participate in elections and this Court has never questioned that judgment.

Number two -

JUSTICE SCALIA: Wait, wait, wait, wait. We never questioned it, but we never approved it, either. And we gave some really weird interpretations to the Taft-Hartley Act in order to avoid confronting the question.

GENERAL KAGAN: I will repeat what I said, Justice Scalia: For 100 years this Court, faced with many opportunities to do so, left standing the legislation that is at issue in this case — first the contribution limits, then the expenditure limits that came in by way of Taft-Hartley — and then of course in Austin specifically approved those limits.

JUSTICE SCALIA: I don’t understand what you are saying. I mean, we are not a self — self-starting institution here. We only disapprove of something when somebody asks us to. And if there was no occasion for us to approve or disapprove, it proves nothing whatever that we didn’t disapprove it.

GENERAL KAGAN: Well, you are not a self-starting institution. But many litigants brought many cases to you in 1907 and onwards and in each case this Court turns down, declined the opportunity, to invalidate or otherwise interfere with this legislation.

JUSTICE KENNEDY: But that judgment was validated by Buckley’s contribution-expenditure line. And you’re correct if you look at contributions, but this is an expenditure case. And I think that it doesn’t clarify the situation to say that for100 years — to suggest that for 100 years we would have allowed expenditure limitations, which in order to work at all have to have a speaker-based distinction, exemption from media, content-based distinction, time-based distinction. We’ve never allowed that.

In The News

Most Watched

Video Archives - October 2013

SMTWTFS
12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031