Category Archives: National Politics

Symposia: Money and Politics – Unholy Alliance or Free Speech? The Aftermath of Citizens United

Money and Politics – Unholy Alliance or Free Speech? The Aftermath of Citizens United

WHEN: April 25, 2013 7:00 pm

WHERE: Johnson & Wales University Yena Center Admissions Presentation Room 111 Dorrance Street Providence, RI

SPONSORS: ~Federal Bench/Bar Committee of the RI Bar Association ~The United States District Court for the District of RI ~Johnson & Wales University

Parking: Provided by Johnson & Wales University at its Pine Street parking lot, adjacent to Gaebe Commons. This flyer must be presented to the parking attendant.

The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United dramatically transformed the landscape of campaign finance and has sparked an impassioned national debate over money and elections. A rising tide of campaign spending, the emergence of Super PACs, the growth of undisclosed funding… Some observers view these developments as affirming the American tradition of rough and tumble speech and the free market of ideas. Others see looming corruption and a threat to the integrity of our political process.

Join us for an examination of the critical issues that have emerged from the sweeping changes wrought by Citizens United . How has Citizens United changed campaigns and campaign financing? What effects has it had on the political process? And what does it mean for future elections?

Speakers

ANTHONY CORRADO is Professor of Government at Colby College, where he teaches American politics and political theory. Widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading experts on political finance, Dr. Corrado is a Nonresident Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution and serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Campaign Finance Institute. He has authored or coauthored a number of books on campaign finance and elections.

PAUL S. RYAN is Senior Counsel at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C. Mr. Ryan has testified as an expert on election law before Congress and regularly represents the Campaign Legal Center before the Federal Election Commission and before state and municipal bodies around the nation. He has appeared as a campaign finance law expert on national news programs, and is quoted regularly by The New York Times, The Washington Post and other publications.

Moderators

MATTHEW T. OLIVERIO , a founding partner of Oliverio & Marcaccio LLP in Providence, concentrates in complex, civil and comm ercial litigation in state and federal courts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. He is regularly engaged by members of the bar to serve as an arbitrator.

STEVEN M. RICHARD practices comm ercial and civil litigation in the Providence office of Nixon Peabody LLP. Mr. Richard handles trial and appellate work in federal and state courts in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. He Co-Chairs the District Court’s Local Rules Review Committee and the Planning Committee for the Court’s 2013 District Conference.

President Obama Re-nominates 33 for Federal Judgeships

In the face of unprecedented obstruction, today, President Obama re-nominated thirty-three individuals who he previously nominated for federal judgeships in the 112th Congress.

“Today, I am re-nominating thirty-three highly qualified candidates for the federal bench, including many who could have and should have been confirmed before the Senate adjourned,” said President Obama.  “Several have been awaiting a vote for more than six months, even though they all enjoy bipartisan support.  I continue to be grateful for their willingness to serve and remain confident that they will apply the law with the utmost impartiality and integrity.  I urge the Senate to consider and confirm these nominees without delay, so all Americans can have equal and timely access to justice.”

CIRCUIT COURT NOMINEES

  • Judge Robert E. Bacharach:  Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • Caitlin Halligan: Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • William J. Kayatta, Jr.:  Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • Jill A. Pryor:  Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • Judge Patty Shwartz:  Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • Srikanth Srinivasan: Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • Richard Gary Taranto:  Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

DISTRICT COURT NOMINEES

  • Judge Elissa F. Cadish: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Nevada
  • Valerie E. Caproni: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • Judge Sheri Polster Chappell:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • Pamela Ki Mai Chen:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • Judge Brian J. Davis: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • Shelly Deckert Dick:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
  • Jennifer A. Dorsey:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Nevada
  • Katherine Polk Failla:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • Kenneth John Gonzales:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico
  • Andrew Patrick Gordon:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Nevada
  • Ketanji Brown Jackson:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
  • Rosemary Márquez:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Arizona
  • Judge Michael J. McShane:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Oregon
  • Raymond P. Moore: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Colorado
  • Judge Troy L. Nunley: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Central District of California
  • William H. Orrick, III: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California
  • Judge Nitza I. Quiñones AlejandroNominee for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • Judge Nelson Stephen Román:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • Judge William L. Thomas:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • Judge Analisa Torres:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • Derrick Kahala Watson:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii

COURT OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE NOMINEES

  • Mark A. Barnett: Nominee for the United States Court of International Trade
  • Claire R. Kelly: Nominee for the United States Court of International Trade

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse & Others to Address “The Politics and Process of Judicial Confirmations”

The Rhode Island Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society and Common Cause Rhode Island present:

The Politics and Process of Judicial Confirmations

The political process of judicial nominations can be puzzling. In recent years, the confirmation process often has bogged down and become more contentious with the result that many judicial vacancies in federal courts have remained unfilled for lengthy periods of time. Our distinguished panel will attempt to demystify the process, giving an insiders’ perspective on nomination hearings, the political struggles behind them and the details of the process in general.

