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MSNBC Guest Thinks Catholic Judges Could Take Cues from Pope on Campaign Finance

• March 13, 2015 1:23 pm

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Bloomberg reporter Jeanne Cummings suggested Friday on MSNBC that Pope Francis' endorsement of public campaign financing could sway Catholics on the Supreme Court who "opened the floodgates" by voting for the Citizens United decision.

"The campaign finance activists in the United States who have taken such a drubbing were like, ‘Yay, we've got a champion again,' and it's the Pope," she said on Andrea Mitchell Reports. "This comes after the five Catholics on the Court were the ones who created the majority opinion in Citizens United that opened the floodgates here. So, maybe a new chapter in the debate over whether big money hurts or helps politics."

Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy, all Roman Catholics, voted with the majority in the 5-4 decision striking down campaign spending limits by unions and corporations in 2010. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who voted in the minority, is also Catholic.

Cummings' idea that Catholic judges would automatically take their cues from the Pope is a curious one. If that were the case, more reporters would need to call out liberal-leaning Catholic judges and politicians for supporting abortion rights, given the Church's staunchly pro-life stance.

Then again, it's not the first time someone on MSNBC has made strange speculations about Catholics.

Full exchange:

ANDREA MITCHELL: Just briefly, Jeanne, you wrote about Pope Francis weighing in to campaign finance, talking about public financing recently and this message, you can take it as you will, the Supreme Court justices who voted for Citizens United, this is what he said. Pope Francis commenting on money in elections. ‘Perhaps public financing would allow for me, the citizen, to know that I'm financing each candidate with a given amount of money. Everything needs to be transparent and clean.'

JEANNE CUMMINGS: Absolutely. The campaign finance activists in the United States who have taken such a drubbing were like, ‘Yay, we've got a champion again,' and it's the Pope. This comes after the five Catholics on the court were the ones who created the majority opinion in Citizens United that opened the floodgates here. So, maybe a new chapter in the debate over whether big money hurts or helps politics.

Published under: Campaign Finance, MSNBC, Supreme Court