Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sixth Circuit (sortof) upholds Constitutionality of the individual mandate (and clearly states the penalty is not a tax)

Today the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the individual mandate in the PPACA.  Below is a synopsis of the findings of the court and the likely procedural effects on all litigation regarding the individual mandate.  Contrary to the headlines, this is far from a loss for believers in the Constitution.  We just need to dig through the details.

The decision can be found here.

The determination of the Court by a 2-1 decision is as follows:

The individual mandate is not facially unconstitutional. 

This does not mean that the individual mandate is Constitutional in all instances.  It does mean that the challengers to the individual mandate lost, today.

Who came to this decision?

Federal Circuit Court cases are decided (in almost all instances) by a panel of three judges.  In this instance two Circuit Court Judges, Martin and Sutton, and a District Court Judge, Graham, sitting by designation.  Each Judge issued a separate opinion agreeing on a handful of issues and explaining their disagreements on the remainder.

Judge Boyce F. Martin, Jr. determined the individual mandate is Constitutionally permissible under the Commerce Clause

Judge Martin determines that "Virtually everyone participates in the market for health care delivery, and they finance these services by either purchasing an insurance policy or by self-insuring."  p. 17.  His argument essentially runs downhill from there.  As soon as he accepted intellectually that not buying insurance constitutes an affirmative economic action of "self insurance" it is virtually guaranteed he will determine the individual mandate to be Constitutional.

Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton determined that The individual mandate is not facially unconstitutional

In a well thought out and explained opinion Judge Sutton determined first that the Plaintiffs were only bringing a facial challenge, which bears a very high burden.  This burden requires a showing that a law is unconstitutional in all applications.  Even, for example, in a state that already has an individual mandate like (Mitt Romney's) Massachusetts.  This is a very high standard to meet.  The Plaintiffs were unable to show that the individual mandate is unconstitutional in all applications, and therefore their appeal is denied.

Judge Sutton, despite dismissing the challenge, invited future litigants back to the Court to decide this issue in more particularized cases, stating:

"While future challenges to the law have hills to climb, nothing about this view of the case precludes individuals from bringing as-applied challenges to the mandate . . . Just as courts should refrain from needlessly pre-judging the invalidity of a law’s many applications, they should refrain from doing the same with respect to their validity."  pp. 52-53.

The combination of Judge Martin's and Judge Sutton's opinions means the challengers to the individual mandate lost 2-1.  But in such instances as when a majority requires the inclusion of different reasoning, the narrowest reading constitutes the holding of the court.  In this instance Judge Sutton's narrower procedural ruling that the Plaintiffs had not met their burden of proof for a facial challenge constitutes the holding.  The Sixth Circuit has only determined that The individual mandate is not facially unconstitutional.

Judge James L. Graham determined the individual mandate is an unconstitutional regulation of inactivity

I could quote most of Judge Graham's dissenting opinion, but will simply state that I agree with it.

Instead please consider Judge Graham's admonishment that Judges should not fear using the Constitution to overturn political decisions by the legislature stating:

"We must not lose sight of the fact however that the Constitution we interpret and apply itself embodies a resolution of powerful competing political ideologies, including the extent of the power of the federal government – a resolution that the States and the people accepted in the ratification process." p. 63.

Do not overlook some major important victories where all three Judges agreed

1. The Plaintiffs have standing.
2. The case is ripe.
3. The Anti-Injunction Act does not apply.
4. The penalty for not complying with the individual mandate is not a tax.

What does this mean in the Sixth Circuit

The Plaintiffs may seek en banc review where all the judges in the Circuit may hear the case, or there will be a direct appeal to the Supreme Court.  The decision is the hands of the challengers to the individual mandate.

What does this mean for the other challenges to the individual mandate

This outcome is generally good news for the other challenges.  The diverse opinions of the three Judges begs for intervention by the Supreme Court.  The Fourth and Eleventh Circuits where other matters are awaiting a ruling can not rely on the Sixth Circuit opinion to say there is a clear outcome with which they agree.  These cases will likely result in divergent opinions necessitating a ruling from the Supreme Court.  Challengers to the individual mandate should remember that without differing opinions between the Circuit Courts we are far from guaranteed an audience in the Supreme Court.

