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Jeffrey Toobin
Jeffrey Toobin, photo by Robin Holland
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February 19, 2010

A late February 2010 ABC NEWS/WASHINGTON POST poll found that 80 percent of Americans on both sides of the aisle oppose the Supreme Court's ruling on campaign finance in Citizens United v. FEC. Sixty-five percent of those asked "strongly" oppose it. Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin contends that, indeed, the ruling's potential to harm democracy runs very deep:
I think judicial elections are really the untold story of Citizens United, the untold implication. Because when the decision happened, a lot of people said, 'Okay. This means that Exxon will spend millions of dollars to defeat Barack Obama when he runs for re-election.' I don't think there's any chance of that at all. That's too high profile. There's too much money available from other sources in a presidential race. But judicial elections are really a national scandal that few people really know about. Because corporations in particular, and labor unions to a lesser extent, have such tremendous interest in who's on state supreme courts and even lower state courts that that's where they're going to put their money and their energy because they'll get better bang for their buck there.
>Find out how your state selects judges

>Find out more about Citizens United v. FEC


Jeffrey Toobin is a staff writer at THE NEW YORKER and a senior analyst for CNN. He is a well-known legal journalist and has written profiles of Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas for THE NEW YORKER. His most recent book, THE NINE: INSIDE THE SECRET WORLD OF THE SUPREME COURT, spent more than four months on THE NEW YORK TIMES best-seller list and was named one of the ten best books of the year by THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, TIME, NEWSWEEK, FORTUNE, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, and the ECONOMIST. His other books include TOO CLOSE TO CALL: THE 36-DAY BATTLE TO DECIDE THE 2000 ELECTION and A VAST CONSPIRACY: THE REAL STORY OF THE SEX SCANDAL THAT NEARLY BROUGHT DOWN A PRESIDENT, and THE RUN OF HIS LIFE: THE PEOPLE v. O.J. SIMPSON.

Before joining THE NEW YORKER in 1993, Toobin served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Brooklyn, New York. He also served as an associate counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh, an experience that provided the basis for his first book, OPENING ARGUMENTS: A YOUNG LAWYER'S FIRST CASE — UNITED STATES V. OLIVER NORTH.

US Supreme Court on the Web

On April 17, 2000, the United States Supreme Court took a tentative step onto the World Wide Web with The original site contained a mix of practical guidelines, court rules, and historical information. The highest court in the land has continued to take small steps further into the digital era, adding more information to their Web site.

Though visitors can download the most recent opinions from the Supreme Court Web site, thousands of historical opinions that help define the US law aren't available. Luckily, several universities and private non-profits have stepped forward to fill the gap, and now almost all US Supreme Court opinions are freely available online. They can be a bit tricky to track down, but there are also several research guides available. Guest photo by Robin Holland.
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OSanford Levinson
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References and Reading:
"The Corporations already outspend both parties,"
By Marc Ambinder, THE ATLANTIC, February 1, 2010. Ambinder shows that Chamber of Commerce Spending has already outstripped both the Republican and Democratic National Committees.

"No More Mr. Nice Guy: The Supreme Court's stealth hard-liner,"
Jeffrey Toobin, THE NEW YORKER, May 25, 2009.

"Swing Shift How Anthony Kennedy's passion for foreign law could change the Supreme Court,"
Jeffrey Toobin, THE NEW YORKER, September 12, 2005.

"Breyer's Big Idea The Justice's vision for a progressive revival on the Supreme Court,"
Jeffrey Toobin, THE NEW YORKER, September 12, 2005.

Jeffrey Toobin in THE NEW YORKER
List of articles Jeffrey Toobin has contributed to THE NEW YORKER magazine.

Times Topics: US Supreme Court
The collected stories about the US Supreme Court in THE NEW YORK TIMES.

"Morton Mintz: What Would You Do with 12 Investigative Reporters?,"
Morton Mintz, NIEMAN WATCHDOG, February 12th, 2010.

Also This Week:
Bill Moyers Journal takes a hard look at how campaign cash in judicial races may sway America's courts. The JOURNAL revisits the 1999 FRONTLINE special "Justice for Sale" which looked at the growing concern - even among Supreme Court justices themselves - that campaign contributions may be corrupting the judicial process.

Legal analyst and journalist Jeffrey Toobin talks about the relationship between big money and judicial elections today.

Read the rulings, get analysis, find out what legal actions are underway and join the debate.


View highlights of our coverage of money and politics: campaign finance, lobbying, earmarks and more.

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