Retired SCOTUS Justice Stevens (the minority opinion writer against Citizens United) – Why we need the amendment

5-20-13 Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens was recently interviewed by Harvard Law professor David Barron. One of the questions concerned the Citizens United decision and the many calls for a constitutional amendment in its wake. Here is a condensed version of the exchange.

Barron: “…there really has been a lot of talk around campaign finance and whether the Court’s ruling makes it necessary to amend the Constitution. Do you have thoughts about that?”

Stevens:”…Yes, yes I do. I think it would be, it would be — the public would benefit from an amendment that authorized legislatures to put limits on the amount of money that can be expended in campaigns. They should not be too low, because there is a danger that incumbents have an advantage by the fact that they’re in office, so they have to be reasonable. But you don’t have to allow this tremendous amount getting spent on repetitive commercials over and over again, which are not really making arguments that are particularly persuasive. But I do think a constitutional amendment would be desirable.”

Below is a video of the interview. The broader discussion of Citizens United and campaign finance law begins at approximately 30:35, and this exchange occurs at about 34:00. http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/XKCeoBY5LE6R1LfZFr19MA.aspx is the site where this was embedded from.