So this afternoon I headed downtown to hear Sanders talk at a candidate forum sponsored by the King County Bar Association. As I've said, Sanders can be a little bit of a charmer. Though he was recently endorsed by small government conservative Ron Paul, for example, candidate Sanders joked about how he was running, in part, because "I'd love to get my government job back."
The controversies over his allegedly racist comments and 2006 vote against gay marriage didn't come up, but Citizens United did. Sanders, alone among the people running for Supreme Court Position 9 this year, seemed pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the case.
“We don’t have a right to shut anybody up," he said. "We don’t have a right to shut a corporation up.”
In Sanders's view, this doesn't end up granting corporations extra influence in elections. Rich people like George Soros, Sheldon Adelson, and the Koch brothers have contributed huge sums, Sanders noted, trying to prove that because certain very wealthy people have as much money at their disposal as corporations, the playing field is basically level.
“They are not corporations, they’re individuals," Sanders said of Soros, Adelson, and the Kochs. "They have a freedom of speech under the Constitution. And if we don’t like what they say, our remedy is to say something of our own.”
Okay. Still on his best behavior, Sanders offered his take on himself and the others in his race:
“We’re running for an open seat because Justice Chambers is retiring at the end fo the year," Sanders said. "Justice Chambers has endorsed me. I’m the only one with prior appellate court experience. I also have a record on the court that I’m very proud of… I was always up to the job and I had an independent point of view and frame of mind. Thank you very much.”