David Souter on Government Reform
Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Pres. Bush Sr. 1990)
"Originalism is fine if you don't expect too much from it," Souter told attendees of his lecture at Harvard Law School, likening the methodology to pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
In 2000, in Nixon v. Shrink Missouri PAC, a candidate challenged Missouri's law imposing contribution caps, a state statute modeled on Buckley. The Rehnquist Court held fast to Buckley. Justice Souter, speaking for the majority, quoted from Buckley's strong language condemning large donations to candidates: "We spoke in Buckley of the perception of corruption inherent in a regime of large individual financial contributions to candidates. The cynical assumption that large donors call the tune could jeopardize the willingness of voters to take part in democratic governance."
Souter frustrates conservatives by consistently backing federal powers. He’s a leader of the four-justice minority trying to slow movement to states’ rights.
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