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Research Report

Democracy & Justice: Collected Writings, Vol. IV

Published: February 28, 2011

This volume is a sample of the Brennan Center’s work on all fronts in the fight for democracy and justice in 2010. Material is drawn from Brennan Center reports, policy proposals, and issue briefs, in addition to public remarks, legal briefs, Congressional testimony, and op-ed pieces delivered at Brennan Center events or written by Brennan Center staff.


By Michael Waldman

This January marked the one-year anniversary of Citizens United—the Supreme Court ruling that upended decades of law. We have only begun to see its impact on our politics. Plainly, it will worsen a political and governmental system that already is far too dysfunctional, far too divided, and far too paralyzed by special interests. This broken government helped cause the economic crisis, and now makes it far harder to meet the country’s long-term challenges of recovery and renewal.

But our democracy has never faced a challenge that could not be met by more democracy. We believe more passionately than ever that if we want to solve the problems facing ordinary Americans, we must fix our systems.

This volume is a sample of the Brennan Center’s work on all fronts in the fight for democracy and justice in 2010. We stepped forward to lead the legal defense in the wake of Citizens United, as an armada of lawsuits sought to destroy the rest of campaign fi nance law. We enlisted the nation’s top constitutional experts in a movement to develop and advance a new voter-centric legal doctrine. Our advocacy led seven states to implement parts of our Voter Registration Modernization plan, resulting in hundreds of thousands of new voter registrations with lower costs and reduced risk of fraud. And with Congress paralyzed, we focused on the Obama administration and state courts to press for improved access to justice, especially for racial and language minorities.

We are proud of our work and proud of how we do it. We write reports, draft legislation, litigate cases before the Supreme Court, provide Congressional testimony, publish op-eds, convene top thinkers, and build bipartisan coalitions. We are independent, nonpartisan, and fact-based.

We continue the fight in 2011. We will defend strong campaign laws, including the case before the high court considering the constitutionality of a public financing system for the first time in 35 years. Our experts will continue to develop innovative policy reforms to make government work better and more transparently. We will fiercely fight efforts to curb voting rights and access to justice. And we will engage in the broader public debate over the courts, the Constitution, and the role of government.

This time of contention can be a clarifying moment in the long drive toward a “more perfect union.”

Democracy & Justice: Collected Writings, Vol. IV