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Supreme Court schedules special Thursday session

By Robert Barnes
Is the political world's long wait for a major Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance laws finally coming to an end?

At the conclusion of its session Wednesday, the court announced it would be coming back Thursday at 10 a.m. for a previously unscheduled session. The court never tips its hand, but it seems at least a strong possibility that a decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is behind the special session. The case, first argued last spring, was reargued in September to consider whether it was unconstitutional for Congress to forbid corporations and labor unions to use their treasuries to bankroll ads for and against candidates.

Those who advocate greater government control over campaign contributions say a court decision in the affirmative would revolutionize the way political campaigns are funded. Corporations and labor unions now are required to fund their political activities through contributions raised by their political action committees.

Activists on both sides of the issue have been awaiting a decision for months. The court by law is supposed to expedite constitutional challenges to campaign finance laws, and justices interrupted their break to hear new arguments on the case on Sept. 9. Some already consider the decision overdue, although there is no deadline for any court ruling.

Without changing its schedule, the next opportunity for the court to issue a decision in the case was Monday. So why schedule an extra day instead of simply waiting until then?

The speculation goes like this: The Citizens United decision is expected to be big, and possibly messy, with vivid dissents. All justices want to be there for it, perhaps to read their own views from the bench. And Monday is the last day before the court begins its mid-term break. Since that session is just to issue opinions, rather than hear arguments, some justices might want to skip it and begin their breaks early.

Remember, any prediction about what the court will do is only speculation. The first truism one learns at the Marble Palace: It's the Supreme Court -- they can do whatever they want.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 20, 2010; 2:35 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Court Watch , DEPT. OF JURISPRUDENCE , Supreme Court  
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Next: Senate discussing a raise in national debt ceiling to above $14 trillion


I see new beach front property in the future of 5 supreme court justices. ah, what corporate kickbacks can buy. Power to the rich! Before long they will rule the entire planet! You minions better get yourselves in line. They don't put up with any nonsense from you! Hail the all powerful corporations! We live to serve you!

Posted by: McSameChalin | January 21, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

ProveMeWrong, better keep your day job. Your political rhetoric doesn't cut it.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | January 20, 2010 10:47 PM
Wow... do you perform your stand-up routine somewhere in the area? I would really like to come heckle you.

Posted by: ProveMeWrong | January 21, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Fat Tony Scalia and his puppies, Clarence "The Knife" Thomas, Sullen Scam Alito, Concierge Kennedy, and John Boy Roberts, will give their oligarchical masters complete control of government.

Fat Tony Scalia wants only to destroy all semblances of government and, particularly, everyone making less than $300,000 annually.

Posted by: MarkinJC | January 21, 2010 3:11 AM | Report abuse

Corporatocracy, here they come. As one friend of mine says, they may not be right, but they are Supreme.

Posted by: dotellen | January 20, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

ProveMeWrong, better keep your day job. Your political rhetoric doesn't cut it.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | January 20, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

I cant wait to read the chief racist Sotomayer comments before I wipe my a$$ with it.

Good thing WaPo is so absorbent.

Posted by: ProveMeWrong | January 20, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

What's with the use of the future tense?
Why do you think the middle class is on its knees today and has been since the 1980s?

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | January 20, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

ah, when the robert/scalia/thomas/alito/kennedy rules in favor of corporations over citizens, the US will be officially on life support

Posted by: newagent99 | January 20, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

If you think Wall St owns Congress, just wait if the Supremes decide elections are there to be bought. It'll be 10 times worse. Big business will own Congress.

We will become a kleptocracy.

Posted by: Garak | January 20, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

the supremes have been laying low. nothing of substance as usual. time for them to get some media face time. what will be the latest revelation from them that will help our country? NOTHING. nice place to work,however the landlord(taxpayer) is restricted from this sanctuary as well as the executive and leguslative castles in the name of security.our military is in harms way everyday. open the doors to the public as it was intended,and was this way until these people decided they were to important to be bothered by tourists.patrick henry was right.

Posted by: pofinpa | January 20, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

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