With an address by:

The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse
Senator (D-RI), United States Senate

Featuring:

  • The Honorable Ernest C. Torres, Senior Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island
  • David Fontana, Associate Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
  • Jared A. Goldstein, Professor of Law, Roger Williams University School of Law
  • Emily J. Sack, Professor of Law, Roger Williams University School of Law

And moderated by:

  • Michael J. Yelnosky, Professor of Law, Roger Williams University School of Law

Monday, November 8, 2010
Reception: 6:00 p.m.
Program: 6:30 p.m.
The University Club of Providence
219 Benefit Street
Waterman Room
Providence, RI
RSVP by CLICKING HERE.

This event is free of charge.

Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be provided.

Please note that attire is business casual. Men are required to wear collared shirts, and no denim is allowed.

BP the Exception? New Report Details Corporate Evasion of Environmental Laws

At the Huffington Post, Anthony Tarricone, president of the American Association for Justice, wrote, “Unfortunately, it is only through disaster or tragedy when people begin to understand why a strong civil justice system is so necessary.”

As “the devastation from BP’s oil rig disaster grows, today the American Association for Justice released a new report detailing how corporations have evaded environmental laws for decades, only to later be held accountable and responsible for clean-up through the civil justice system.”

Given “the history of corporate behavior in the wake of such disasters, it is clear trial attorneys and the civil justice system will play a vital role in holding BP accountable and helping to return the Gulf to the state it once was.”

Statement by President Obama on Oil Liability

In the wake of Republican Senator Jim Inhofe’s blocking of a Democratic proposal on Tuesday to boost the liability cap on oil spills from the current $75 million to $10 billion, President Barack Obama released this statement today on the issue of Oil Liability:

“I am disappointed that an effort to ensure that oil companies pay fully for disasters they cause has stalled in the United States Senate on a partisan basis. This maneuver threatens to leave taxpayers, rather than the oil companies, on the hook for future disasters like the BP oil spill. I urge the Senate Republicans to stop playing special interest politics and join in a bipartisan effort to protect taxpayers and demand accountability from the oil companies.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse Condemns Citizens United in Politico

Writing in Politico, Rhode Island’s junior Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, passionately criticizes the recent SCOTUS decision in Citizens United.

The Supreme Court’s recent slim majority decision in Citizens United has opened floodgates that long prevented corporate cash from drowning out the voices of American citizens in election campaigns. Those who care about the integrity of the American political process view this decision with concern and astonishment.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing about this misguided decision Wednesday. The ruling continues an increasingly clear pattern of the court’s activist conservative bloc. First, decisions are by a narrow 5-4 majority. Second, decisions overrule well-established law and well-settled precedent. Third, the outcome favors corporations, the rich and the powerful.

The Constitution has long been understood to allow Congress to protect elections from the corrupting influence of corporate cash. As President Barack Obama has observed, the principle embodied in the 1907 Tillman Act — that inanimate business corporations, creatures of our laws, are not free to spend unlimited dollars to influence election campaigns — has been an established cornerstone of our political system for more than 100 years.

The five-justice conservative bloc of the Supreme Court tossed that principle aside, baldly denying any risk of election corruption, despite numerous congressional findings to the contrary. As my colleague Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said: “The Supreme Court [has] predetermined the winners of next November’s elections. It won’t be Republicans. It won’t be Democrats. It will be corporate America.”

I look forward to working with Schumer to limit the harmful effects of the Citizens United opinion: to prevent foreign corporations from influencing U.S. elections; to ban pay-to-play spending by government contractors; to strengthen disclosure laws that ensure voters know who is funding the ads they see; and to enhance corporate disclosure of election spending.

And…

Elections are the lifeblood of democracy. The U.S. Constitution is established by and for “We the People of the United States.” Humans are clearly different from artificial corporations. And nothing in the Constitution gives CEOs the right to amplify their voices over all of ours through the corporations they control.

The activist conservative bloc, currently driving the court to the right, does not seem to appreciate this foundational, common-sense principle of our republic — at least not when corporate interests are concerned.

The court should return to its proper role of providing justice to all Americans, not just the privileged few.

Well done, Senator.  Well done.

RI Political Earthquake: Rep. Patrick Kennedy Not Running for Re-election?

UPDATES BELOW.

Shocking news from WRNI that Congressman Kennedy will not be seeking re-election.

Who’s going to run for the open seat?

Congress: “They’re in”

Congress: “They’re seriously considering it.”

