Norman I. Silber
This article addresses inequities in the apportionment of losses that arise when traditional rules of consumer finance are applied to enforce payment obligations that accrue during and after catastrophes. Disasters lead inevitably to job losses, property destruction, inhibited access to homes and workplaces, and problems with debt repayment. In the wake of such devastation, fees and interest charges mount, and payment defaults increase. The author argues that hardships and social distress can be mitigated, and losses more equitably allocated, by mandating the inclusion of a force majeure provision in consumer agreements
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In Citizens United, the Court appeared to shut the door on legislative efforts to curtail undue corporate political influence by holding that only quid pro quo corruption could justify campaign finance regulation that infringed on First Amendment. However, the Court’s holding only addresses the unconstitutionality of criminal sanctions for corporate political speech.
Citizens United (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This article considers a path left open by that analysis: using contract law rather than criminal law minimize corruption. Professor Teachout turns to a line of nineteenth century cases in which courts decide that public policy demands the non-enforcement of contracts whose underlying bargain is corrupt. Teachout examines four cases in which courts utilize a broad view of corruption that looked beyond the mere exchange of cash for votes.
These nineteenth century cases remind us that the judiciary can and should take an active role in resisting undue influence as a form of corruption. This article suggests that contract law and the non-enforcement of corrupt contracts may be an effective way to limit undue corporate influence on elections without running afoul of Citizens United.
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