Last Updated: November 2, 2011 (new links for AZ, ME, NM, and Judicial)


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State of Elections tracks new, important, and interesting topics in the world of state election law. We focus on voting at the local level, as determined by state and local level election laws and practices. The Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United v. FEC has obvious implications at the federal level, but it also has dramatic impact on the states. Many state laws already in place will soon be challenged by lawsuits or altered by the legislatures. At the time of the ruling, 24 states have bans or restrictions on corporate campaign expenditures, most of which have major positions up for election this fall. Each will certainly be seeing some action, either by challenge or repeal, prior to November. Regarding this decision, two main areas of concern are its effect on state corporate disclosure laws and state judicial elections.


While Congress certainly will make plans to outline the level of transparency designed for federal elections, many of those 24 states affected will, if they have not already, enact or alter legislation requiring a certain level disclosure for state and other local elections. These new laws may take many forms including perhaps specifications on when and how to make the contribution disclosures public. State legislatures also have the ability to alter corporate governance rules within the State and may require entities to acquire shareholder permission before engaging in political contribution activity. Other disclosure regulations may aim at creating a mechanism for ensuring that corporations are not working in tandem with the candidates. Essentially, states have some control over the effectiveness of the CU decision by controlling laws involving corporate entities. State legislatures will move quickly to secure proper regulation is in place before this fall’s elections.

Judicial Elections

Not to be lost in this decision is the effect that it will have on Judiciaries across the states. While some states had already allowed it, now corporations nationwide are permitted to spend unlimited amounts of money advocating judicial elections and retention elections. Recently, the policy of electing judges has taken the spotlight Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. and leads some to question what sort of impact CU will have. Some believe elected judges will simply have to keep close watch over themselves and which cases they must recuse due to impartiality. Others believe CU will have an accelerating effect on the merit-selection movement by bringing to public attention the effect of campaign contributions on elected judges (perhaps leading to their abolition, or for more states to enact legislation for publicly-funded elections.) Still others believe this decision will have little or no measurable impact on elections.

Below are some links to reports and articles on the decision’s effect on states broadly and individually. We welcome contributions here at State of Elections. If you come across any useful articles or information regarding the Citizens United decision and how it affects your state we will gladly include it in our discussion.

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AK– This author argues that if Lisa Murkowski wins the Alaska Senate race based on her write-in campaign she will owe her victory to the CU decision.  It discusses how the decision allowed super-PAC Alaskans Standing Together to raise so much money so quickly.  It also assesses accusations that the PAC illegally used money from federal contractors to run its ads.

November 22, 2010

AK – The Sunlight Foundation provides a neat summary of changes to Alaska’s election laws and explains where the state is now.


June 18, 2010

AK – Alaska Senate passes campaign finance bill which would require notice of who or what is funding political ads in television or newspaper. “Keep in mind that this bill…changes only these new communications brought by corporations and unions,” said Sen. Hollis French.

April 1, 2010

AK– Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan released an opinion on 2/19 regarding CU’s impact on AK declaring the state’s corporate spending prohibition laws unconstitutional, but may still not donate directly to candidates. It is also clear that they cannot spend anonymously, but unclear where the line is drawn. The state democrats in the legislature are moving forward with legislation which would require the top 5 contributors to an advertisement as well as filing a complete report with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

February 22, 2010

AK – Suggestions by John Havelock on making corporations ‘more democratic’ and speaks of some necessary and likely reforms such as disclosure commitments to shareholders as well as transparency with the people.

February 12, 2010

AK – With less than 70 days left in the session, the AK State legislature is scrambling to get a bill through before they adjourn. State Senate Judiciary Committee has asked legislative lawyers to draft a bill requiring disclosures, disclaimers and reporting by corporations and labor unions as a first step.

February 12, 2010

AK – Legislative Panel to Discuss CU. Alaska has laws for disclosure for non-profits and individuals but had a ban on corporate spending of this type before CU. The panel will make it a priority to determine what sort of limitations, if any, are possible, before the election this fall.–Panel-to–contain–campaign-court-decision-?instance=home_news_window_left_bullets

February 3, 2010

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AZ- Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett is making good on his pledge to monitor special interest groups formed under the state’s post-CU rules.  The Office is planning random audits of three organizations to check if they have been spending “most” of their money on anything other than electioneering.  He is also recommending that the state attorney general bring enforcement action against three other organizations that are known to have violated campaign finance rules.

October 28, 2011

AZ- Under Arizona’s post-CU rules for forming corporations, groups are not allowed to organize with the “primary” purpose of influencing elections.  The Secretary of State’s office has promised to monitor new groups to ensure their compliance with this standard and is planning random audits.  If the office determines that these corporations’ primary purpose is influencing elections it will ask them to reform as committees so that they will be subject to disclosure rules and civil penalties.

September 24, 2011

AZ- Last session, the state legislature passed HB2304, which clarified Arizona’s election law landscape by specifying that corporations and unions can donate directly to independent expenditure groups.  The law went into effect in mid-July, so corporations and unions will have the chance to test the new law in the November recall election of State Senate President Pearce.,-labor-unions

July 18, 2011

AZ- The Supreme Court handed down its decision in McComish v. Bennet on June 27.  Frequently citing Citizens United, the 5-4 majority held that Arizona’s matching funds system violates the First Amendment.

June 27, 2011

AZ- With the Supreme Court poised to hear oral arguments for McComish v. Bennett, commentators offer their thoughts on how precedent from Citizens United will be applied.

March 25, 2011

AZ- The New American offers its predictions on the outcome of McComish v. Bennett, and describes some of the specific legal arguments that could come up in front of the Supreme Court.

