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McCain skeptical Supreme Court decision can be countered

By John Amick

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), co-crafter of landmark campaign finance legislation in his career, said he thought not much could be done to counter the Supreme Court's decision Thursday to lift long-held restrictions on corporate donations to political candidates.

"I think that there's going to be, over time, a backlash," McCain said. "Because, when you see the amounts of union and corporate money that's going to go into political campaigns -- but, in the short term, the Supreme Court has spoken. I respect their decision."

McCain said he expected the reversal to happen, and thinks the lack of political experience on the court affected some justices.

"I was not surprised at the Supreme Court decision," he said. "I went over to observe the oral arguments. It was clear that Justice Roberts, Alito and Scalia, by their very skeptical and even sarcastic comments, were very much opposed to BCRA (Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act)."

He added that justices of the past that supported financing limits, despite their usual conservative positions, had experience in politics and knew the ramifications of their decision.

"I would point out that both Justice Rehnquist and Justice O'Connor, who had taken a different position on this issue, both had significant political experience," McCain pointed out. "Justices Roberts, Alito and Scalia have none. But it is what it is."

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  January 24, 2010; 1:02 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Attn: mitchbsandlin and others who ignore the crux of the argument - corporations are not persons and money is not speech. Republicans are continuously accusing liberals of pushing the bounds of freedom and I for one plead guilty, but there are limits. Incarnating corporations and giving a literal significance to a metaphor, money is speech, are counter productive.

Posted by: marrobcastle | January 26, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

AMEND THE CONSTITUTION

In addition to taking straightawary remedial legislative action to stop the bleeding Congress ought to immediately start the process by which our Constitution will be amended to prohibit corporations from engaging in politics PERIOD

The authority to amend the Constitution of the United States is derived from Article V of the Constitution. The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. A proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three-fourths of the States (38 of 50 States).

Posted by: marrobcastle | January 26, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

People quit jumping on the corproation aspect of this decision. Read the whole thing. The federal lawyers said in the first argument that if the movie about Hillary had been a book then they could ban it as well.

In the 2nd argument they changed book to pamplet but could not say when the pamplet might be a book or vice versa. Book banning is never right!

This ruling went a long way to restabish our freedom of speech that was taken by McCain-Feingold.

This ruling will make election contributions more transparent. The McCain-Feingold bill was nothing but a vessel to help the incumbent stay in office. This ruling will level the laying field.

Goggle Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission and read the whole thing.

The Democrats and the media are focusing only on the corporate part of the ruling. There is much more involved.

Citzens United was threatened with federal prosecution if the showed tgh fil on Hillary, if they put it on a CD and tried to sell it or if they even showecd it free to people who wanted to see it. Meanwhile because of some BS language in McCain Feingold Michael Moore could show his crap all day long.

There was no balance; now there is.

Posted by: mitchbsandlin | January 25, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

People quit jumping on the corproation aspect of this decision. Read the whole thing. The federal lawyers said in the first argument that if the movie about Hillary had been a book then they could ban it as well.

In the 2nd argument they changed book to pamplet but could not say when the pamplet might be a book or vice versa. Book banning is never right!

This ruling went a long way to restabish our freedom of speech that was taken by McCain-Feingold.

This ruling will make election contributions more transparent. The McCain-Feingold bill was nothing but a vessel to help the incumbent stay in office. This ruling will level the laying field.

Goggle Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission and read the whole thing.

The Democrats and the media are focusing only on the corporate part of the ruling. There is much more involved.

Citzens United was threatened with federal prosecution if the showed tgh fil on Hillary, if they put it on a CD and tried to sell it or if they even showecd it free to people who wanted to see it. Meanwhile because of some BS language in McCain Feingold Michael Moore could show his crap all day long.

There was no balance; now there is.

Posted by: mitchbsandlin | January 25, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

People quit jumping on the corproation aspect of this decision. Read the whole thing. The federal lawyers said in the first argument that if the movie about Hillary had been a book then they could ban it as well.

In the 2nd argument they changed book to pamplet but could not say when the pamplet might be a book or vice versa. Book banning is never right!

This ruling went a long way to restabish our freedom of speech that was taken by McCain-Feingold.

This ruling will make election contributions more transparent. The McCain-Feingold bill was nothing but a vessel to help the incumbent stay in office. This ruling will level the laying field.

Goggle Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission and read the whole thing.

The Democrats and the media are focusing only on the corporate part of the ruling. There is much more involved.

