90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
High Court Rules Against Political Spending Limits

The Supreme Court strikes down overall limits on personal political campaign contributions. We’ll look at the court’s vision of wide-open, big-money politics.

Republican activist Shaun McCutcheon of Hoover, Ala., right, leaves the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, after the court's hearing on campaign finance. The court ruled in his favor on April 2, 2014, greatly reducing U.S. restrictions on campaign finance. (AP)

Republican activist Shaun McCutcheon of Hoover, Ala., right, leaves the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, after the court’s hearing on campaign finance. The court ruled in his favor on April 2, 2014, greatly reducing U.S. restrictions on campaign finance. (AP)

If Nazis can march in America and protestors can burn the American flag, said the chief justice of the US Supreme Court yesterday, then surely the First Amendment also protects big money contributions in American politics.  And with that, the Roberts court tore another huge cap off American campaign finance controls.  If you’re rich enough, you can now pour millions directly into whatever political party coffers you please.  Supporters call it freedom.  Critics call it the further hijacking of American democracy.  This hour On Point:  the high court’s move on big money politics.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

David Savage, U.S. Supreme Court correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. (@davidgsavage)

Shaun McCutcheon, plaintiff in McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission and CEO of Coalmont Electrical Development Company in McCalla, AL. (@GenConservative)

Bradley Smith, chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics and Visiting Copenhaver Chair of Law at West Virginia University.

Fred Wertheimer, founder and president of Democracy 21, a non-profit that advocates for transparency in government and campaign finance reform. (@FredWertheimer)

From Tom’s Reading List

Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court lifts overall limits on congressional campaign donations “In a 5-4 decision, the court’s conservative majority struck down Watergate-era aggregate limits that barred political donors from giving more than $123,000 a year in total to candidates running for seats in the House of Representatives or Senate. The court said this limit violated the free-speech rights of the donors, and it was not needed to prevent ‘corruption’ of the political process.

The Wall Street Journal: Supreme Court Strikes Down Aggregate Campaign Contribution Limits –”The court left intact the limits on the amount an individual can give to specific candidates and political committees, currently $5,200 to a candidate for the primary and general elections, with higher limits to political committees. Chief Justice Roberts wrote that Congress’s interest in fighting corruption doesn’t justify the burden on political speech posed by aggregate limits.”

POLITICO: Supreme Court strikes down aggregate campaign giving limits – “The sweeping ruling has the potential to once again reshape the campaign finance landscape — bringing more campaign money back under the control of political parties after four years of record spending by outside groups.”

Read The Supreme Court’s Decision In McCutcheon vs. F.E.C.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 2, 2014
Kurds in Turkey look over the border with Syria toward the embattled town of Kobani. (David Takaki / Twitter)

ISIS and the battle for control of the Syrian town of Kobani. The Kurds have it. ISIS wants it. The US is bombing. We’ll look at the lessons of the battle for Kobani.

Oct 2, 2014
Duluth, Minnesota's Canal Park Lakewalk, shown here in 2005. (Jacob Norlund / Creative Commons)

What makes a good place to live in America today? We’ll talk with the people who size up our cities and towns.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 1, 2014
Actress Eva Longoria, center, Henry R. Munoz III, co-founder of the Latino Victory Project, left, and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, are seated at an event launching The Latino Victory Project, a Latino political action committee, at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, May 5, 2014. (AP)

Latino America. It is very large and growing very fast. How will it move the country?

 
Oct 1, 2014
Pro-democracy protesters hold umbrellas under heavy rain in a main street near the government headquarters in Hong Kong late Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. The protesters demanded that Hong Kong's top leader meet with them on Tuesday and threatened wider actions if he did not, after he said China would not budge in its decision to limit voting reforms in the Asian financial hub. (AP)

China, democracy and Hong Kong. They’re in the streets in Hong Kong with their “Umbrella Revolution.” What now?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Transcript: Taking A Close Look At America’s Police Force
Wednesday, Oct 1, 2014

A partial transcript of our panel conversation with experts on the modern American police force.

More »
Comment
 
Transcript: Peter Thiel Wants Us All To Go From ‘Zero To One’
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

Entrepreneur Peter Thiel on innovation, technological failure and humanity’s uncertain future.

More »
Comment
 
Transcript: Sexual Violence Under ISIS Control
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

A transcript from our September 25, 2014 conversation on the Islamic State and sexual violence.

More »
Comment