The Process is Political: Like All These New Campaign Ads? Thank Justice Alito

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Our daily look at the details that can change everything.

Why Alito Matters: "We got here because Justice O'Connor retired." That's how one Republican campaign fiance reform advocate sums up the rapid and dramatic realignment of American campaign finance law in less than a decade. Starting with a decisive vote in 2007 that opened a loophole in the McCain-Feingold bill, followed by Citizens United, and the decision this year striking down Arizona's public campaign financing system, Justice Samuel Alito is the guy to thank for transforming the campaign finance conversation from banning "soft money" to corporations as individuals, says a HuffPo analysis.

It's also changing the forum for campaign finance advocates -- from legislatures and the courts to direct appeals to shift public opinion. "Increasingly we're seeing issue-based organizations bringing in money-in-politics research into their fight on their day-to-day issues," says one advocate, citing the intense focus on activism financiers like the Koch brothers. (Huffington Post)

Redistricting Heads to Court: Activists are threatening to sue in Los Angeles after the county Board of Supervisors decided on Tuesday not to create a second majority-Hispanic district to account for their population growth. In New Mexico, the Democratic legislature and Republican governor haven't been able to agree on maps, and there's no clear answer on which court should resolve the impasse. The Supreme Court might have to step in to clarify which judge should hear the various court challenges that have been filed in separate courts, and there's not much time. Candidates have to file by February to run in the newly drawn Congressional seats. (Associated Press) 

With Perry in Field and Christie in Spotlight, Romney Warns of Slower Fundraising: The end of this fundraising quarter is on Friday. It will be the first look at how Rick Perry's money prowess after he officially entered the race in August, and Romney aides are already warning that his pace has slowed considerably this quarter. The campaign says it's still meeting its goals.

Perry's campaign is also trying to manage expectations, comparing the campaign's six-week effort compared to Romney's operation that's stretched over "almost six years." Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie continues his I'm-not-running-(probably)-but-give-the-NJ-GOP-money tour this week with stops still to come in California and Louisiana. (Boston Globe)