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If the Citizens United Case "opened the door" to big money in politics four years ago, this week's McCutcheon decision "will open a floodgate." That's according to dissenters on the US Supreme Court. But the majority calls it a victory for the First Amendment. We hear about the latest decision on campaign finance reform. Also, Secretary of State John Kerry says "it's reality check time" for US Middle East policy, and there's a prevailing belief that colleges are a lot harder to get into than they used to be. Is that a myth or a reality? Maybe it's both.

Banner image: composite of photos by William Hartz and Milad Mosapoor

Kerry on US Middle East Policy, 'It's Reality Check Time' 7 MIN, 45 SEC

Secretary of State John Kerry said today his effort to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians may not be worth further effort. In Morocco, he told reporters he'll confer with President Obama before deciding whether to continue. Robert Danin is a veteran of the State Department and the National Security Council.  He's now Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Robert Danin, Council on Foreign Relations (@robertdanin)

Krauthammer on 'Kerry's folly'

Does Campaign Finance Reform Have a Future? 34 MIN, 18 SEC

By a vote of five to four, the US Supreme Court has taken another swipe at 40-year-old Watergate Era reforms designed to restrain the power of money in politics. An individual donor still can't give more than $2600 to a single candidate in a given election — but the total amount he or she can contribute is now unlimited. The majority says removing some limits on individual donors will strengthen democracy. The dissenters call that a threat to the very integrity of government. Political pros envision more money from mega-rich contributors as soon as this year's campaigns for Congress. Will that mean increased corruption, real or apparent? Will what's left of campaign reform survive the next challenge?

John Dunbar, Center for Public Integrity (@JohnDunbar14)
James Bopp, Bopp Law Firm
Tara Malloy, Campaign Legal Center (@CampaignLegal)
Kenneth Mayer, University of Wisconsin-Madison (@uwpolisci)

Center for Responsive Politics on McCutcheon v. FEC
McConnell v. FEC, SCOTUS on (2003)
McCutcheon v. FEC, SCOTUS on
Merit and amicus briefs in McCutheon v. FEC
Pelosi on McCutcheon v. FEC
Republican National Committee on McCutcheon v. FEC

Is College Really Harder to Get Into than It Used to Be? 8 MIN, 59 SEC

All over the country, high school graduates are grinding their teeth over where to enroll in college. But what about getting those acceptance letters in the first place? If you didn't get higher SAT score this year or boast a better GPA than you did in the past, you wouldn't get into the same college. That's a widespread perception that calls for analysis, according to Jacoba Urist. She's a writer for the Atlantic and contributor to NBC News for health, education and business.

Jacoba Urist, NBC News, Atlantic magazine (@jacobaurist)

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