For my previous posts regarding challenges to the individual mandate click here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The educated politico’s guide to U.S. v. Danielczyk: Or rather how to pay attention to a Constitutional campaign finance lawsuit

It has come to my attention that in my haste to write interesting articles about Federal Constitutional law, federal procedure, and the jurisdictional effect of federal rulings, that my commentary has become overly legalistic and therefore less accessible to my primary audience (other than lawyers): politicos, educated professionals, academics, and non-lawyer legal professionals. To that end, I need to provide an accessible explanation of the importance of U.S. v. Danielczyk (a case I have been covering for weeks).  The following is that explanation simplified by the extraction of excessive legal terminology, and otherwise provided without citation. Due to the lack of citation, I will more readily comment about the political ramifications of the case.

It all starts with Citizens United

For decades in the area of federal campaign finance law Americans have labored under a system that was previously nonexistent until the latter half of the 20th century. Soon, political power brokers and upstarts discovered that advantage can be gained from enacting federal campaign finance restrictions, and challenging such restrictions in court alleging violations of the Constitution.  Ultimately laws were passed banning outright federal campaign spending by corporations.  Although attempts were made to erode this ban, it was maintained for decades until 2010.

In January of 2010, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case of Citizens United.  The Citizens United ruling allowed for unlimited soft money contributions expenditures from corporations, just as individuals were allowed to make. Essentially, the Supreme Court stated that for purposes of political speech a Corporation is afforded the same rights as an individual person under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Soft money simply means money spent during the campaign that is not coordinated directly with a particular candidate. This is often referred to as issue advocacy. Hard money donations would be money given directly to a candidate for federal office or spent at the direction of a federal candidate's campaign. The theory behind the ethics of allowing unlimited soft money donations is that a soft money donation will inure to the benefit of the donor, but may not be 100% consistent with the narrative the federal candidate, supposedly benefited by the soft-money, is attempting to portray.

What has been happening since Citizens United?

Aside from the expected hemming and hawing in the news media, on the left, and very quietly by the corporate elite, the battle over federal campaign finance restrictions continues to rage in Federal Courts. Since the issuance of the opinion in Citizens United three federal appellate courts (these are the courts just beneath the Supreme Court) have ruled explicitly or implicitly that corporations are still banned from making monetary contributions to federal candidates.  It is important to note that federal appellate courts may not rule on an issue unless it is brought before the court in a case with active participants. It is surprising that in a mere year and a half three federal appellate courts have already ruled on this issue. Nonetheless, in late May 2011 a federal judge in Virginia determined that the ban on direct corporate contributions to federal candidates was unconstitutional, relying on the Citizens United decision.  There was nothing in particular about this case that would lead one to believe that a decision would result in a major controversy over Constitutional law.  This is the decision in Danielczyk issued by Judge Cacheris sitting in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

What is the Danielczyk case about?

Boiled down to a simple level some individuals have been accused of criminally violating federal campaign finance laws in arranging for the payment of money to federal candidates without the persons paying the money legally having been allowed to do so, and without disclosing who the people were who actually paid money. No trial has occurred and the defendants remain innocent until proven guilty.

The reaction to Danielczyk

There are essentially two major reactions to this decision: 1. Vocal opposition from the media and left of center/good government advocates; and 2. Silence from right of center advocates and corporate decision-makers.

1. Vocal opposition from the media, although widespread, has been focused heavily on the political consequences of the ruling rather than the legal underpinnings or consequences of the ruling. This has resulted in certain mistakes regarding the description of the ruling and its effects. Vocal opposition from outside the media has run the gamut from knee-jerk reactions from those who see little more than political consequences, to well thought out, reasoned, and potentially persuasive reactions from legal scholars.

2. Silence from right of center advocates is likely predicated on the fact that many establishment politicos do not actually want the hassle and negative publicity of soliciting contributions directly from corporations. Corporate decision makers have actually been quietly advocating to maintain the ban on corporate donations for years. Large corporations do not want the dual problem of appearing to directly buy off members of Congress thereby alienating potential customers, but more importantly their shareholders.  Large corporations also do not want members of Congress functionally extorting the corporations for campaign dollars. If the CEO of a Corporation gives money to a campaign most people may not notice, but if the corporation itself started giving money to only one political party supporters of the opposite political party may decide to boycott for political reasons.

Is there anyone out there advocating for the expansion of freedom of monetary political speech?

