In the recently decided McCutcheon case, Chief Justice Roberts in his opinion breezily dismissed examples submitted in briefs by Democracy 21 and others of what would happen if the Supreme Court struck down the limits on the total contributions an individual could give to federal candidates and political parties.
The examples before the Supreme Court showed that through the use of joint fundraising committees, huge checks could be solicited by federal officeholders and party officials, and could be given by individual donors, to support federal candidates and their parties. These are precisely the kind of huge contributions the Supreme Court said in the Buckley decision create an inherently corrupt system.
Chief Justice Roberts gave the back of his hand to the examples before the Court. According to the Chief Justice, the “scenarios” were either “illegal” or “divorced from reality” and were “foreclosed” by “experience and common sense.”
Maybe someone can hand deliver to Chief Justice Roberts the article in POLITICO today entitled “John Roberts gets the parties started.”
According to the article:
Insiders are dreaming up how to maximize a recent Supreme Court ruling that frees up some big donors to give even more.
A prominent idea: create a new class of donors who contribute a total of six- or seven-figure donations to each of three party committees and spread cash to endangered lawmakers. In exchange, the big-money givers would get something of an “all access pass” that comes with perks from the big three national committees, like face time with top officials.
Lawyers and leaders of the committees have held meetings and are crafting a plan to boost contributions before the November elections, according to multiple sources.
. . . .
Savvy House Republican fundraisers are also in the early stages of forming state-focused joint fundraising committees to distribute checks from large-scale national donors.
So just who is it that is “divorced from reality”?
Is it the federal officeholders, party operative and lawyers who are already fast at work organizing precisely the kinds of “scenarios” that Democracy 21 and others submitted to the Court and that the Chief Justice told us were “divorced from reality”?
Or is it the Chief Justice whose opinion in the McCutcheon case belied any understanding about how the real world of American politics works?
It doesn’t matter whether Chief Justice Roberts was dissembling in an attempt to obfuscate the issue or whether he had no idea of what he was talking about.
The bottom line remains the same: the Chief Justice, along with four of his colleagues, issued a radical opinion in the McCutcheon case that has re-opened the door to a system of legalized bribery in Washington.