Discussing Citizens United, Free Speech, Congressional Corruption, and More With Bill Moyers and Larry Lessig

On Friday, I appeared on Bill Moyers Journal with Harvard law prof and cyberspace theorist Lawrence Lessig to discuss the whys and wherefores of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. From the show’s writeup:

The Supreme Court’s January 2010 decision of the Citizen’s United v. Federal Election Commission on campaign finance regulations has caused a stir around the political spectrum. A poll from Angus Reid Public Opinion found that 65 percent of people surveyed disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision — 67 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Republicans, and 72 percent of independents.

Libertarian journalist Nick Gillespie says all that worry is misplaced in a much-watched video “Three Reasons Not to Sweat Citizens United.” “If you want to get bent out of shape about something, direct your ire at a massive and constantly growing government that has its hands in virtually every aspect of economic and social life in America,” Says Gillespie.

Harvard legal scholar Lawrence Lessig disagrees, viewing the ruling as a another step in the takeover of democracy by big money. In an article for THE NATION entitled “How to Get Our Democracy Back: If You Want Change, You Have to Change Congress,” Lessig calls for a constitutional convention to make public financing of campaigns the law of the land, “What both sides must come to see is that the reform of neither is possible until we solve our first problem first — the dependency of the Fundraising Congress.”

As you might guess, we didn’t agree on much, but it was a spirited and civil conversation well worth having. A full transcript is available, along with video of the segment and links to related materials, by clicking on the image below.

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