December 16, 2010

AZ– The Supreme Court granted cert in McComish v. Bennett, setting itself up to determine the constitutionality of the matching funds provision of Arizona’s clean election law.  Many people are nervous about this case because they believe that publicly financed elections are a way around the negative impacts of CU’s liberalization of campaign spending.  Richard Hasen cautioned in his blog (third link below) that the decision, even if it is to strike down the law, will not destroy the entire system of public financing; although, he does think it likely that the Court will find it unconstitutional.  Regardless of the outcome, it will be the first time the Court examines a campaign finance law with CU on the books.

November 29, 2010

AZ – Is the profit motive a reason that businesses are hesitant to spend this election cycle?  The floodgates seem to be staying closed in Arizona.

October 4, 2010

AZ – The Supreme Court, in McComish v. Brewer, issued an injunction to bar Arizona from distributing public funds to candidates who opt into the public financing system.  The main case, McComish v. Bennett, specifically calls into question the constitutionality of the matching funds provision.  This article discusses the future of public financing in Arizona as a viable remedy to some of the possible effects of CU.

June 7, 2010

AZ – Disclosure bill was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer on April 1st. This requires corporations and labor unions to file campaign finance reports with SOS office within one day of spending $5000 on statewide race, $2500 on legislative race, and $1000 in county or local race. Also, all campaign ads must ‘state clearly’ who paid for them. Interesting to note the bill passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.

April 1, 2010

AZ – Commentary by Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett on the need for enacting legislation to require disclosure. Senate Bill 1444 and House Bill 2788 will bring AZ into compliance with CU while specifically requiring:

-Corporations, unions or LLCs to file reports within 24 hours of making campaign expenditure over certain amounts ($5k for statewide, $2.5k forlegislative, or $1k for local)

-Additional reports to be filed for each subsequent expense beyond those amounts

All will be reported to a web-based system to provide voters with nearly real time. The legislation has bipartisan support.

March 12, 2010

AZ– Focusing on Arizona’s law development, this article outlines some different methods state legislatures have attempted to comply with CU. Arizona intends to enact new legislation for disclosure and reporting that go beyond current requirements for independent committees (which is described in the article as the ‘middle of the road’ approach.) Thanks to for the link.

March 5, 2010

AZ– Arizona Secretary of State, Ken Bennett, backs overhaul of informed electorate in light of CU. Two bills have cleared committees and are awaiting debate on each chamber’s floors. The article ends on a thought provoking quote by AZ House Rep. Bill Konopnicki, “I’m concerned that we don’t have the time to fully vet these components.”

February 25, 2010

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CA- More localities in the Bay Area have begun using ranked choice voting in certain elections.  Some view this as a way of deemphasizing the sort of spending CU allowed into electoral contests.

March 25, 2011

CA-The California Fair Political Practices Commission changed its standard for determining whether groups have to disclose who funded their campaign messages.  Previously, disclosure was only necessary when the advertisement included certain “magic words.”  Now, groups must make disclosures when the advertisement cannot be reasonably interpreted as anything but an appeal for citizens to vote a certain way.


Political%20Law%20Update%20-%20October%2020%202010.pdf (see bottom of page 6)

October 14, 2010

CA – LA Times and LA Weekly differ on how they believe this will impact Los Angeles, perhaps affecting developers and billboards. It will be easier for corporations to donate than in years past where they first had to form a PAC or contribute to an advocacy group.

February 18, 2010

CA – Details about CU impact, while briefly looking into California’s history of limitless corporate spending over the last decade.

January 22, 2010

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CO- State representatives share that they plan to push for stricter campaign finance laws during the upcoming legislative session.  They want harsher penalties for violating disclosure rules, and they think that certain terms and definitions within the existing rules need clarification.  The representatives also propose empowering the state to investigate campaign finance cases.

January 3, 2011

CO– Governor Bill Ritter signed Senate Bill 203 into law to bring CO “into compliance” with CU, taking effect immediately. The bill contains a provision requiring companies and unions to keep records of their political spending and post the reports on the secretary of state’s public website. If more than $1,000 is spent on an ad, the Secretary of State must be notified and the ads have to include a disclosure at the end to say who paid for them.The new law also forbids political spending by foreign corporations.

May 26, 2010

CO – A new bill was introduced which would require any corporate entity to register an independent committee if donating $1,000 or more. Also included is a illustrative fact sheet which serves as somewhat of a guide to the background behind the bill proposal.

April 26, 2010

CO – A bill will be introduced this year into the state legislature which would attempt to limit the impact of CU by adding disclosure requirements. CO Republicans are still thinking about suing the state to overturn parts of the state’s current campaign-finance law.

March 24, 2010

CO – Governor Bill Ritter, has been granted his request of review current campaign finance laws. Lawmakers and other interested parties brief’s on the constitutional determination of their laws are due March 5th.

February 12, 2010

CO – Legislature to ask Supreme Court for Clarification on how CU Affects State laws.

February 3, 2010

CO – GOP initiates lawsuit in response to CU. A 2002, Colorado voters approved a ballot measure that banned direct corporate or union expenditures in state race is sought to be overturned. Candidates believe this will affect the campaigns this fall.

January 22, 2010

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CT-The General Assembly passed “An Act Concerning Independent Expenditure” that requires CEOs to appear on ads funded by their corporations.  It also requires disclosure of all expenditures over $1000.


May 6, 2010

CT – Act proposed “To provide that independent expenditures made by an entity are properly disclosed and ensure that such expenditures are properly attributed to the entity making the expenditure.”

March 12, 2010

CT – Memo for State General Assembly summarizing Citizens United and its impact on CT:

-Two statutes that prohibit corporations and unions from contributing, also noting that there are no disclosure or attribution requirements, which the state is likely to adjust after removal

-Also discusses public financing and has created a compelling state interest in becoming more active in matching grants and enabling candidate participation.

Also included is a table of state responses which is current as of publication.