Yes.  A handful of generally right of center groups advocate for the position that spending political dollars is an exercise of the first amendment. There is also a major attorney, not directly affiliated with a major political party, in this particular field who appears repeatedly in these campaign finance cases.

So what were my posts all about?

I have written six posts about the Danielczyk decision.  These posts were primarily intended for readers either with a strong background in Federal Constitutional law, federal campaign finance law or federal procedure. In particular I found that the coverage in the mainstream media was missing important points about the legal aspects of the case through mistake or neglect.  Following each link is a brief description of each post:

A federal judge ruled that the ban on direct contributions from corporations to federal candidates is unconstitutional. Most of the criminal case remains intact. The court spent very little time addressing this one particular controversial issue. All of this does not really matter because corporations and politicians do not want to engage in direct corporate donations because of the appearance of corruption.

Why the real fallout of Judge Cacheris’ expansion of the Citizen’s United case will be minimal

The ruling by one judge in this particular court actually has extraordinarily little binding affect. Any Corporation who donates directly to a federal candidate, or any federal candidate who solicits donations from corporations because of the Danielczyk decision is begging to be thrown in jail.  This post is likely the most complicated, but it is also the most important post to understand. I have yet to see the mainstream media indicate they have understood what I conveyed in this post.

Judge Cacheris reconsidering critique of Citizens United?

The judge who issued the Danielczyk decision is so concerned this decision is not thorough enough he decides he wants the parties to submit additional briefs and appear for argument all on a short time frame. It appears the main reason the judge did not consider a major case is because the federal prosecutors did not mention it in their original brief.  Following the line of logic of a major first amendment case, and a related procedural case, it appears more likely than not that Judge Cacheris should declare the federal statute Constitutional.  There are ways to write an opinion that still declares the statute unconstitutional, but the opinion must be detailed and well cited to withstand scrutiny. Motions for reconsideration are rare and even rarer is the occasion when a judge decides to reconsider his own ruling without any party asking him to do so. 

Ban on corporate donations to candidates declared unconstitutional (again)

After reconsidering his previous decision the judge rules the same way. This time he provides a lengthy and detailed analysis.

Ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates upheld in Ninth Circuit

This was largely an acknowledgment of the third appellate case ruling contrary to the decision in Danielczyk.

More procedural hurdles for the appeal of Judge Cacheris’ Citizens United ruling

This post merely identified a major procedural problem facing the US government after they decided to appeal the Danielczyk case.  Essentially the government needed to stop the trial from occurring on the remaining criminal charges, or the appeal would not matter. Before anyone had a chance to concern themselves too much with this problem, Judge Cacheris delayed the trial on the remaining charges so the appeal could go forward.

Where to go for more information:

The best source for additional legal information is at the Election Law Blog, a link to the matters involving Danielczyk can be found here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

DoJ preclears Virginia House and Senate redistricting plans

Despite unabashed gerrymandering, the Department of Justice has precleared the Virginia House and Senate redistricting plans.

Details here.

The preclearance process is specifically designed to prevent suppression of minority voting power, and not to check other state or federal Constitutional violations.  Having passed this hurdle the only realistic change to House or Senate districts would have to come form a lawsuit.  No one appears to have filed a lawsuit since the passage of these plans, and it is unlikely given the passage of time, that someone with the money and desire would have sat on the sidelines this entire time.

I will take a brief moment to compliment the Department of Justice for preclearing both plans instead of  preclearing the Senate plan while denying preclearance to the House plan.

We may go an entire redistricting cycle without a Virginia redistricting lawsuit with a reasonable chance of success.  Then again Congressional redistricting is yet to be concluded . . . 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More procedural hurdles for the appeal of Judge Cacheris’ Citizens United ruling

UPDATE: It did not take long.  At a status conference today Judge Cacheris decided to stay the July trial pending the outcome of the appeal.  Coverage can be found here.  The Order can be found here.  Now we probably wait 5-12 months unless the appeal is expedited.

UPDATE 2: In response to a request made in the comments I have published a politico's guide to Danielczyk.  

On June 7, 2011, Judge Cacheris upheld his ruling that pursuant to the holding in Citizens United v. FEC, 130 U.S. 876 (2010), the Defendants in U.S. v. Danielczyk, Case No. 1:11cr85 can not be held criminally liable for alleged violations of Federal campaign finance laws banning direct contributions to candidates from corporations.  Today the U.S. Government appealed that ruling, constituting what I believe is a procedural mistake. 

