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McConnell Gets a Voice in Court Hearing on Campaign Finance

By Robert Barnes
The Supreme Court on Monday allowed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) to intervene in next month's hearing on the constitutionality of campaign finance restrictions, meaning that he and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will be on opposite sides.

The court is considering whether to overturn its previous decisions that restrict unions and corporations from using their general treasuries to influence election campaigns. At stake is a key portion of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, more commonly known as McCain-Feingold.

The court found the law constitutional in a 2003 decision known as McConnell v. FEC, and the Kentucky senator's lawyer, noted First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams, told the court that McConnell should be included in the arguments over whether to reverse that decision.

The Sept. 9 hearing is in a case called Citizens United v. FEC, in which the conservative interest group challenged BCRA's restrictions on how it presents and advertises "Hillary: The Movie," its critical look at Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The all-star lineup in the case, now expanded to an 80-minute hearing, includes: new Soliticor General Elena Kagan, arguing her first case before the court; former solicitor general Seth Waxman, arguing for McCain and other members of Congress; Abrams, representing McConnell; and former solicitor general Theodore Olson arguing for Citizens United.

By Robert Barnes  |  August 17, 2009; 6:12 PM ET
Categories:  GOP Leaders , Senate , Supreme Court  
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Mitch would be a hideous embarrassment anywhere else but in Kentucky.

Posted by: reporter1 | August 17, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Mitch is a hideous embarrassment even in Kentucky. He has never been to the Supreme Court for issues for the "common good", but he sure beat a trail for it when his campaign money was threatened. He is 100% for himself and his special interest.

Posted by: cucklebur | August 18, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

There isn't a republican male senator that isn't an embarrasment to themselves, their constituents and the rest of Americans, as they pretend that they are supporting free speech. They do this in defence of radical gun toters, town hall rabble rousers or corporate spinsters.

Posted by: tomp2 | August 18, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

We need a Supreme Court majority that does not equate money with speech. There can never be serious campaign finance reform as long as Big Money can buy Congress. And when Congress passed a special waiver to allow Rupert Murdoch to bypass immigration quotas to become a citizen, it started a sharp downward trend in public civility. If he lives long enough the media in America will become worse than the British tabloids. Fox is only the beginning. As Congress continues to permit consolidation and the ownership of multiple media outlets in local markets, the voices to be heard will be fewer and fewer, with Murdoch's minions being the loudest.

Posted by: RYBice | August 18, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

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