March 2, 2010

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FL- The state’s House passed a bill that bans public employee unions from automatically collecting dues.  The bill implicates CU because it also requires unions to get permission from each member before using his/her dues for politicking or campaigning.  Because Florida union members already had the right to ask that their dues not be used for politicking, some people believe this bill is meant to weaken union’s ability to influence elections now that CU allows them to make independent expenditures.


In support of bill:


Against the bill:


March 25, 2011

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GA- The state legislature is considering a bill that would allow utility companies, which are heavily regulated by the state, to form PACs and donate directly to political campaigns.  Supporters rely on a broad reading of Citizens United to support this law.

March 25, 2011

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HI– A judge issued a preliminary injunction in a case centering on the Aloha Family Alliance PAC.  The injunction blocks state officials from applying Hawaii’s campaign spending laws to PACs solely dedicated to making independent expenditures.  At this point, no judge or court has ruled the entire law unconstitutional.

October 7, 2010

HI – Hawaii state leaders can do a few things in reaction to CU:

-Limit and disclose corporate political spending

-Uphold our “pay to play” reform laws

-Ensure (timely) campaign reporting for special elections

-Disclose lobbyists’ campaign donations

February 23, 2010

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IL- New campaign finance laws went into effect in Illinois at the start of the year.  They do not address independent expenditures but put caps on the contributions that may be made directly to the candidate.  They require candidates to disclose all donations of more than $1,000 within five days.  The new laws were motivated by the debate over government transparency sparked by CU.

January 6, 2011

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IA- Attorney General Tom Miller called for better disclosure laws in a speech he delivered after taking the oath of office.  Referencing the three state supreme court justices who lost their seats in the November elections, he stated that the public has a right to know “who is competing with them for the allegiance of public officials.”

January 3, 2011

IA– Three justices lost their seats in this November’s election.  These justices held the state’s statute banning same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.  The post-CU influx in spending drove the campaign against the justices.  These articles examine CU’s impact on judicial independence.

November 4, 2010

IA – Iowa Governor Chet Culver signed into law today the finance provisions outlined below, which aims to regulate the consequences of the Supreme Court decision in order to ensure proper disclosure of campaign spending.

April 8, 2010

IA – The Senate passed a bill 49-1 to require corporations and unions to publicly disclose when they spend more than $750 on independent campaigns. Any commercials would also have to identify the company or union who paid for the ad. This is an edited down version of the originally proposed bill which had included a shareholder approval requirement and the ability for shareholders to withhold their own funds from the donation.

March 2, 2010

IA – The Iowa legislature is moving to pass Senate Study Bill 3210. Some highlighted provisions:

-Requiring disclaimers on advertisements paid for by corporations.

-Requiring board, CEO or stockholder approval before a corporation can use funds for independent expenditures.

-Prohibiting foreign-controlled companies from playing any role in Iowa elections.

February 11, 2010

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KS – While no law in Kansas has been directly affected by the CU decision, it appears an indirect effect has been to encourage some change. A new bill, which is being stalled at the moment, would change a requirement in companies who donate more than $150 to a campaign. The bill would change the confusing requirement of listing the industry that the donating corporation is in to listing the actual name of the corporation.

March 15, 2010

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KY– Jack Conway is the state’s attorney general and was the Democratic candidate for Senate in the general election.  He is prosecuting a nursing home for allegedly covering up the sexual abuse of a resident.  The wealthy owner of the nursing home, Terry Forcht, funded a series of attack ads against Conway, who lost on November 2nd.  This article examines campaign spending as a tool to avoid criminal liability.


October 29, 2010 

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ME- Publicly-financed elections have an incredible track record in Maine, especially after CU, but the McComish case has struck down core provisions of the state law.  The legislature is exploring methods of rehabilitating the law in time for the 2012 election so that there can be an option for limiting expenditures.

October 14, 2011

ME- Maine has had a clean elections option since 1996.  Tony Payne recently sparked debate by publishing an editorial calling for the system to be dismantled.  Robert Howe responded days later with arguments in favor of maintaining the system, especially in light of CU.  Here are both sides of the argument:

Anti Clean Elections-

Pro Clean Elections-

December 5, 2010

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MD- In response to Citizens United, Maryland approved a bill requiring organizations to disclose their independent expenditures and their donors’ names after they spend $10,000 or more on electioneering.

April 12, 2011

MD- Last fall, Attorney General Douglas Gansler formed an advisory committee on campaign finance.  The committee recently returned a final report offering 25 recommendations on how to improve state laws.  This articles summarizes the recommendations and provides a link to the official report.

January 4, 2011

MD– The state legislature has not moved the bill proposing shareholder approval of independent expenditures since February. (includes the status of several Maryland electoral reform proposals)

November 8, 2010

MD – Article discusses generally about the options of states and specifically about a MD  ‘package of bills to limit the worst aspects of the decision’ which propose to:

 -Require a majority shareholder or union member vote to approve specific expenditure

 -Banning “pay to play” which would prevent state funded organizations from campaign expenditures

 -Compelling public disclosure of all political disbursements by corporations and unions

This article includes more quotes than a similar one listed below.

March 13, 2010

MD– Testimony of Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, before the Judicial Proceedings Committee, Maryland Senate. Section II deals with specific effects of Maryland as to corporate spending, pay to play laws, and the role of the Maryland voter. Torres-Spelliscy outlines the measures she believes need be taken in Maryland to, “Reclaim a Voter-Based Democracy.”

February 25, 2010

MD – Supporters in MD have already begun a movement for public financing for elections with a bill. The bill would create a voluntary public financing system in MD General Assembly campaigns. Similar legislation has previously passed the house but failed in the senate. Supporters hope the high court’s decision will spur the change.

February 23, 2010

MD – Democratic senators and delegates outline a set of bills to restrict corporate spending in state elections. Those mentioned in article:

-Requiring corporate executives to get two-thirds approval of shareholders for a political expenditure.

-Prohibiting businesses with state contracts worth more than $5,000 from engaging in such efforts.

