Making Government Work

Lawrence Lessig Reacts to the Citizens United Decision

February 18, 2015
Lawrence Lessig Reacts to the Citizens United Decision
Lawrence Lessig speaks to NationSwell about Citizens United Cat Cheney, Jacob Templin, Thomas Shomaker
Why the ruling may actually bring about campaign finance reform.

Harvard Law School professor and campaign finance reform activist Lawrence Lessig tells NationSwell why he views the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United as, “the greatest gift to the reform movement since Richard Nixon.”

The decision allows for unlimited funds in support of political candidates, with the stipulation that this money — over a predetermined dollar amount — can’t go directly to the official campaigns. Perhaps surprisingly, Lessig believes the verdict has done more to engage citizens with the issue of money in politics than anything else.

“What it did was to terrify literally millions of people to join the call for reform,” says Lessig, “But the critical fact of Citizens United is that it didn’t on its own create the problem of American democracy. On the day before Citizens United was decided, our democracy was already dead.”