We the Bureaucrats: Entrenching Liberal Power Centers

We the Bureaucrats: Entrenching Liberal Power Centers
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

When most people focus on the program of left-liberal constitutionalism, they naturally think of the expansion of unenumerated rights, from the right of abortion to same-sex marriage.  But in my view the more important part of their current project is structural—to create centers of constitutionally protected power naturally inhabited by left-liberals and thus resistant to the vagaries of electoral control.

One example is campaign finance jurisprudence. The press has obvious influence on elections with its ability for agenda setting and framing. And the press is overwhelming left-liberal. One important check on that power is the ability of outside groups to raise money and buy advertising at election time. One might naively believe that these groups had the same free speech rights as the institutional press, but the entire thrust of left-liberal campaign jurisprudence is to provide constitutional protection to legislation that gives different rights to the press and citizens.  Accordingly, this jurisprudence would protect a structure where an important left-liberal sector does not have as many competitors to its influence on an essential part of republican government–elections.

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