At 10AM on September 9th, the Supreme Court will sit for a special rehearing of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (08-205).
The case will be the first heard by Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor––and it should be one that she feels very comfortable with. Back in May, the New York Times noted that Sotomayor, who was appointed by New York City Mayor Ed Koch in 1988 to be one of the first members of that city’s Campaign Finance Board, has long been interested in issues of campaign finance. Although the finance regulations that govern New York City politics vary considerably from federal rules, Sotomayor’s experiences on the Board will surely make her a valuable resource to the Court as it considers whether FEC regulations apply to the film Hillary: The Movie.
Unlike Souter, who was relatively inactive towards the beginning of his tenure, Sotomayor is expected to be a vocal presence on the high Court from the very beginning. Perhaps she will even author the opinion (or, more likely, the dissent) in Citizens United.
An aside: I can’t help but notice that Sonia Sotomayor is the only Justice to have been personally and professionally involved with a campaign finance commission. Perhaps the time she spent serving as “a wise Latina woman” on a Board that was in part tasked with encouraging minority participation in local politics was just the sort of experience she was referring to back in 2001…
Arguments in this case should be interesting. How often do we see three all-star advocates battling it out over an issue of enormous consequence in front of a new Justice during a special hearing?
Reply briefs are due this coming Wednesday.