I addressed the severe limitations of Judge Cacheris’ ruling, and for those reasons, those seeking to uphold the Constitutionality of the criminal ban on corporate donations to federal candidates were better off not risking expanding the jurisdiction of Judge Cacheris’ ruling as I described here:

Nonetheless, now that the Department of Justice has decided to appeal the case, it is important to understand the pitfalls and limitations of this appeal.  To do this I must provide a civil litigator’s take on the interlocutory appeals process by the Department of Justice:

The next procedural hurdle

The Federal government needs to figure out how to stay the remainder of the case, or risk having the appeal dismissed.  A Federal criminal case is started by the issuance of an indictment by a grand jury (the indictment is similar to a civil complaint).  The indictment will contain various counts stating specific criminal violations, usually of federal statutes (similar to civil statutory or common law causes of action).  During the course of the cause of action the defendants can file motions to have portions of the case dismissed (in this instance) due to the unconstitutionality of a statute.  In Danielczyk the Defendants filed such a motion and only one of six challenged counts was dismissed.  This is similar to a civil case in which one cause of action out of six is dismissed.  In a civil case, normally one would not have the right to interlocutory appeal (appeal before the conclusion of the case).

Federal prosecutors are restricted in their appeal rights by a body of case law disfavoring appeals by prosecutors under the common law.  Instead, federal prosecutor’s rights to appeal are limited to those granted by statute.  In this instance those rights are granted by 18 U.S.C. § 3731.  Oddly, (unlike in a civil case) the statute does allow for an interlocutory appeal by the government of the portion of the indictment that was dismissed if a count of the indictment is dismissed prior to trial.

But what is going on with the rest of the case? 

Part of my original post on the Danielczyk decision was to point out that Judge Cacheris issued a 52 page opinion strongly upholding the legitimacy of many Federal campaign finance criminal laws in 47 of the 52 pages in the decision.  The remaining counts are set to go to trial July 6, 2011.  If a trial occurs, all of the facts proving or disproving the count being appealed will be presented at that trial.  If there is a conviction at that trial, the issue of the previously dismissed count may become irrelevant and the appeal dismissed, because it is a lesser included offense.  If there is no conviction, the appeal may be dismissed because granting the relief the government seeks would functionally subject the Defendants to double jeopardy.  In short: if the case goes to trial on the remaining counts the appeal likely becomes moot and will be dismissed on procedural grounds without Judge Cacheris’ Citizens United ruling being overturned.

But doesn’t the filing of the interlocutory appeal stop the trial from going forward until the appeal is concluded?

No.  The trial will go on unless one of the parties asks for a stay of the trial pending the outcome of the appeal.  The defendants generally do not benefit from such a stay.  Two Fourth Circuit cases indicate the proper procedure is a motion for a stay filed in either the District Court or the Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. v. Fernandez, 887 f.2d 465, 467 (4th Cir. 1989); and U.S. v. Haines, 42 Fed. Appx. 554, 556 (4th Cir. 2002) (unpublished).  In both cases a stay was sought in the District Court, denied, and then sought in the Circuit Court and granted.  No discussion of the standard of review for granting a stay was discussed.  Based on the denials at the District Court level, one could presume a discretionary standard in both District and Circuit Courts applies, similar to the standard a civil litigator finds when seeking to stay enforcement of a judgment pending appeal in both the District and Circuit Courts.

The important thing to take away from this is: A motion for a stay is forthcoming very soon.  For those hoping for actual adjudication on the merits of an appeal of Judge Cacheris’ Citizens United ruling you better hope Judge Cacheris, or the Fourth Circuit grant a stay of the July 6 trial.

What about settlement?
Just a reminder.  If a plea bargain is reached the appeal will be moot and Judge Cacheris’ ruling will stand.  Do not be surprised if this is how this chapter ends.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Chris Plante Show: speaking on access to Sarah Palin’s emails

On Friday June 10, 2011 I called in and spoke about the role of FOIA, the main stream media , and access to alternative news sources on the Chris Plante show on WMAL 630.  The program can be heard here, and the portion I was on is during the 14-20 minute marks.  (If WMAL takes it down due to the passage of time email me for the podcast).

