Tag Archives | Supreme Court

Justice for Sale: What Can ‘The People’ Bid to Have Democracy in America?

Justice For SaleBill Moyers and Michael Winship writes on Huffington Post:

That famous definition of a cynic as someone who knows the price of everything — and the value of nothing — has come to define this present moment of American politics.

No wonder people have lost faith in politicians, parties and in our leadership. The power of money drives cynicism deep into the heart of every level of government. Everything, and everyone, comes with a price tag attached: from a seat at the table in the White House to a seat in Congress, to the fate of health care reform, our environment, and efforts to restrain Wall Street’s greed and prevent another financial catastrophe.

Our government is not broken; it’s been bought out from under us, and on the right and the left and smack across the vast middle, more and more Americans doubt representative democracy can survive the corruption of money.

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Corporation Says It Will Run for Congress

CATHERINE RAMPELL writes on the NY Times' Economix:
Following the Supreme Court decision implicitly granting corporations the right to free speech (by determining that political spending is a kind of speech), a corporation has decided to take what it believes to be “democracy’s next step”: It is running for Congress. With more than a twinge of irony, Murray Hill Incorporated, a liberal public relations firm, recently announced that it planned to run in the Republican primary in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. Here is the company’s first “campaign” ad:
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Obama May Be Able To Wrest Control Of Activist Supreme Court With New Appointments

Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_CourtThe Supreme Court was widely condemned for “ending democracy with a single decision” and President Obama publicly stated his grievance at the activist judges in his State of the Union address, much to the annoyance of Justice Alito. Now it is believed the president may have a chance to nominate not one, but two new Justices. Watch for fireworks in the nomination hearings, should they come. This report from ABC News:

Lawyers for President Obama have been working behind the scenes to prepare for the possibility of one, and maybe two Supreme Court vacancies this spring.

Court watchers believe two of the more liberal members of the court, justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, could decide to step aside for reasons of age and health. That would give the president his second and third chance to shape his legacy on the Supreme Court.

Last week, when Obama took the nearly unprecedented step of criticizing the court’s opinion in a major campaign finance case during his State of the Union speech, some believed he was showcasing for the American people that presidential elections, and Supreme Court nominations count.

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Supreme Court Justice Alito Mouths ‘Not True’ To President Obama

This political media are all over this story. Here's the Huffington Post's take on it:
With the Supreme Court Justices sitting right in front of him, President Barack Obama unloaded in his State of the Union address on this past week's ruling qualifying corporations as having the rights of citizens and opening the "floodgates" to their political donations. "Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections," Obama said. "Well I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that's why I'm urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong." There was some strong applause from members of Congress -- with both sides of the chamber rising to their feet with applause. The Justices -- all there except Scalia and Thomas -- sat in silence (as is their custom), but at the beginning of the exchange, Justice Alito [on the far left] can be seen shaking his head and mouthing words that seem to resemble "not true."
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Douglas Rushkoff On Corporations As Uber-Citizens

Long-time friend of disinformation Doug Rushkoff always has great insight on cultural matters. This considered essay following the Supreme Court’s controversial decision last week permitting corporations to finance political parties is one of the best I’ve read so far:

Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling was positive in one respect: it made law out of what was already happening. While corporations earned “personhood” back in the 1860’s when a court clerk (likely bribed) added this language into the margins of another court decision, they never quite had the rights of citizenship before. They already write our laws (through lobbies) elect our leaders (with money) and create public opinion (with money and PR). If you’re interested in how and why that happened, please read my book Life Inc. But they have always tended to do so by working around government’s efforts to limit their influence.

It was a losing game for a government by the people, of course, because almost no one gets into office without the kind of corporate assistance they need to pay back if they want to get into office again.

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Free Speech Lives, But It Will Cost You

From The Smirking Chimp:

Count this as another savage blow for those cherished corporate interests:

In a stunning reversal of the nation’s federal campaign finance laws, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Thursday that as an exercise of free speech, corporations, labor unions and other groups can directly spend on political campaigns.

The justices also struck down part of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that barred union- and corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election campaigns.

“The notion that the First Amendment dictated [today’s ruling] is, in my judgment, profoundly misguided,” dissenting Judge John Paul Stevens wrote for the others.

“In the context of election to public office, the distinction between corporate and human speakers is significant. Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are not actually members of it,” he added. (Via FOXnews.com)

I frequently hear arguments from all sides citing the ‘restrictions’ on free speech.

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Keith Olbermann: Supreme Court Ruling Makes Every Politician ‘A Prostitute’

This may be the one time I can say I don't think Olbermann is guilty of bombast. He recently abandoned the long, special comment format on his show and instead makes two nightly "quick comments" (because I think even his core audience was getting tired of the long-winded tirades) but if there's a reason to get worked up, it's this. I know disinfo.com visitors have plenty to say and I'm curious to hear your thoughts on KO's special comment "U.S. Government for Sale":
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2009 Was Record Year for Lobbyists

This is why we need more action from the Obama administration on this. The recent disastrous Supreme Court decision on campaign financing will make 2009 seem like child’s play to these people.

Arthur Delaney writes on Huffington Post:

The lobbying industry demonstrated its resilience last year in the face of the recession and is fully expected to smash previous spending records. On Wednesday, lobbyists filed their fourth-quarter reports, offering the first glimpse at their spending totals for the year.

Here’s what HuffPost has found so far by looking at some of the biggest companies in the banking, health care and energy industries: The heavy hitters indeed hit harder than ever in 2009.

To wit: The Chamber of Commerce, lobbying muscle for all manner of businesses on all manner of issues, spent an eye-popping $71 million on lobbying in the fourth quarter of 2009 alone, bringing its yearly total to $123 million, almost double the $62 million it spent in 2008 — and more than it’s ever spent.

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The Problem Of Politics

800px-American_Corporate_Flag.svgAaron Cynic at Diatribe Media:

Yesterday, the Supreme Court handed electoral politics over to corporations, who will undoubtedly spit in the court’s face and sue it for not giving them their right to blatantly buy elections sooner. In a 5-4 decision handed down by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and backed by five Republican presidential appointees, the court ruled that corporations and unions can spend their own treasury funds on broadcast ads or billboards in favor of a particular political candidate or urging the defeat of another. Speaking for the court, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy invoked the idea of corporate personhood, stating “The First Amendment does not permit Congress to make these categorical distinctions based on the corporate identity of the speaker and the content of the political speech.

Plenty of people have already (thankfully) raised their eyebrows and fists over this and hopefully, that hand wringing will translate into some sort of more meaningful change.… Read the rest

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