THE BLOG

Watch: Citizens United -- The Sequel

10/11/2013 12:11 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Previously published on BillMoyers.com

As the government shutdown continues, the Supreme Court began its new term this week and justices heard arguments in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. The case has been billed as the successor to the court's Citizens United decision in 2010 that gave corporations, unions and the wealthy the opportunity to pour vast and often anonymous amounts of cash into political campaigns. The new case challenges caps on how much individual donors can give to candidates and political parties and could raise the amount to more than $3.5 million.

This week on Moyers & Company, Yale Law School election and constitutional law professor Heather Gerken shares her innovative thoughts about election and constitutional law -- and warns us that McCutcheon has the potential to be even worse than Citizens United. Political parties pay attention to the people with money, and as the non-partisan Sunlight Foundation reports, most of the funding for congressional and presidential campaigns comes from the top one percent of the one percent of the rich -- "the elite class that serves as gatekeepers of public office in the United States."

Later in the show, historian Joyce Appleby joins us. Her new book is out this weekend, in which she ranges across 400 years of history with characters from Christopher Columbus to Charles Darwin. Shores of Knowledge: New World Discoveries and the Scientific Imagination explains how the curiosity of Old Europe broke free of church dogma, creating the world we inhabit today.

Moyers & Company airs weekly on public television. Explore more at BillMoyers.com.