MONEY, POLITICS, AND THE SUPREME COURT
(LAWM-4011) - 2 UNITS
MONEY, POLITICS AND THE SUPREME COURT (SEMINAR) [Formerly Campaign Finance Seminar] This course will explore uses and regulations of money in the political system through a legal and political lens. Since the founding of our country the influence of money in politics has been an issue of concern and the subject of many reform proposals. Those in favor of regulations on campaign funds argue that without significant limitations on contributions to and expenditures by or on behalf of campaigns, our political process will be hijacked by wealthy individuals and special interests and those without the ability to donate large sums of money will be silenced. On the other end of the spectrum, those against regulations contend that individuals must be entitled to exercise their First Amendment rights by supporting the candidates or causes of their choosing through unlimited monetary contributions and expenditures. The course will examine the basic framework of campaign finance law, the purposes behind reform, and the arguments for and against existing reforms and reform proposals. This will be done by reading the seminal Supreme Court cases dealing with this area of the law, and analyzing how the shifting composition of the Court has affected this area of jurisprudence. Law reviews by prominent scholars on both sides of the debate, and news articles will also be assigned. The course will additionally analyze the benefits and detriments of reforms and reform proposals, and study the unintended consequences of campaign finance laws. The students will discuss whether they can formulate better ways of solving the problems campaign finance laws seek to remedy. Finally, the course will focus on upcoming issues facing the campaign finance arena, such as internet fundraising.