Yale Law School Dean Argues Against Corporate Participation in Political Campaigns

William Locke 

Harvard Crimson 

Friday, May 3

Speaking to an audience of professors and graduate students, Yale Law School dean Robert C. Post ’69 presented his case for a constitutional basis for campaign finance reform and argued against the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United decision which allows a certain degree of corporate participation in political campaigns based on the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
 
Post, speaking at a Tanner Lecture on Human Values in Lowell Lecture Hall on Thursday, made his case based on a theory of discursive democracy, in which all citizens have the right to a government which is “responsive” to their own electoral preferences—a goal he described as “electoral integrity.”
 
“Electoral integrity is necessary for the very First Amendment rights the courts and Citizen’s United are trying to protect,” he said.
 
Indeed, he argued, what the First Amendment ensures is the right of all citizens to have the “subjective experience” of engaging with their democracy to whatever degree they see fit.
 
“Corporations do not have the subjective experience of individuals,” Post said. “Corporations are things.”
 
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