Drawing on confidential interviews with thirty-one lawyers who participated in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission as counsel for parties and amici, this essay explores what the lawyers say about how the decision has affected the political process. It shows that lawyers on opposing sides of the case generally agree about the direct consequences of the decision but strongly disagree about its broader implications and what lessons the public should draw. Their competing perspectives show not only differences in how the lawyers deploy language and frames to advance their clients’ positions but also a deep divide in their worldviews, reflecting the contrasting perspectives of the polarized elites of which the lawyers are a part.


UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2018-11


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