The National Constitutional Center has inaugurated a series of debates around the country on recent Supreme Court cases. Two weeks ago the proposition for dispute in Boston was: “Citizens United was wrongly decided.’ I took the negative side with Anthony Johnstone of Montana Law School in the affirmative. The Center recently posted the debate online.
The audience was decidedly hostile to Citizens United. The Center took a poll at the beginning of the debate. 76 percent of the audience were opposed and only 24 percent in favor. After the debate 65 percent were opposed and 35 percent in favor. I had persuaded some listeners, but not enough to turn the tide.
Why does Citizens United elicit such visceral hostility from most audiences?