Ex-Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired in 2010 after serving on the court for 35 years, issued a sharp criticism toward his former conservative colleagues Wednesday.
In a speech at the University of Arkansas, Stevens took aim at the court’s conservative bloc for inconsistently applying the law in its controversial decision on campaign finance reform in the 2010 case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Stevens wrote a blistering dissent in that case, and on Wednesday he revisited the decision that gave outsized influence to corporations, advocacy groups and wealthy individuals in political campaigns.
“The court must then explain its abandonment of, or at least qualify reliance upon, the proposition that the identity of the speaker is an impermissible basis for regulating campaign speech,” Stevens told the audience. “It will be necessary to explain why the First Amendment provides greater protection for some nonvoters than that of other nonvoters.