-Mandating disclosures of corporate expenditures to the state Board of Elections.

January 29, 2010

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MA- Massachusetts Democrats added securing a constitutional amendment to prevent nonhumans from exercising First Amendment rights to their “Action Agenda” for the 2012 elections at the Massachusetts Democratic Convention.

June 25, 2011

MA-The state is witnessing several efforts to limit the impact of Citizens United.  The most prominent is State Senator Eldridge’s proposed bill that would require corporations to obtain shareholder approval before spending on campaign ads.


October 28, 2010

MA – Statement from Office of Campaign and Political Finance interpreting the decision noting most importantly that direct contributions are still prohibited

January 2010

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MI- In 2008, a Michigan county prosecutor began to investigate Meijer Inc. for violating state campaign finance laws.  However, Meijer challenged the prosecutor’s subpoenas, and a circuit court held that county officials do not have the power to prosecute under state election laws.  The Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the decision, so now it has reached the state supreme court.  The justices could come down either way, or avoid the merits by deciding that the issue is moot because CU eliminated the cause of action.  The decision is not expected until summer.

January 21, 2011

MI– Thanks again to the Sunlight Foundation.  This is a summary of the changes the state has made over the past months.

November 17, 2010

MI– GavelGrap reports a watchdog group, Michigan Campaign Finance Network, is urging the SoS to help enact rigorous financial disclosure rules following CU. $45 million in television campaign advertisements have gone unreported since 2000, including almost a third of that being independent expenditures on state Supreme Court races. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has also asked the SoS for a declaratory ruling on how CU affects MI state law.

March 17, 2010

 MI – Department of State response to CU. A corporation, union or domestic dependent sovereign must register a political committee under the MCFA after spending $500.00 or more in independent expenditures in support of or opposition to state or local candidates in a calendar year.,1607,7-127-1633_8723_15274-230880–,00.html

January 2010

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MN- Minnesota’s disclosure laws subjected Target to public scorn for donating money to an organization that supports anti-gay marriage candidates, but the public soon seemed to forget the company’s deed.  What does this suggest about disclosure as a method of regulating the money entering the political system as a result of CU?

April 29, 2011

MN- Legislators introduced a bill seeking to amend the state constitution to state that corporate entities are not entitled to the same rights as natural persons.

March 16, 2011

MN- CU affected a Minnesota law that’s gotten little attention: the personal contribution refund.  Before the decision, the state gave people who donated $50-100 during an election cycle a refund, intending the law to encourage electoral engagement.  See the last question of this Q&A with State Representative Frank Hornstein for details.

January 18, 2011

MN- Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) challenged the state’s 2010 campaign finance law in the state supreme court.  The justices refused to grant an injunction, so the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing the case this week.  MCCL’s major argument is that the reporting requirement is so burdensome that it chills free speech.  It also believes that the state requires corporations to set up “political funds” before spending, which conflicts with CU’s requirements.

January 13, 2011

MN-The Supreme Court refused to grant an injunction that would have suspended the state’s post-CU campaign finance laws during the election.


November 1, 2010

MN– Target, taking advantage of its new ability to make direct expenditures, donated $150,000 from its treasury to Minnesota Forward, a PAC that sponsored ads supporting gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer.  Emmer supports anti-gay policies, while Target is known for its support of gay rights.  When Target disclosed its expenditure, consumers and liberal organizations immediately criticized its decision and the corporation could not control the damage even after its apology.

August 21, 2010

MN – The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board this week voted unanimously to ask staff to draft a memorandum on CU. Gary Goldsmith, Campaign Finance Board Executive Director believes their current statute will still apply in some way, “We’re just trying to figure out how to make it apply.”

April 7, 2010

MN – Minnesota’s first test? Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is filing suit to challenge state law that limits their spending in light of CU.

Copy of the complaint:

February 16, 2010

MN – Current MN restrictions on corporate express advocacy and formation of PACS are now unconstitutional. David Schultz reccomends three options:

(1) Take the current state disclosure laws and make them applicable to corporations.

(2) Increased disclosure, perhaps mandate that any corporate expenditure must be disclosed at the time it is made.

(3) Increased disclosure requirements for any corporate PACs (to watch for foreign involvement, or require shareholder approval, etc.)

January 26, 2010

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MO– The governor signed an ethics reform bill into law over the summer, but it looked very different than the one originally proposed.  After months of partisan battles the law does not seem to include any provisions that relate to the CU decision.

October 30, 2010

MO – Missouri lifted limits on campaign contributions in 2008. New changes to MO campaign finance law are being proposed along with new ethics legislation this session, but it is unlikely to pass with the current similar makeup of represenatives which lifted the limits just two years ago.

February 21, 2010

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MT- Missoula, a city in Montana, decided to place a referendum on its city council ballot to ask the Supreme Court to amend its Citizens United holding to clarify that corporations do not have the same rights as humans.

August 29, 2011

MT- Update on the Western Tradition case challenging the 1912 Corrupt Practices Act.  The case is now on the Montana Supreme Court’s docket.

July 17, 2011

MT-A state judge struck down the state’s political expenditure laws in the Western Tradition case.  Attorney General Steve Bullock stated that he would appeal the case to the Montana Supreme Court.


October 18, 2010

MT – A lawsuit has been filed in Helena in order to attempt to overturn the state’s current ban on corporate spending in elections. The law currently reads, a “corporation may not make a contribution on an expenditure with a candidate.” The owner of the corporation challenging, Champion Painting, has said he wishes to exercise first amendment rights against rising taxation and regulation.

March 9, 2010

MT – Montana has individual limitations on spending already in place, but enacting similar legislation to corporations is now likely unconstitutional. Difficulties are cited with new inability to regulate spending based on the identity of the speaker. Low budget elections in states like Montana may see the biggest impact. The average state senator in Montana’s 2008 election won by spending only $17,000.

