A panel of legal experts, including the lawyers who argued the Citizens United case in front of the Supreme Court, asks if the very nature of democracy is for sale. They discuss the impact of money in politics and the pros and cons of campaign finance regulation. The panelists are Theodore Olson, Seth Waxman, Cleta Mitchell, and Lawrence Lessig, with moderator Jane Mayer.
Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, the director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, and the founder of Rootstrikers, a network of activists fighting corruption in politics. His books include "Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Our Congress—and a Plan to Stop It" and "One Way Forward: The Outsider’s Guide to Fixing the Republic."
Jane Mayer has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1995. Her honors include the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism and a George Polk Award. Her most recent book is "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals."
Cleta Mitchell is a partner with Foley & Lardner L.L.P. in Washington, D.C. She has represented the National Rifle Association and the national Republican Senate and House campaign committees, and has testified before Congress on election law, campaign finance, and lobbying. She was named one of Washington’s 25 Most Influential Women by the National Journal and is included in "Best Lawyers in America."
Theodore B. Olson
Theodore Olson is a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Washington, D.C., office. He served as the Solicitor General of the United States from 2001 to 2004 and as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the Reagan Administration. He has argued fifty-eight cases before the Supreme Court, including Bush v. Gore and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
Seth Waxman was Solicitor General of the United States from 1997 to 2001 and currently chairs the Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice Group at Wilmer Hale. He has argued more than sixty cases before the Supreme Court, including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Boumediene v. Bush, and Roper v. Simmons.
Lawrence Lessig argues that America's current system of unlimited political campaign contributions is corrupt. Campaign financing is concentrated among too few people, which makes politicians overly dependent on these donors and undermines the very nature of democracy.