One of the strongest elements of Colbert’s coverage of the post-Citizens United era has been the inclusion of Trevor Potter. It’s been fun seeing just how much Potter clearly enjoys his role as real lawyer to Colbert’s fake-character-having-real-impact. This piece by Potter, originally a speech, shows his deep engagement with these issues:
I do not pretend this is a simple constitutional issue, precisely because this is where two important Constitutional values meet, sometimes head on: the First Amendment, the quintessential individual right to free speech, which we know about, and the important collective right to a functioning, representational government, which we sometimes forget is the whole purpose of the Constitution. But the Supreme Court has until now recognized repeatedly that the legitimacy of government is threatened at its core when it is corrupt, or even appears to most citizens to have a serious conflict of interest.