February 18, 2010

MT – Statement by Attorney General Steve Bullock with a brilliant overview of Montana’s history with corporate spending on elections and looking forward to future legislation in the state.

February 2, 2010

MT – Montana’s 1912 voter-passed ban on corporate donations is up for challenge. Removing the ban means that currently there are no limits on corporations spending.

January 24, 2010

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NE- After a Virginia-based nonprofit took advantage of a legal loophole that allowed it to run ads against “candidates without reporting what it spent” because it did not directly advocate for or against a candidate, legislators introduced a bill requiring organizations to disclose their expenditures in the same manner as PACs and campaigns.

March 22, 2011

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NV- With an interesting angle, this article examines CU’s effect on local business.  The increased spending on political advertisements meant that regular advertisers didn’t get much air time in the fall.  TV stations benefited from the influx, but they are now trying to make up with the businesses they shut out.

December 21, 2010

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NH – The New Hampshire House defeated a bill that would have required companies that spend at least $10,000 on “messages, parties or candidates” to disclose their actions and gain the support of the board of directors before doing so within three days of spending money on political advertising. The Bill was stifled 184-135 after a series of compromises purportedly altered too much of the original.

June 3, 2010

NH– Bill in NH was passed from the House now on to the Senate in New Hampshire which would update their ban on corporate spending by requiring any independent expenditure over $500 to be reported by noon the first business day after spent. Also, businesses and labor unions are required to display a statement of disclosure in at least 12% of the vertical screen throughout the ad with an audio announcement.

March 11, 2010

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NJ- The formation of a new Democratic issue advocacy group has renewed Citizens United critics’ campaign to require 501(c)(4) organizations to disclose their donors.  The group, One New Jersey, has stated that it will not voluntarily publicize the names of its donors.

August 24, 2011

NJ– New Jersey experienced unexpected trends leading up to this year’s elections, as outside groups spent 80% less than they did during the 2008 election cycle.  However, candidates seem to have expected outside groups to do more of the campaigning this year, as independent expenditures made up a greater percentage of the total spending than they did in 2008.

October 26, 2010

NJ– Bipartisan commission led by Senator Bill Baroni (R – Mercer, Middlesex) to review NJ’s campaign finance laws, ” to ensure that we do everything we can.”

January 21, 2010

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NY- Citizen Action New York sponsored a panel discussing the future of state level publicly-financed elections as a way forward with CU on the books.  Panelists suggested that the time is right for New York to adopt clean elections, and that the state has the opportunity to become a national leader in public financing because the existing New York City model is distinct from the challenged method in Arizona.

March 19, 2011

NY- Governor Cuomo, in his State of the State Address, announced his support for a system of publicly financed state elections.  New York City already uses that method for local elections, so the City’s system could serve as a model.  Several civic groups are using the one year anniversary of CU as an opportunity to hold the Governor to his word.

January 21, 2011

NY- A group of state senators and assemblypersons announced their support for a bill that would require corporations to get shareholder approval before making independent expenditures.   They would also have to explain how the contributions would benefit the business.

January 21, 2011

NY– This is a more academic look at CU’s potential effects on judicial elections in New York.  There are several links off of this page that provide useful background information on the issue.

November 30, 2010

NY – An overview article which discusses the CU decision, New York’s current state of law with independent expenditures, and some possible measures for the future in discussion.

May 2010

NY– NY Lesiglature proposed a bill with specific disclosure requirements for corporate shareholders:
-Majority approval for yearly spending
-Annual report to each shareholder and SoS with specific donations
-Provide a business rationale for each donation
Penalties for not abiding are not specified, but would be left up to the SoS. It is still uncertain whether it would apply to unions, but the bill does apply to not-for-profit corporations. It may be up to the unions to declare themselves that classification

April 15, 2010

NY – New York State Assembly introduced a bill which would require corporate contributions for independent expenditures to have shareholder approval. Although New York has no direct laws affected by CU, this appears to be an indirect result of the ruling.

February 17, 2010

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NC- The New Yorker provides in-depth commentary on the way Citizens United affected the outcome of the 2010 North Carolina elections and offers predictions on the next election cycle.

October 10, 2011

NC- The legislature adopted a law requiring organizations to disclose their donations and the identity “of each person or entity making a donation of more than one hundred dollars ($100) to the entity filing the report if the donation was made to further the reported independent expenditure.”

April 18, 2011

NC– Outside groups spent record amounts to influence state elections in 2010.  The new rush of money corresponds to Republicans taking over the state house for the first time since Reconstruction.

November 4, 2010

NC-The governor signed North Carolina’s reaction to CU into law.

August 2, 2010

NC– State legislature has been bouncing around the idea of publicly financed elections for the State’s largest cities. The CU decision is cited as the primary motivation. It is too early to tell at this point whether the Senate will address the pending bill in the short summer session.

March 27, 2010

NC– Gary Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said the ruling is likely to result in even more out-of-state money being spent to influence local races. Some think the ruling could result in greater transparency about precisely who is behind a television attack ad, or influence citizens to favor public financing.

January 21, 2010

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OH- Ohio enacted new election regulations at the end of 2010, but the new secretary of state plans to push the legislature to pass similar laws.  The disclosure requirements and other reforms would have greater weight coming from the statehouse.

January 21, 2011

OH- Ohio recently announced its new election rules, which it drafted in an effort to combat what it saw as the harms of Citizens United.  However, a law professor at Moritz warns that there is a loophole in the rules that will allow corporations to channel their spending through other organizations, making it impossible for the public to trace the expenditure back to its source.  He also fears that someone will challenge the provision that prohibits corporations from making expenditures if they’ve received any federal funds during the same year.  The full list of new rules is included in the article. 

December 29, 2010

OH-Candidates in normally quiet electoral districts react to outside campaign advertisements and the impact of spending on their races.


