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Voice v. Vote: The Supreme Court's Paradox of Political Participation in American Liberalism

  • Author(s): Snickars, Eric Stephen
  • Advisor(s): Wirls, Daniel
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License
Abstract

What is the relationship between the voice of political expression and the vote that expresses this voice at the ballot box? How did a political philosophy develop under U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence that put voice and vote values into conflict, ultimately favoring the corporate voice over that of the individual vote? I argue that the voice-vote dilemma is a case of the larger tension between liberty and equality in U.S. liberalism, as expressed by disagreements on the Supreme Court. Although the relationship between liberty and equality in U.S. liberalism throughout history has been multifaceted, the Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC reflects a swing towards the dominance of libertarian values over egalitarian values on the Court, a built-in bias towards a uniquely exceptional notion of liberty that overwhelms egalitarian values to such an extent that meaningful campaign finance reform has stood little chance of success.

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