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    02.04.15 Professor Joel Gora Discusses Citizens United Five Years Later
    Professor Joel Gora

    On Jan. 21, 2015, five years after the controversial campaign finance decision Citizens United v. FEC was handed down by the Supreme Court, leading scholars including Professor Joel Gora gathered to discuss the impact of the case on politics and the future of the First Amendment. The conference, “Citizens United v. FEC after Five Years,” was sponsored by the Center for Competitive Politics and held at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.

    Professor Gora, who teaches constitutional law, First Amendment Law, Campaign Finance Law and related civil liberties courses, has written extensively in support of the decision and about freedom of speech in the world of campaign finance. His recent book is titled Better Parties, Better Government: A Realistic Program for Campaign Finance Reform (AEI Press, 2009) (with Peter J. Wallison). He participated on the panel, “The Impact of Parties in the Age of Citizens United,” which was moderated by NPR’s Peter Overby. The panel included Neil Reiff, founding partner of Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, P.C.; and Gora’s co-author, Peter J. Wallison, the Arthur F. Burns Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

    “Happy Birthday Citizens United,” joked Professor Gora during the panel discussion. “I said the day it was decided that it is one the greatest First Amendment decisions ever written. It helped reaffirm what we helped establish in Buckley v Valeo 35 years earlier, that where political speech is concerned given the First Amendment, the government has no business controlling political speech. The problem is that the Citizen United decision effectively gave  freedom to groups who hadn’t had it before, but didn’t give it to the parties. The parties can’t get the money out to their candidates. My point is we need to take the wraps off the parties, so they can help their candidates, which is good for campaign finance reform and good for democracy.”

    Watch the video of the panel here.