Citzens United was threatened with federal prosecution if the showed tgh fil on Hillary, if they put it on a CD and tried to sell it or if they even showecd it free to people who wanted to see it. Meanwhile because of some BS language in McCain Feingold Michael Moore could show his crap all day long.

There was no balance; now there is.

Posted by: mitchbsandlin | January 25, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

So much for an impartial Supreme Court.

Talk about the "Federalist Five" reading the Constitution to provide corporations with the rights of persons to influence election.

Today elections depend on large amounts of money to even attempt to initiate a campaign and much more to win.

A corporation is a legal entity, not a person. A corporation is made up of stockholders, if the company execs and board decide to spend $100,000,000 on a specific candidate and only 49% of the stockholders are against the corporate candidate, the 49% is in effect, being forced to fund their candidates opponent.

Posted by: JedG | January 25, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I propose a constitutional amendment: A 'person' as referred to herein shall for all purposes refer to a natural person.

Note this avoids the stumbling block of other definitions of 'a person' that could run afoul of the 'life begins at conception' debate. The Constitutional amendment would not change legislative definitions that routinely define person to include corporations, but it would get us out of the constitutional protections debate.

Posted by: lernerlaw | January 25, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Could it be true after 40 years of politics that reality has set in on J. McCain's brain? Did he discover that he was lost in the maze of special interest for the last 30 years? Has he figured out he was right about W to start with? Has he figured out the waste of special interest wars yet? Will he ever admit to being completely wrong and that communism has infiltrated the republican party since Reagan and even before. Will he ever admit that the Bush family is a special interest criminal family that has played pilfer politics with life since the second world war? Will he ever fight the 4% that has taken control of our country?

Posted by: kimkimminni1 | January 25, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Impeach the Finance Five.

Posted by: chucke2 | January 25, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

It has now become imperative that we begin the tedious process of passing a Constitutional amendment BEFORE our democracy becomes a complete "corporatocracy."

Posted by: diannekmx | January 25, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

You are exactly right, maggieww. This is the exact "legislating from the bench" argument that the far right has been bemoaning for years. That it came from judges reflective of their point of view is ironic.

Posted by: diannekmx | January 25, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

while i agree with maggieww that corporations are not people, the argument shouldn't be that corporations can't make love or get baptized or have a soul. some people can't make love, aren't baptized, and it's up for debate as to whether people have souls.

the argument, rather, is that corporations can only exist through a charter which is granted by a government constituted by people and CAN BE REVOKED by people. people cannot revoke personhood.

Posted by: plathman | January 25, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Now, I'm all for giving appropriate deference to SCOTUS judges, but let's not forget they are human beings first.

Yes, we accord them the rights of feudal overlords (rightly or wrongly). Nonetheless, the members of SCOTUS need not be lawyers at all, if history is right.
What they do need to be is sensitive to the way "law" affects the people--and that does change regularly, much as our society does.

The problem is that contemporary society emphasizes the power of a "lifetime appointment" and minimizes the historical perspective of those who would resign due to perceived folly in their determinations.

Back when I was young, during the founding of the republic, embarrassment was a strong reason for going home with your tail between your legs. If only we could return to that.

Posted by: bulldog6 | January 25, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

In reading the decision, it is fascinating is the repeated use of the word "chilling" by Roberts in the decision - to describe the effect on the First Amendment of not letting corporations have free speech. That seems so ironic - because the chilling effect of this decision is to undermine the free speech of all other breathing persons in our country.

If corporations are persons then why don't we have funerals when they are closed and why aren't the CEO's of failed businesses tried for murder? Because corporations aren't persons. Are corporations baptized? Do they have souls? They don't breathe or eat or make love - they are not people and they should not have the rights of a person.

Come November, we may begin to see the Congress and Governors of Exon. As the Justices are replaced with Justices nominated by our Exon President, corporations will then be seen as countries and we will understand how Native Americans feel. All of our representatives, who were elected based on corporate backing, will be saying to all of us - Republicans and Democrats - get over it, you lost. But they'll have their calendars wrong, we lost last week with this decision.

Posted by: maggieww | January 24, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

It would have been a more interesting McCain segment if his wife had interrupted him during his statement.

Posted by: steveboyington | January 24, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I think SCOTUS is absolutely correct. Why shouldn't the UAW and PETA be able to spend as much as they want to get their message out? We all have our special interests and if mine are environmental issues and animals I want to hire lobbyists and make contributions to further my own special interests. McCain has been a part of the problem for way too long and has definitely worn out his welcome. I hope independent voters in Arizona send him to retirement this fall.