October 28, 2010

OH – Ohio will have to modify currrent ban on campaign contributions. Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner believes a direct impact will be more political TV advertising.

January 22, 2010

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OK– The state is witnessing massive spending by “outside political groups” in the final days leading up to the election.


October 31, 2010

OK – In a quick fix, Oklahoma State Senate voted 24-21 to alter the definitions in campaign finance to essentially delete the prohobition of corporate expenditures.

March 11, 2010

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PA– The city of Pittsburgh passed an ordinance prohibiting natural gas drilling within city limits.  The ordinance has interesting electoral implications because it directly challenges the foundation of CU by eliminating the corporate personhood of businesses trying to drill in the city.  The drilling companies have hinted that they may challenge the ordinance in court, so this action could be setting up legal action that will have ramifications in the election law arena.

November 16, 2010

PA– State officials do not have the resources to put independent expenditure reports online, so curious citizens must go to the Department of State to view the reports in person.


November 2, 2010

PA – Pennsylvannia will review it’s statute to determine if the CU “directly controls” it. Reaction comments from both PA US Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey as well as some reactions of PA watchdog groups are included.

January 22, 2010

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SD– Thanks to the Sunlight Foundation for this summary of the state’s new law.

June 9, 2010

SD – Secretary of State Chris Nelson is preparing legislation to conform with the CU ruling. The deadline for state government agencies to introduce new legislation has passed, so Nelson is likely to ask that a minor bill on campaign laws be amended to include the new provisions.

January 25, 2010

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TN- State legislators have introduced a bill that would remove the ban on direct corporate campaign contributions.  Tennessee is currently one of 22 states that don’t allow companies to give money straight to political candidates, but CU is making it reconsider the rule.  Tennessee unions can already make direct expenditures.

March 6, 2011

TN– The Attorney General issued an advisory opinion concluding that the state’s campaign finance statute is unconstitutional in light of CU.  The statute can no longer be enforced.

July 2, 2010

TN – A debate over definitions of ‘foreign corporations’ and how they may be able to spend in the state took a grip on a question not yet often asked; Can a corporation that is based in another state independently spend money in a different states election? The new bill, proposed by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner, would disallow “foreign corporations” from putting money into TN politics and defines foreign as anyone who would not be able to vote for the candidate. While this was an interesting debate, it caused much confusion and was ultimately abandoned for a number of reasons, including potential unconstitutionality.

March 8, 2010

 TN – A call for legalizing direct corporate campaign contribution. Good quotes from Ron Ramsey, candidate for state senator, about how he cannot control the messages corporations can now advertise in his support (as long as it isn’t direct).

February 2, 2010

TN – A bill has been proposed in the house which would revise current TN ban on corporate spending to only ban the spending by corporations that “do not have the authority to transact business within the state.” Thanks to

A co-sponsor of the legislation, Representative Kent Coleman , is quoted below:

January 29, 2010

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TX- Will CU alter Texas’s criminal laws along with its electoral code?  Tom DeLay plans to use the decision when he appeals his prison sentence.

January 14, 2011

TX- Corporations and unions are afraid to spend on state elections because the rules remain unclear.  Organizations do not know how to classify themselves, so they don’t know if they have to release expenditure reports or reveal their donors.  Instead of risking a mistake, some would-be donors simply did not contribute during the last election cycle.

January 2, 2011

TX-Gubernatorial candidates discuss their plans regarding the state’s election laws in this Q&A.

October 23, 2010

TX – Texas has historic moment as it witnesses it’s first ad for a candidate placed by a corporation .
Also, Huffington:

March 22, 2010

TX – David Schenck in a Guest Column for The Texas Tribune asks an interesting question: Will CU help to aid the end of judicial elections in Texas and nationwide?

Feb 2, 2010

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UT– Utah is one of four states that do not have any campaign contribution limits, but perhaps because CU brought election law to forefront of political debate, the state is receiving proposals for reform.  These proposals have not received much attention as of yet, but some candidates tried to bring attention to the issue during the elections, and promised change if elected.

September 10, 2010

UT– Utah is examining its campaign contributions as ‘free speech.’ Perhaps they were encouraged by either the public’s reaction to it or the decision of Citizens United itself.

March 1, 2010

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VT- US Senator Bernie Sanders hosted a town hall meeting on Citizens United at a high school, and the event drew a large crowd.  It featured a panel of speakers ranging from politicians, to constitutional law professors, to grassroots organizers.  During the Q&A session, Sanders suggested an idea that would shock those who believe that the CU controversy has partisan elements: those seeking to overturn CU should team up with the Tea Party and together engage in a general populist movement.  This article has full coverage of the event.

March 7, 2011

VT- State Senator Virginia Lyons proposed a resolution calling for an amendment to the US Constitution that would strip corporations of their “personhood.”  This would effectively undue CU because if corporations are not people, they have no First Amendment protections.

For a fuller article that openly takes a stance.

January 22, 2011

VT – The house judiciary committee voted 10-0 to reccomend passage  of large bill which included an alteration of campaign finance law. Under the bill would be a reporting requirement of any spending over $500 on an election message within 30 days of an election. There still remains a possibility that this will be rewritten.

March 14, 2010

 VT – State of Elections interview with former state senator and representative Matt Dunne about how Citizens United will affect VT. The Entergy-owned Vemont Yankee nuclear plant that has recently been found to be leaking tritium is likely to be a major player in the gubernatorial race this fall in light of the high courts decision. Dunne is running to be the democratic candidate in the election.

March 3, 2010

VT – Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Sears is pushing (as co-sponsor) for a new campaign finance bill to be passed and go into effect in the 2010 election in response to CU. Governor Jim Douglas is supportive of some ideas, but does not believe the bill should apply to this year’s campaign as he does not wish to “change rules in an election season.”

February 24, 2010

VT – Citizens United decision may undermine case of Vermont Right to Life’s ability to advertise politically without reporting who is funding them.

