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."
Tag Archives | Supreme Court
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:
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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.
From The Smirking Chimp:
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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.
Arthur Delaney writes on Huffington Post:
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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.
Aaron 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
Frequent disinformation commenter 5by5 wrote to us with thoughts on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding campaign financing:
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Just when you thought they couldn’t do anything stupider…..
I never thought I’d say this, but man, Roger Ebert of all people, NAILED this one with a single sentence:
“Supreme Court relaxes limits on Satan’s campaign donations.”
Why would Candidate X listen to the people in his district when they can only give $200 each (if that), but the corporation who’s major shareholder is a Saudi billionaire can give the candidate $2,000,000 in order to say…..”encourage” him to remove women’s rights? Or abolish the minimum wage? Or limit religious speech? Or end child labor laws? Or allow toxic waste dumping in the district?
Those corporatist hacks Alito, Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, and the ever incurious Thomas (who has yet to even bother to ask a single question — EVER) basically ruled that money equals speech.
Breaking news from Reuters:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday granted an appeal by prosecutors and set aside a ruling that invalidated the death sentence of black political activist Mumia Abu-Jamal for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer.
His case has become a prominent cause for many death penalty opponents.
In a brief order, the Supreme Court sent the case back to a U.S. appeals court based in Philadelphia for further consideration in view of the high court’s recent decision in an Ohio case that had raised similar issues.
The Supreme Court in the Ohio case unanimously reinstated the death sentence of a neo-Nazi convicted of murdering three men. The court’s action, which was not a ruling on the merits of the case, could lead to Abu-Jamal’s death sentence being reinstated, too.
The appeals court had ruled that Abu-Jamal, 55, deserved a new sentencing hearing because of flawed jury instructions…
[more at Reuters]