Transcript: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s remarks on McCutcheon v. FEC ruling

Partial transcript of remarks by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) on the Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC on April 2, 2014:

…I just want to add a few points. The first is that once again this was a 5 to 4 decision.

Once again, we see the Supreme Court behaving in a way that would be matched if the 5 conservative justices made it a strategy to go off and sit in a room by themselves and decide how best to implement the Republican agenda and then came out and did it.

The recurrence of these 5 to 4 decisions on very important and big issues is a signal the court that leans towards getting its way rather than seeking consensus among the judges.

In this case and in Citizens United, getting its way means aligning political power in this country with financial wealth. And that is a step that is, I think, a bad one for democracy.

The idea that your voice in this country counts only in proportion to your wealth is a very unfortunate idea but it is the base of both Citizens United and this decision.

The last thing I’ll mention is that this is a court that knows essentially nothing about elections. It’s the first court in a long time on which no one has ever run for office. And to listen to them pontificate amateurishly about elections and corruption when they have no more sense of that than the – I mean, the ultimate amateur is the person who – “I know how to eat so I can open a restaurant.”

The discussion of corruption and how it works in elections is amateurish and naive to an extreme that boggles the mind, and it really makes me wonder whether they’ve thought this through or whether they just needed to check that box in order to get where they wanted to go.

It’s a really disturbing decision following a really disturbing decision in Citizens United.


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