From Howard Fineman at Newsweek:
I rarely attend a Supreme Court argument, but I did last fall for a “rehearing” of the campaign-spending case. [...] The most vivid image I saw was the red-faced Chief Justice John Roberts, veins popping on his neck as he vibrated with disgust at the idea that government could limit what a corporate entity could do or say in the political arena.
The 5–4 opinion issued Thursday by the Roberts Court—written by swing voter Anthony Kennedy—was even more sweeping than I had imagined and predicted.
In light of the new ruling, the Senate has already started redecorating.
It’s nothing short of revolutionary. Here’s how I add up the possible consequences:
- It adds to Republican chances of pickups in red states with small, cheap media markets.
- It turns the cottage industry of campaign consulting into a Hollywood-lucrative major media sector.
- It reduces candidates and political parties to mere appendages in their own campaigns.
- It will turn corporate boardrooms into political cockfighting pits, since that is where the key decisions will be made.
- It gives President Obama a populist issue, if he has the cojones and imagination and sense of injustice to take it on.
- It rips the veil of “conservatism” from this court, which just rendered one of the most wildly “activist” opinions in decades. It makes a mockery of the legal theory of “original intent.” The Founders would be rolling over in their graves.
The redecoration of the Senate chamber has begun!
From The Washington Post (editorial):
FOR MORE THAN a century, Congress has recognized the danger of letting corporations use their wealth to wield undue influence in political campaigns. The Supreme Court had upheld these efforts. But Thursday, making a mockery of some justices’ pretensions to judicial restraint, the Supreme Court unnecessarily and wrongly ruled 5 to 4 that the constitutional guarantee of free speech means that corporations can spend unlimited sums to help elect favored candidates or defeat those they oppose. This, as the dissenting justices wrote, “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation.”
This result was unnecessary because the court’s conservative majority — including supposed exemplars of judicial modesty — lunged to make a broad constitutional ruling when narrower grounds were available. It was wrong because nothing in the First Amendment dictates that corporations must be treated identically to people. And it was dangerous because corporate money, never lacking in the American political process, may now overwhelm both the contributions of individuals and the faith they may harbor in their democracy.
The majority found its pretext in the documentary “Hillary: The Movie,” produced by a conservative group called Citizens United and released during the 2008 primaries.
Citizens United wanted to their feature-length Hillary hatin’ movie available on cable TV as a video-on-demand. It was argued that a provision of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law prohibited that, but the Supremes didn’t just rule on that. Nope….
Instead, the court’s five-member majority went much further. It overruled a 1990 decision that upheld a state law prohibiting independent corporate expenditures in political campaigns. It overruled its own 2003 decision upholding the same provision of McCain-Feingold that it struck down Thursday — so much for respect for precedent.
But the conclusion that corporations have free-speech protections — and they do — does not mandate that they be treated identically to actual persons. Corporations and labor unions, which by implication now also will be free to spend without limit, have not been “censored” or “banned” from engaging in political speech, as the court claimed; rather, they have been required to spend through political action committees, which raise money in limited amounts from employees and members. Reasonable limits on their electoral spending recognized what is obvious to anyone who has not gone to law school: There is a difference between a corporate person and a real person.
President Obama said Thursday that he wants a “forceful response” to the ruling. That will not be easy, given its grounding in the Constitution. The decision invalidates state laws restricting corporate spending, which exist in nearly half the states. [...] [T]he damage of Thursday’s ruling, under the false flag of free speech, will not be easily repaired.
And remember, if you shop early…
So, kids, if you hate democracy, shout out a big thank-you to the following robe-wearing shitbags: Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and Samuel Alito.
UPDATE: I goofed, kids, and updated the diary. Citizens United and Citizens United Not Timid are 2 separate entities. Citizens United was the group that had the case before the Supreme Court and is headed by long-time Clinton-hater, David Bossie. Citizens United Not Timid is headed by Roger Stone, a long-time Rethug dirty trickster. Sorry for the error. It was entirely my fault.