HLS faculty weigh in on recent legal news

A selection of analyses and opinions from Harvard Law School experts.

The Court’s Ruling on Political Spending

A letter by Charles Fried. There is a deep connection between the old news about the rapidly growing wealth gap in this country and the Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday striking down the longstanding and regularly reaffirmed aggregate limits on how much an individual can give to candidates…If we must be governed by those whom the billionaires choose to fund, then the social contract really has been ruptured. And it is only the five Pollyannas on the Supreme Court who would have us believe that those who have unlimited cash to spend on elections will not call the tune.


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Supreme Court Thinks Politics Needs More Money

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Campaign finance law is dying the death of a thousand cuts. Today the U.S. Supreme Court delivered an especially devastating blow in striking down aggregate contribution limits. And the most remarkable part of it is that, under its own logic, the decision made perfect sense because the court said contributions to an unlimited number of candidates does not give rise to the “appearance of corruption.”Continue Reading at Bloomberg »

Originalists Making It Up Again: McCutcheon and ‘Corruption’

An op-ed by Lawrence Lessig. At the core of the disaster that is the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon v. FEC decision lies a mistake. A strategic mistake, made by the government. In this mistake, we can see all that’s wrong with modern American constitutional law. From the first moment that this case arose, it has been obvious to everyone that the decision would turn on the meaning of the word “corruption.” Congress has the power to regulate campaign contributions only if it is doing so to regulate “corruption.” So the central question raised by McCutcheon was this: Is a law limiting aggregate contributions a law designed to limit “corruption?”Continue Reading at The Daily Beast »

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Recent Highlights


Reconsidering Insular Cases

The Insular Cases: Constitutional experts assess the status of territories acquired in the Spanish–American War (video)

More than 100 years after the U.S. Supreme Court decided a series of cases that left citizens of territories including Puerto Rico, Guam and the American Samoa with only limited Constitutional rights, Harvard Law School hosted a conference to reconsider the so-called Insular Cases and the resonance they continue to hold today.Continue Reading »

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