February 10, 2010

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VA- A Virginia U.S. District judge extended the Citizens United decision from independent expenditures to direct contributions, dismissing an indictment against “two men accused of illegally reimbursing donors to Hillary Clinton’s Senate and presidential campaigns.”  Minnesota faced the same question but decided that bans on direct corporate expenditures could still stand under CU.

May 27, 2011

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WV – Brennan Center reports on the passing of HR 4647 which will improve disclosure and disclaimer rules regarding corporate spending on independent expenditures over $1,000. Anyone who provides over $250 for that will also be disclosed. The filings will be posted online. Also is an improved “stand by your ad” disclaimer provision requiring clear identification of the persons responsible for it within the ad itself.

March 19, 2010

WV – The House of Delegates passed two measures this week regarding disclosure of those donating to campaigns, including an attempt require corporations to disclose its donations to its shareholders. While two similar bills have already been defeated, this bill still faces a tough challenge with claims of “loopholes” and “vaugeness.” But the House democrats are hopeful that at least the bill to trigger disclosure reporting and transparency. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff Kessler asks, “Are we going to start seeing the Chik-fil-a West Virginia Secretary of State Bowl, or the Gatorade Gubernatorial Election?”

March 2, 2010

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WI- In the course of the state’s nine recall elections this summer, candidates and interest groups spent $43.9 million.  Many of the outside spending groups recently came into being under post-CU rules, which do not require the groups to disclose their donors.  The influx of money has become a rallying point for interest groups and legislators to push for stricter disclosure laws.

September 20, 2011

WI- A joint legislative committee approved a bill prohibiting the Government Accountability Board, which promulgates campaign finance rules, from making any further “corporate electioneering” disclosure requirements.  The bill also turns back the clock on some of the GAB’s existing disclosure rules. (see link to bill)

July 5, 2011

WI- With a battle raging over the constitutionality of the governor’s plan for unions, “unidentified contributors” spent $4.4 on the state supreme court election.

May 19, 2011

WI- On April 5, city of Madison and Dane County voters casting their ballots to replace a supreme court justice saw an additional resolution on their tickets; they were asked whether the US Constitution should be amended to abolish corporate personhood.   84% of Madison voters supported the resolution, along with 74% of the Dane County voters.

April 6, 2011

WI- Did CU make unions too powerful, or do we need unions more than ever to balance corporate interests?  The situation in Wisconsin has provoked reflection on this interesting question.  Here are two views:

February 22, 2011

WI- The city of Madison and Dane County are both debating adding an advisory referendum to their April 5th ballots.  The referendum asks voters whether they think the Bill of Rights should be amended so that corporations won’t be eligible for constitutional rights.  The national group Move to Amend has been instrumental in encouraging these localities to hold the referendum.

January 13, 2011

WI- The Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed to hear Wisconsin Prosperity Network, et al. v. Myse, et al., scheduling oral arguments for March 9th.  The case challenges Government Accountability Board (GAB) 1.28, which the Board amended following the CU and Wisconsin Right to Life decisions.  The original rule categorized political advertisements as express advocacy on the basis of “magic words.”  The new version employs a “commonsense test” that brings in all ads that cannot be interpreted as anything other than “an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate.”  The Wisconsin Supreme Court has already enjoined GAB from enforcing the amended version of 1.28.  There are also two federal cases pending that address this issue, and the federal court is now waiting to see how the Supreme Court settles Prosperity Network.

December 1, 2010

WI– The state supreme court enjoined enforcement of an election law that required entities making independent expenditure to expose their donor’s identities.  The case was Swaffer v. Deininger, and the citizens involved argued that the law “intimidates and burdens” ordinary people wishing to communicate with others in their community.

This Wisconsin editorial discusses the opposite view—that citizens need to know who donates to organizations if they are to make informed electoral decisions.

November 23, 2010

WI– The Government Accountability Board released disclosure reports, in accordance with rules passed in the wake of CU.  The reports expose what companies and unions paid for electioneering ads, but there is little information on who donated to these groups.

November 15, 2010

WI– On May 20, the Government Accountability Board approved emergency rules requiring organizations making independent expenditures to make regular disclosures and include “paid for by” statements in advertisements they fund.  These rules are only temporary, and the Board continues to work ok permanent regulations.

May 20, 2010

WI – The WI Senate passed a bill which would require notice to be filed with election officials that they obtained approval from shareholder majority. The vote would have to be retaken every two years. Interestingly, they also voted against an amendment which would apply the same standard to unions (a republican amendment 18-15 against).

April 13, 2010

WI – An opinion article written by Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, Barbara Lawton, describes a way to ‘blunt’ the Supreme Court’s decision in CU: Public financing for elections. She says the bills are written and waiting for their sponsors to move forward with it. While it would not directly address the issue of independent expenditures, it would level the playing field without specifically adding limits to traditional campaign donations, which she believes is being treated with increased skepticism.

March 1, 2010

WI – Opinion article from Andrea Kaminski on how CU might affect judicial elections in the state

February 2, 2010

WI – Wisconsin, with a wide open race for governor this fall, stands to feel heavy impact from CU. Most likely in the form of 30-60 second negative and/or demoralizing TV ads.

February 2, 2010

WI – VIDEO: Campaign 2010 panel that featured attorney Mike Wittenwyler, Jay Heck of Common Cause of Wisconsin, UW-Madison Associate Professor Howard Schweber, and Jonathan Becker, a division administrator for Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board, which enforces campaign finance laws, debate what the CU ruling means for Wisconsin

January 28, 2010

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WY- The state legislature is considering a bill that will update its election laws, bringing them into conformity with CU.  It currently lacks a disclosure provision, but the Senate Corporations, Elections, and Political Subdivisions Committee is examining amendments in response to this concern.

