Thursday, January 21, 2010

Democracy Sure Was Fun While It Lasted

This country is well and truly fucked.
[TPM] In a ruling that has major implications for how elections are funded, the Supreme Court has struck down a key campaign-finance restriction that bars corporations and unions from pouring money into political ads.

The long-awaited 5-4 ruling, in the Citizens United v. FEC case, presents advocates of regulation with a major challenge in limiting the flow of corporate money into campaigns, and potentially opens the door for unrestricted amounts of corporate money to flow into American politics.

From the decision:
By taking the right to speak from some and giving it to others, the Government deprives the disadvantaged person or class of the right to use speech to strive to establish worth, standing, and respect for the speaker’s voice. The Government may not by these means deprive the public of the right and privilege to determine for itself what speech and speakers are worthy of consideration. The First Amendment protects speech and speaker, and the ideas that flow from each.

As TPM points out, "At the heart of the ruling, now available here (pdf), is a judgment by the Court that the law cannot distinguish between corporations and individuals in prohibiting speech - so free speech rights that apply to the latter must also apply to the former."

(Supposed liberal) Justice Kennedy actually referred to corporations as a "disadvantaged class" and that they were being denied the rights of the individual?

Fuck that, sideways. If corporations are to be granted all the rights of the individual citizen, then in turn, corporations will now be taxed as individuals in the highest bracket now, right?


Plenty of excerpts from the majority opinion and the dissent, here.


Smitty said...

I just posted the same themed post over at my place.

I am super-duper fucking pissed about this. Another win for Wall Street. And you hit the nail on the head in one sentence that took me a whole post to get to: If corporations are to be granted all the rights of the individual citizen, then in turn, corporations will now be taxed as individuals in the highest bracket now, right?

I like the sprinkling of "fuck that sideways" as well. Because yeah. Corporations are a disadvantaged class the same as, oh, poor people, minorities, gays, etc.

We are fucked. Even if this makes Americans screaming mad, and even if Obama somehow through some miracle gets to appoint more lefty justices, it will take another court case like this to undo this. Or it will take Congress, the new beneficiary of massive infusions of corporate dollars they didn't have access to before, to pass a law restricting this again so it can be challenged. Or it will take a constitutional amendment.

In other words, this decision fucks us, the real citizens, not "corporate citizens," for along fucking time.

DED said...

Isn't it fucked up that people, unions, corporations, etc. are perfectly willing to spend tens (even hundreds) of millions to get someone elected but if all that money were put into constructive use (projects and programs) we might actually get shit done.

Bob said...


As someone who has helped politicans raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, I sometimes reflect back and think I could have done better.

As you are rasing political money, it starts to become like monopoly money. It seems fake. A hundred grand raised for a State Rep. race seems paltry and insufficent instead of being three times the average yearly income of Americans.

You make a good point.