Chris Plante was seeking comments about the Washington Post’s/New York Times’ planned release of Sarah Palin’s emails.  He expressed he felt this was an abdication of the medias’ responsibility, and that we would not see similar releases for Democrats.

I expressed that I thought it was unfortunate that this starts with Sarah Palin, a target of the main stream media, but ultimately it is beneficial to have widespread access to this kind of information.  From a media perspective, I want the main stream media to abdicate their responsibility to sort through information, and post it all online.  That way when there are actual news reports, the public can access the original source documents, and not simply rely on the information provided by the media.

But there is another reason mass publication of original source documents is important:

Money and the legal system

The federal government and nearly every state has passed freedom of information laws [FOIA laws].  Unfortunately there are two major problems with these laws from a citizen perspective:

1. You have to pay for copies of the documents produced, and often have to pay for “research” time.  These costs are intended to help defray the expense of FOIA laws, and discourage frivolous requests.  Unfortunately, it is often the case that a citizen seeking information may only want a small target of information, but without access to the remaining information can not actually identify the small target.  The result, a large untargeted request, is cost prohibitive.

2. More importantly, whenever there is a probability of significant public scrutiny, or the request involves a controversial topic or person, or someone in the government is simply paranoid, the government entity will refuse to turn over documents often hiding behind numerous exceptions in the particular FOIA law.  The way to break through the wall of silence is usually through a courtroom.  Even if the particular FOIA law is designed for ease of use by a pro se (unrepresented) litigant, there are still legal pitfalls and the courtroom is scary and confusing for most people not regularly in the courtroom.

The end result is that actual access to substantial amounts of public records, only accessible through FOIA laws, can only be reasonably accessed by a sophisticated party with serious financial and legal resources, such as a main stream media news organization.

In short, if the Washington Post wants to do an original source document dump of FOIA’s records we should encourage them to do so, most of us can not afford to obtain the information directly, and at least this way we can see the original sources and actually come to our own conclusions about the news.

And by the way, did everyone hear the fascinating news coming out of the Sarah Palin document dump on Friday: There is not much to report . . .

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates upheld in Ninth Circuit

A mere two days after Judge Cacheris’s application of Citizens United lifting in one case the ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the ban.  

Professor Hasen, author and editor at the Election Law Blog, has this take on the outcome.  Congratulations to Professor Hasen, counsel for one of the parties in the matter.

Professor Hasen is clamoring for the prosecutors in U.S. v. Danielczyk to appeal.  In my opinion an appeal just is not that important, and may be precluded by a plea agreement anyway.  Besides, didn’t the prosecutors not mention important case law in their brief causing Judge Cacheris to order additional briefing and an oral hearing?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Virginia ACLU suggests two majority-minority Congressional districts: Democratic Senators scramble to validate their own substandard plan


Word reached the mainstream media today that the Virginia ACLU is shopping around an alternative Virginia Congressional redistricting proposal that contains two majority-minority districts.  The reason why this matters is that there is case law that suggests that if there can be even one more majority-minority district, then the redistricting plan with fewer majority minority districts is prima facie (presumed) discriminatory.  It is not clear to me if the alternate plan actually has to be proposed as legislation, or if any person can suggest the alternative plan to raise the spectre of litigation.

What was the status before this plan?

Virginia has a heavily gerrymandered House plan supposedly supported by the existing Congressional delegation.  Virginia also has a heavily gerrymandered Senate plan that creates a minority influence district out of the current minority-majority district, and then turns another district into a majority-minority district.  Both are expected to fail, and then a compromise to be worked out.  Since Governor McDonnell flexed his Veto pen on state level redistricting, and the existence of the alleged support of the existing Congressional delegation, it is safe to say the Republican House plan has a greater chance of success.

But legislators would be begging for a lawsuit if they do not support the ACLU plan, right?

According to Sen. Don McEachin, no.  As reported by the Washington Post: “the Department of Justice looks to the percentage of residents in districts who are older than 18 and are non-Hispanic black when examining the number of black residents in each district.”  Based on that analysis both majority-minority districts become minority influence districts. 
Mind you, the Department of Justice is not a substitute for a Federal Judge if the plan is challenged in Court (the DoJ can be a substitute for a Federal Judge in the preclearance process, only).