The Equality State Policy Center is leading the push for adding disclosure requirements.  Here are its proposed amendments, which the Senate Committee considered on January 13, 2011.

January 18, 2011

WY – HB68 will update Wyoming’s current ban on corporations from contributing any promotion of election of any candidate to conform with CU. The new law will effectively read that it does not limit corporations “from exercising its first amendment rights to make independent expenditures for speech expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate.” However, the bill failed to acquire the necessary 2/3rds vote required during a budget session. A reintroduction attempt is likely.

February 10, 2010

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Citizens United invalidated several FEC regulations, and a year later the Commission has still not come up with new rules to apply the decision.  Partisan disagreements appear to be the cause of the gridlock.

March 25, 2011

This article describes various legal actions aimed at expanding the CU holding and argues that the divides over the opinion are not simply a function of partisanship.

March 19, 2011

Here’s a look at the current status of state disclosure laws and how CU has influenced them.

March 1, 2011

The Brennan Center offers this guide to those drafting state campaign finance laws.  The report provides a legal analysis of different reform measures and their likelihood of surviving a court challenge.

December 9, 2010

A summary of the kinds of changes states have made and proposed.

December 1, 2010

People for the American Way composed a list of legislative proposals that react to CU, organized by state.  There are further links to check the statuses of the proposals.

November 2, 2010

The Campaign Legal Center lists some of the major cases challenging state election laws and reform measures.


September 16, 2010

Covington & Burling LLP released a ‘Political Law Update.’ Page 4 summarizes some of the ‘creative’ state responses to CU and offers a nice summary of what we have been looking at here at here.

July 1, 2010

Over 30 Organizations have signed a letter asking Congress to consider a Shareholder Protection Act in light of CU. Some requested provisions include requiring shareholder approval over certain dollar amounts and requiring institutional investors to inform all persons in their investment funds of their voting history on corporate political expenditures.
Thanks to electionlawblog and Rick Hasen for the link.

April 8, 2010

National Center for State Lesiglatures has a comprehensive list of legislation currently being acted on in each state in response to CU (an excellent page). Also lists current bans on corporation and union spending by state.

March 15, 2010

States are scrambling to put together legislation in response to citizens united. At least 8 states are pushing for increased disclosure, and a few others are pushing for shareholder approval requirements. Jeff Patch, spokesman for Center for Competitive Politics says, “If the legislature does not give them a clear picture, it could result in a free-for-all.”

March 12, 2010

USA Today provides an overview of the wide variety of changes that states are making to conform with CU. Some states are taking an extremely proactive approach with measures like shareholder approval while others may only be seeking to repeal their current bans.

February 25, 2010

VIDEO – National Institute on Money in Politics breaks CU down audio-visually with a ‘get to know the basics’ approach. This short video gives a quick overview of how the states in general were affected by citizens united.

February 25, 2010

PBS’s Bill Moyer’s list of Affected State Laws

February 5, 2010

Congress may test allowing states to limit out-of-state corporate spending

February 4, 2010

CU may also have dramatic effect on state ‘Pay-to-Play’ Laws

January 25, 2010

NYT Article on Effect on 24 States with Contrary Laws

January 23, 2010

National Institute on Money In State Politics Report

January 22, 2010

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A rundown of the heavily-financed state supreme court contests from the last few years and an analysis of spending in judicial elections.

October 27, 2011

The University of Hastings College of Law’s Public Law Research Institute provides an analysis of the reform measures states are implementing to address the effects of CU on judicial elections. (executive summary) (full report)

September 26, 2011

National Journal: under the Influence’s Eliza Newlin Carney has a response for those who argue the 26 States that already had bans on corporate spending limits. A good summarization of the recent history of influencing events on how people view judicial elections.

April 12, 2010

New Republic article by Adam Skaggs from the Brennan Center zeroing in on some specific state judicial races that are sure to be impacted by CU (IL, WA) while generally projecting how it is likely to impact judicial elections. He advocates for public financing in states with judicial elections.

April 3, 2010

USA Today article disects the Brennan Center’s study on money in judicial elections and reflects on a few select states working on new legislation, partly to limit the possible impact of state bans on corporate spending being lifted from CU.

March 31, 2010

Sherrilyn Ifill comments about the impact of CU on judicial elections in states. The article begins with a historical backdrop to the elections and goes on to mention potential issues that are raised including increased loss of public confidence, Ifill argues, which might be solved by public financing. Thanks to for the link.

March 17, 2010

 A new study according to the Justice at Stake and Brennan Center reveals money raised in judicial elections has more than doubled since the 1990s. Justice Ginsburg has spoken out against judicial elections as an extreme concern in the American court system. Even without the measurable impact of CU on indirect spending, it is clear judicial elections are changing.

March 17, 2010

More quotes from former SCOTUS Justice O’Connor while sitting on panel called by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. Voters have twice shot down similar legislation. The article references both CU and Massey Coal cases in showing possible support this year could lend itself to reform.,0,7551927.story

March 4, 2010

Focused on MI, the article, titled Exploring Options for an Independent Judiciary, cites different methods of reforming judicial elections. Seth Anderson, executive director of the American Judicature Society believes, “we will see more nasty campaigns than ever before” because of CU.

March 2, 2010

Justice for Sale (VIDEO), PBS’s Bill Moyer’s program on the issue of judicial elections with specific remarks to CU’s impact. Moyer remarks, “There’s now a crooked sign hanging on every courthouse in America reading ‘Justice for Sale.’”

February 19, 2010

CU to Impact Impartiality of Courts?

February 4, 2010

Reformers Hope CU Kills Judicial Elections

February 1, 2010

O’Connor Addresses ‘Problem’ of CU Ruling

January 26, 2010

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Links compiled and maintained by Alex Grout and Shanna Reulbach, students at William & Mary School of Law


Treves, for all his pioneering work, was an alsoran browse here and his substantial ego was unhappy with this state of affairs.

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