Ex-Justice John Paul Stevens keeps doubts on Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling

President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to retired Supreme Court associate justice John Paul Stevens during a ceremony on May 29, 2012, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

(CBS/AP) LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens says he expects the court has had second thoughts about parts of its controversial Citizens United ruling that eased restrictions on corporate spending in political campaigns.

Stevens, who dissented from that 2010 decision, made the comments Wednesday evening during a speech in Little Rock.

In the case, the divided court ruled that independent spending by corporations does "not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption." Stevens says it'll be necessary for the high court to create exceptions.

In affirming its ruling, the majority wrote that "the First Amendment generally prohibits the suppression of political speech based on the speaker's identity." Justice Stevens said the court has sustained laws that did just that in other settings, reports the New York Times.

The way the law is now, Stevens said there is evidence to support President Obama's assertion that the Citizens United ruling would "open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign corporations -- to spend without limits in our elections."

Stevens said in his speech: "Both the candidates and the audience would surely have thought the value of the debate to have suffered if the moderators had allocated the time on the basis of the speakers' wealth, or if they had held an auction allowing the most time to the highest bidder. Yet that is essentially what happens during actual campaigns in which rules equalizing campaign expenditures are forbidden."

Stevens served on the Supreme Court from 1975 until his retirement in 2010. Nominated by President Gerald Ford, Stevens recently published a memoir.

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