So is the ACLU’s plan DOA?

Not exactly.  The Department of Justice, under Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. 461 (2003) and Beer v. United States, 425 U.S. 130 (1976) should be looking at the totality of opportunity for minority candidates.  This totality of opportunity should take into consideration minority population, minority voting age population, as well as minority voter registration among other items as legitimate factors in determining if a plan should be precleared.  

Additionally, I just do not understand how Sen. McEachin, could think the ACLU plan is any worse than the Senate plan.  

So how does the ACLU plan look?

Do not worry, it really is another gerrymandered atrocity.   I would say let it be submitted  to committee and debated, but there really has not been much actual debate on any Virginia redistricting plan so far.  Virginians should be used to this by now.  I am just waiting for the report from somewhere in Virginia for any of these plans that a precinct split resulted in residents of an apartment building being redistricted into different districts.

UPDATE: As of June 9, 2011, the Senate has passed a modified version of its previous plan.  The districts are far more compact and arguably more compact than the House plan.  It is far from perfection, and the majority-minority district barely tops over 50% Black Voting Age Population, making it harder to gain preclearance.  Nonetheless, it has only taken two and a half months, but the Senate Democrats are figuring out how to gain more support by making their plans more reasonable.  The publicly available information on this plan can currently only be found on the Division of Legislative Services redistricting website.

For other redistricting posts, primary sources, and other information regarding the Virginia Redistricting process in 2011 please see The Road to Redistricting Litigation in Virginia.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ban on corporate donations to candidates declared unconstitutional (again)

June 7, 2011 ~3:40 PM

After reconsideration, Judge Cacheris has upheld his ruling that pursuant to the holding in Citizens United v. FEC, 130 U.S. 876 (2010), the Defendants in U.S. v. Danielczyk, Case No. 1:11cr85 can not be held criminally liable for alleged violations of Federal campaign finance laws banning direct contributions to candidates from corporations.

The 15 page opinion can be found here.

Primary holding on this issue: A law that bans a corporation from giving contributions directly to a federal political candidate, when natural person can still give money is unconstitutional under the First Amendment.  In short, for campaign finance purposes corporations and people must be treated the same.

The ruling

In finding 2 U.S.C. § 441b unconstitutional Judge Cacheris stated as follows:

" . . .following Citizens United, individuals and corporations must have equal rights to engage in both independent expenditures and direct contributions. They must have the same rights to both the “apple” and the “orange.”

And later:

"Even if applied to all corporations, this Court’s holding hardly gives corporations a blank check (so to speak) to directly contribute unlimited amounts of money to Federal campaigns. Rather, corporations would be immediately subject to the same contribution limits as individuals, under 2 U.S.C. §441a(a), which sets limits on contributions from a “person,” and2 U.S.C. § 431(11), which defines the term “person” as it isused [sic] in FECA as “includ[ing] an individual, partnership, committee, association, corporation, labor organization, or any other organization or group of persons.”

But what about concerns about other binding precedent?

Judge Cacheris reconsidered his motion in light of two opinions not previously addressed in briefing: FEC v. Beaumont, 539 U.S. 146 (2003), and Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203 (1997).  On these subjects Judge Cacheris stated as follows:

"First, Beaumont relies significantly on Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, 494 U.S. 652 (1990), which the Supreme Court explicitly overruled in Citizens United, 130 S.Ct. at 913. Second, Beaumont cites Congress’s concern for preventing corruption and its appearance, 539 U.S. at 154-55, a worry again foreclosed here by Citizens United’s ruling that corporations have equal political speech rights to individuals, who can directly contribute within FECA’s limits without risking corruption or its appearance. Third, though Beaumont notes that the ban protects individuals who have paid money into a corporation from having that money used to support candidates they may oppose, id. at 154, Citizens United dismisses this problem too, stating that shareholders can address it “through the procedures of corporate democracy,” 130 S. Ct. at 911."

Caveat to the ruling:

Judge Cacheris makes a point to note that the statute is declared unconstitutional as applied in this case.  This is not a blanket declaration of unconstitutionality.

For the fallout of this ruling my previous posts provide background on both the practical and legal implications of the ruling

Additional resource:
Professor Richard Hasen has been covering this as well and will likely have timely and probing insight into the decision at the Election Law Blog.