Last week I was quoted in a National Law Journal article detailing Hillary Clinton’s most recent play to turn out the left-wing activist base for her 2016 candidacy for president. Here’s what Clinton said:
First Sanders and then Clinton said that if elected president, they would nominate to the high court individuals who are committed to overturning Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 decision that struck down limits on independent expenditures in election campaigns.
Clinton told supporters in Iowa, “I will do everything I can do to appoint Supreme Court justices who will protect the right to vote and not the right of billionaires to buy elections.” Her reference to the right to vote suggests she would look for candidates who would overturn not only Citizens United but also the 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder that found a key section of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.
As I told NLJ, though, this “litmus test” is code for appointing political hacks. There is a more important test:
Carrie Severino, chief counsel to the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, laced into Clinton. “She doesn’t want to appoint judges, she wants to appoint politicians to the court,” Severino said. . . . “There could be as many as three openings in the next presidential term,” said Severino, a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas. “I hope all the Republican candidates will say they would nominate people who are faithful to the Constitution.”
NB: You may remember that Citizens United was a case about the release of “Hillary: The Movie” by the group Citizens United. The Federal Election Commission censored the movie’s release shortly before the 2008 primaries because it was supposedly some sort of campaign communication. It’s more than a little bit unseemly – not to mention self-serving – that Clinton is now trying to rally the troops by criticizing a case that made it legal for someone to criticize her.
(This post has been updated.)