  • Rep. David Segal – Young, aggressive, progressive with a broad base of support.  Can run as the outsider and the reformer.
  • Donna Nesselbush – Private practice attorney, municipal judge in Pawtucket and former executive director of the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
  • Mayor Dan McKee – A source close to McKee tells me that the Cumberland Mayor is leaning toward running as people he trusts have gamed out a path to victory that’s convincing to him. He’s heading to D.C. early next week to discuss national fundraising through the Democrats for Education Reform network. McKee’s previous comments about running to the Journal are here.
  • Rep. Jon Brien – DINO and worst candidate of the bunch.

Congress: They’re Out

  • Former Rep. Bob Weygand – former Congressman and URI executive.
  • Councilman Seth Yurdin – Progressive elected official with a base on Providence’s East Side.
  • State Sen. Josh Miller – small business owner and environmental champion.  Could raise money quickly.
  • Rep. Edith Ajello – represents powerful East Side.
  • Former State Sen. Myrth York – Money and name recognition.
  • Jeremy Kapstein – senior adviser to the Red Sox has been making waves lately about running for office in RI.
  • Joseph Amaral – former hospital executive.
  • Former Lt. Gov. Charlie Fogarty – former lt. governor and 2006 democratic gubernatorial nominee.  lots of name recognition.
  • Ari Matusiak – Housing and health care advocate; ran statewide housing ballot initiative; ability to raise fast money.
  • Guillaume de Ramel – unsuccessful Secretary of State candidate in 2006, but got a large number of votes.
  • Nicholas Pell – grandson of Claiborne Pell.  His comments about running are here. He issued a statement on 2/23 that he is not running.
  • Rep. Ed Pacheco – young, aggressive progressive who has proven he can win over conservative voters in Burrillville.  His comments about running to the Journal are here. He issued a statement on 2/22 that he is not running.
  • Sen. Teresa Paiva-Weed – it would be skeptical that the Senate President would give up her job to run in a primary for Congress, but she certainly has name recognition and the ability to raise money. More here.
  • Sec. of State Ralph Mollis – current Secretary of State considering a look at Congress.
  • Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts – with Emily’s list, could win a divided primary.
  • Former Rep. Betsy Dennigan (already has a federal account) – moved from CD1 to CD2 to run against Langevin.  Does she move back? She emailed me and said shes in it to win it in CD=2.
  • Treasurer Frank Caprio – A Caprio campaign spokesperson called and said that there is no chance that Caprio will be running for Congress — he is running for Governor.
  • Attorney General Patrick Lynch – A Lynch campaign spokesperson writes and says to take Lynch’s name off the list because he is “definitely running for Governor.”
  • Gina Raimondo – currently running for Treasurer, but could raise fast money for Congressional bid. She’s definitely running for Treasurer.
  • Kate Coyne-McCoy – In CD-2. She’s staying at EM.

Republicans?

and, even with the candidacy of Republican John Loughlin already announced, watch out for the entrance of conservative Republican former US Senate…

  • Former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey
Providence Mayor: Names in the Rumor Mill
  • Angel Taveras – has a great story: from Head Start to Harvard.  Ran for Congress in 2000 in his first election bid and won an impressive number of votes.  Can build the East Side / South Side coalition that Cicilline used to win in 2002.
  • Myrth York – need I say more?
  • Rep. Steve Costantino – currently House finance chair, looking at a run for Treasurer; might instead look to Congress or Mayor (if Cicilline runs).
  • Rep. David Segal – young, aggressive, progressive with a broad base of support.
  • Councilman Michael Solomon – represents large turnout Ward 5; small business owner.
  • Sen. Juan Pichardo – has mayoral ambitions.
  • Councilman John Lombardi – already has a website up and running.  Only 50k in the bank though.
  • John Kelly – ran and lost in the HD-10 special election to Scott Slater.
  • Andrew Annaldo – the current Board of Licenses chairman is rumored to be thinking about putting a significant amount of money into the race.
  • Ari Matusiak – Housing and health care advocate; ran statewide housing ballot initiative; ability to raise fast money.
  • Councilman Terry Hassett – Smith Hill councilman and current majority leader.
Note that candidates are unable to transfer (possible large amounts of) money from their state campaign account to a federal campaign account.

Click here to see the video that Congressman Kennedy sent out to his email list.

The following is Congressman Jim Langevin‘s statement:

“Patrick Kennedy is a dear friend and colleague whom I have been proud to work with for many years, since we were first elected together in 1988. From our days in the General Assembly to our years in the halls of Congress, it has been an honor to work with him on behalf of the people of Rhode Island.

“Patrick is a true public servant and passionate fighter who made a real difference for the people of our great state. As with all things, there is a beginning and an end.  I wish him well as he takes on a new beginning in his life. I will miss advocating for Rhode Island with him in the United States Congress, but I know he will continue to serve our nation as he has for two decades.”

And click here to read Mark Arsenault’s exclusive interview with Congressman Kennedy in RI Monthly explaining his decision.