Court stops wave of Arizonas

And doubles down on Citizens United; Murdoch empire in doubt; Kochs buy think tank; and other top Monday strories

Published June 26, 2012 12:30PM (EDT)

Court decision prevents more laws like Arizona's: The New York Times’ Julia Preston writes that while the Supreme Court’s decision on Arizona's immigration law is being hailed as a victory by supporters, “the ruling does not seem likely to unleash a new wave of legislation by other states to crack down on illegal immigration.” Five other states have already  implemented their own immigration laws in the vein of Arizona’s, but the court’s ruling circumscribes the authority of states in this space and affirmed that the federal government has sole authority over immigration policy.

Citizens United 2.0: The Supreme Court yesterday struck down Montana's century-old limits on corporate political spending, “putting an end to the state's resistance to Citizens United and effectively expanding that controversial ruling to the state and local elections." "Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing on behalf of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, reached the bold conclusion that ‘independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,’ and therefore '[n]o sufficient governmental interest justifies limits on the political speech of nonprofit or for-profit corporations.’” There was only an outside chance the justices would reverse themselves after Citizens United.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Time notes, “During their long campaign to loosen rules on campaign money, conservatives argued that there was a simpler way to prevent corruption: transparency. Get rid of limits on contributions and spending, they said, but make sure voters know where the money is coming from. Today, with those fundraising restrictions largely removed, many conservatives have changed their tune. They now say disclosure could be an enemy of free speech” and are fighting to keep money secret.

News Corp considering split: Under pressure from law enforcement and investors over widespread phone hacking at its U.K. newspapers, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is considering “dividing itself in two, cleaving its publishing arm from its far larger entertainment division. ... Such a split, which may take the form of a corporate spinoff, would create a publishing business that includes The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, The New York Post and the HarperCollins book business. The Murdoch family would probably retain control of the newly split companies under such an outcome.”

Kochtopus ensnares Cato: The Washington Post’s Think Tanked blog reports, “The Cato Institute and billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch have reached an agreement that will end their legal dispute for control of the libertarian think tank, according to a joint announcement released Monday. At its core, the agreement dissolves the controversial stockholder arrangement in exchange for Cato President Ed Crane stepping down from his position. The two sides have been embroiled in a public battle since March 1 when the Kochs filed a lawsuit against Cato, its CEO, and several of its directors over the distribution of controlling shares of the think tank. A subsequent lawsuit was filed in April in response to additions Cato made to its board.”

Democratic convention facing money woes: Democrats may have to cancel a big kickoff event for the Democratic National Convention at the Charlotte Motor Speedway because of a lack of funding. Planners face a $27 million fundraising deficit. It's another sign that Democrats are being outgunned in the campaign finance world, as there are few restrictions on who can give to conventions.

Here’s another sign: Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is saying he won’t give any money to Democratic super PACs, even as his conservative colleagues make eight-figure contributions to right-wing outside money groups.

By Alex Seitz-Wald

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2012 Elections Supreme Court