Posted by: hit4cycle | January 24, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Interviews of Alito and Roberts prior to confirmation, showed that both strongly insisted they were NOT political activists and would follow precedent. This week's decision showed exactly the opposite.
Two legal fictions: Corporations are people, and money equals free speech, were used to justify the SCOTUS kiss to the Corporations. Corporate Boards contain foreigners who will now decide, using gigantic financial contributions, who runs our government.

Posted by: drzimmern1 | January 24, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

60% of this country is liberal white african american chicano, i want to see the frito lay brand at the right hand corner, or what ever corporation, of every anti gay or family value anti abortion or gun ad they run during every election from county judge to senate.like i said we vote every two years, i use the dollar everyday and i won't buy anything, and i hope a lot of folks will follow suit, of any company that thinks they can sway elections with their money.thanks supreme court you just politicized the supermarket.

Posted by: trjohnson8890122 | January 24, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

60% of this country is liberal white african american chicano, i want to see the frito lay brand at the right hand corner, or what ever corporation, of every anti gay or family value anti abortion or gun ad they run during every election from county judge to senate.like i said we vote every two years, i use the dollar everyday and i won't buy anything, and i hope a lot of folks will follow suit, of any company that thinks they can sway elections with their money.thanks supreme court you just politicized the supermarket.

Posted by: trjohnson8890122 | January 24, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

60% of this country is liberal white african american chicano, i want to see the frito lay brand at the right hand corner, or what ever corporation, of every anti gay or family value anti abortion or gun ad they run during every election from county judge to senate.like i said we vote every two years, i use the dollar everyday and i won't buy anything, and i hope a lot of folks will follow suit, of any company that thinks they can sway elections with their money.thanks supreme court you just politicized the supermarket.

Posted by: trjohnson8890122 | January 24, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks SCOTUS...........Campaign Finance Reform as structured by McCain and Feingold was just a muzzle on people who dissented from any campaign or candidate and wanted to express opposition right up to the time of balloting.

Trying to make this about business corporations is disingenuous at the very least. It applied to ANY and ALL groups even those made up solely of private citizens. Telling the American public to "put a sock in it" was a really nasty idea from the beginning and I'm delighted that this has been overturned.

I notice that this really bothers Obama.....that's probably enough to make me love it but let me remind everyone that many suspect that Obama's campaign contributions were less than legal and like most of his life, he prefers not to disclose who supported him (or anything else for that matter).

Posted by: OregonStorm | January 24, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks SCOTUS...........Campaign Finance Reform as structured by McCain and Feingold was just a muzzle on people who dissented from any campaign or candidate and wanted to express opposition right up to the time of balloting.

Trying to make this about business corporations is disingenuous at the very least. It applied to ANY and ALL groups even those made up solely of private citizens. Telling the American public to "put a sock in it" was a really nasty idea from the beginning and I'm delighted that this has been overturned.

I notice that this really bothers Obama.....that's probably enough to make me love it but let me remind everyone that many suspect that Obama's campaign contributions were less than legal and like most of his life, he prefers not to disclose who supported him (or anything else for that matter).

Posted by: OregonStorm | January 24, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

By criminalizing certain political speech, McCain-Feingold was an affront to the values at the very heart of the First Amendment. Remember the joke about the college president who suffered a heart attack and whose faculty passed a resolution wishing him a speedy recovery, by a vote of 53 to 45? Last week the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the First Amendment means what it says, by a vote of 5-4.

Posted by: Rob_ | January 24, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Strong response Mc Same. Your party loves it and filed the claim. Thnaks for releasing Sarah on us,too. RETIRE.
Your as weak as Barry.

Posted by: crrobin | January 24, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Kentuckians are soooo proud of Mitch. He is such a model for using democratic rights to undermind democratic principles.

Posted by: cucklebur | January 24, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

McCain is right: the hacks on the Supreme Court have no political experience. They also have no legal or business experience - Roberts, Thomas, Scalia have never tried a case or run a law firm or any other kind of business.

Posted by: mnjam | January 24, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

The Supreme Court set up has always been a bit of a weak link in the US system due to its uncircumscribed powers. It's a part of the Constitution which needed/needs more tweaking.

Posted by: Matthew_DC | January 24, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

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