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The Supreme Court's momentous decision to overturn a law limiting corporate and union spending in politics drew swift reaction. Many on the left mourned, while conservatives praised the ruling as a defense of free speech. Most believe the ruling will benefit Republicans. How will we see the ruling play impact elections in 2010 and 2012? Here are the experts on the ruling's immediate and long-term effects.

  • 3-5 Word Sum-Ups "Information overload awaits,' announces The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny. The court's decision is this, says Forbes's Daniel Fisher: "Money talks. And that's OK."
  • 'Most Significant Political Event ... Since the 2008 Election'  At Politics Daily, Walter Shapiro argues the decision is too big to be viewed "through a narrow partisan prism" of good-for-Republicans, bad-for-Democrats: "the Supreme Court has raised the potential of the ultimate wink-and-nod political quid pro quo--federal economic assistance in exchange for overt corporate political support." In 2012, General Motors could theoretically run ads thanking Obama for "saving jobs ... and end with the tag line, 'Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, Chevrolet and Obama.'" Shapiro says, though, that "about the only thing that is certain in the wake of Thursday's crockery-rattling Supreme Court decision  is ... an even heavier dose of ... negative 30-second campaign spots with voice-of-doom narrators."
  • 'Impact Will Be Felt Immediately,' declares AP analysis. "There'll be a lot more special-interest money in political campaigns. And maybe even confusion for voters trying to sort out who is behind the increasing clamor of TV messages." Which party will benefit more? "Too early to say," although the AP writers point out that "the decision also opens the door for more [campaign finance law] challenges."
  • Supreme Court an Election Issue in More Ways than One  Not only will the decision change finance, says Michael Waldman, executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU, but "the Supreme Court and its role may well become a contested issue" on its own--"this time it will be progressives demanding an end to judicial activism."
  • Labor Unions vs. Corporations "The most important question," thinks Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog, "is: are labor unions as free as corporations to spend as much as they wish ... to influence elections ... ? The likely answer is: Probably, but check back later." Alex Koppelman pointed out yesterday that union spending on Democrats could counteract the likely corporate spending on Republican candidates.

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