Last week, as you’ve probably heard, in a case called McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 ruling that the Koch brothers and other deep-pocketed plutocrats — of all political stripes; our disdain doesn’t discriminate — don’t yet own enough of our so-called democracy. The Supremes struck down a decades-old limit on how much money individuals can give to federal candidates each election cycle, and appear to have made it more difficult for the government to legally justify restrictions on any campaign contributions.
“If the court in Citizens United opened a door,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in a pointed dissent, “today’s decision may well open a floodgate.” So, even more stupid election ads coming to your television this fall.
But don’t slit those wrists just yet, democracy-lovers! While the Supreme Court is
ensuring we have the best politicians rich people’s money can buy, judges on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals are at least trying to blunt perpetual Republican efforts to keep, you know, those people from voting. The day before the McCutcheon ruling, the Circuit Court ruled that Gov. Rick Scott’s 2012 voter purge — a hackneyed scheme, opposed by many of the state’s supervisors of elections, ostensibly designed to prevent a fantasy scourge of voter fraud, but actually booted legit voters from the rolls in addition to the 85 possible noncitizens (max) it located — violated the National Voter Registration Act, which prohibits the systematic removal of voters from the rolls shortly before elections.
(Not coincidentally, the Miami Herald reported in a 2012 analysis that “Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters are the most likely to be targeted.”)
The Circuit Court’s decision may be a moot point, at least for now: Late last month, the Scott administration abandoned plans to conduct another purge before November, when the gov is up for re-election, citing underway changes to a federal database that tracks noncitizens.