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Reactions to the Supreme Court reversing limits on corporate spending in political campaigns

Updated 1:25 p.m.
The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may spend freely to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on their participation in federal campaigns. Read the Citizens United opinion (pdf). Reaction is coming in fast:

President Obama:

With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington--while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates. That's why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing less.

SCOTUSblog: Campaign disclosure rules upheld

Bloomberg: Corporate Campaign Spending Backed by U.S. High Court

Wall Street Journal: Supreme Court Overturns Limits on Corporate Spending in Political Campaigns

Politico: Court decision opens new avenues for corporate political spending

Fox News: Supreme Court Removes Limits on Corporate, Labor Donations to Campaigns

Firedoglake: Supreme Court Unleashes Corporate Campaign Cash In Citizen's United Decision

National Review's Bench Memos: Freedom in Citizens United

Open Left: Normalizing the Dishonest, Corrupt and Unacceptable

TPM Muckraker: Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Campaign-Finance Provision

Ed Morrissey, Hot Air: Breaking: Supreme Court strikes down some McCain-Feingold provisions

Nick Nyhart, Huffington Post: Supreme Court Sides with Wall Street

NPR: High Court Rolls Back Campaign Spending Limits

The Fix, Washington Post: Supreme Court overturns corporate campaign spending ban

Political Animal, The Washington Monthly: CITIZENS UNITED V. FEC

Free Speech for People

Former senator Bob Kerrey, Huffington Post: The Senator from Exxon-Mobil? As Supreme Court Throws Open the Floodgates to Unlimited Corporate Money in Campaigns, the Time for Real Reform is Now!

Powerline: A "small revolution" in campaign finance law

Lawyers, Guns and Money: Supremes: Opressed Corporations Lack Political Influence

Michelle Malkin: Supreme Court decimates McCain-Feingold campaign finance law

E.J. Dionne discussion: Corporate takeover: The Supreme Court's reckless conservative activism

Washington Post Twitter aggregator

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.):

It is important to note that the decision does not affect McCain-Feingold's soft money ban, which will continue to prevent corporate contributions to the political parties from corrupting the political process. But this decision was a terrible mistake. Presented with a relatively narrow legal issue, the Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president. Ignoring important principles of judicial restraint and respect for precedent, the Court has given corporate money a breathtaking new role in federal campaigns. Just six years ago, the Court said that the prohibition on corporations and unions dipping into their treasuries to influence campaigns was 'firmly embedded in our law.' Yet this Court has just upended that prohibition, and a century's worth of campaign finance law designed to stem corruption in government. The American people will pay dearly for this decision when, more than ever, their voices are drowned out by corporate spending in our federal elections. In the coming weeks, I will work with my colleagues to pass legislation restoring as many of the critical restraints on corporate control of our elections as possible.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.):

I am disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court and the lifting of the limits on corporate and union contributions. However, it appears that key aspects of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), including the ban on soft money contributions, remain intact.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.):

For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process. With today's monumental decision, the Supreme Court took an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights of these groups by ruling that the Constitution protects their right to express themselves about political candidates and issues up until Election Day. By previously denying this right, the government was picking winners and losers. Our democracy depends upon free speech, not just for some but for all.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

The Supreme Court's divided opinion is likely to change the course of our democracy and could threaten the public's confidence the Court's impartiality. As Justice Stevens noted in his dissent, the 'Court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.'
Without any basis in the plain text or history of the Constitution, five Justices overturned precedent to grant corporations the same power as any individual citizen to influence elections. For these five Justices to reach their broad ruling, they overturned precedent, as well as the statute. As the dissenting Justices noted, 'the final principle of judicial process that the majority violates is the most transparent: stare decisis.... But if this principle is to do any meaningful work in supporting the rule of law, it must at least demand a significant justification, beyond the preferences of five justices, for overturning settled doctrine.'
There is clear reason for ordinary citizens to be concerned that this divisive ruling will, in reality, allow powerful corporations to drown out the voices of everyday Americans in future campaigns. This ruling is no doubt yet another victory for Wall Street, at the expense of Main Street America. Our founding document begins, 'We the People,' and throughout its articles and amendments, the Constitution enshrines the power of our government in the people, not in corporations and powerful special interests.

National Republican Senatorial Committee chair Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas):

I am pleased that the Supreme Court has acted to protect the Constitution's First Amendment rights of free speech and association. These are the bedrock principles that underpin our system of governance and strengthen our democracy.
This is an encouraging step, and it is my hope that political parties will one day soon be able to speak as freely as other citizen organizations are now permitted.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.):

Today's Supreme Court decision effectively rolls back decades of progress we have made towards ensuring the fairness of our elections. Giving corporate interests an outsized role in our process will only mean citizens get heard less. We must look at legislative ways to make sure the ledger is not tipped so far for corporate interests that citizens voices are drowned out.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the chamber's third-ranking Democrat and a member of the Judiciary Committee:

"The bottom line is, the Supreme Court has just predetermined the winners of next November's election. It won't be the Republican or the Democrats and it won't be the American people; it will be Corporate America."

Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's litigation center. The Chamber is the nation's largest business group and spent $136 million on political lobbying in 2009, not including its efforts against health-care reform.

"Today's ruling protects the First Amendment rights of organizations across the political spectrum, and is a positive for the political process and free enterprise."

Common Cause statement:

The Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision today that will enhance the ability of the deepest-pocketed special interests to influence elections and the U.S. Congress, said a pair of leading national campaign finance reform organizations, Common Cause and Public Campaign. The decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, which overturned the ban on independent expenditures by corporations, paves the way for unlimited corporate and union spending in elections.
This decision means more business as usual in Washington, stomping on voters' hope for change," said Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign. "Congress must take on the insider Washington money culture if it wants to make the changes voters are demanding. The way to do that is by passing the Fair Elections Now Act.
The Roberts court today made a bad situation worse," said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. "This decision allows Wall Street to tap its vast corporate profits to drown out the voice of the public in our democracy.
The path from here is clear: Congress must free itself from Wall Street's grip so Main Street can finally get a fair shake," Edgar continued. "We need to change the way America pays for elections. Passing the Fair Elections Now Act would give us the best Congress money can't buy.
The Fair Elections Now Act (S.752 and H.R. 1826) was introduced by Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-Conn.). In the House, the bipartisan bill has attracted 125 additional cosponsors. Both bills blend small donor fundraising with public funding to reduce the pressure of fundraising from big contributors.

Anna Burger, SEIU Secretary-Treasurer:

Today the US Supreme Court lifted the floodgates and started dismantling century-old restrictions on corporate electoral activity in the name of the 'free speech rights' of corporations--meaning if you are a 'corporate person' (aka a CEO or corporate official), you are now free to hit the corporate ATM and spend whatever of your shareholders' money it takes to elect the candidates of your choice.
Unlimited corporate spending in federal elections threatens to drown out the voices of the people who should really be at the center of the political process, i.e., voters and candidates. Unleashing corporate spending will only serve to distort and ultimately delegitimize the electoral process.
Let's be clear: corporations have already been shilling out a lot of cash for political activities, letting their shareholders and managerial employees know exactly which candidates they want to win or lose elections and paying heavy sums for attack ads, direct mail and other forms of public communication through PACs.
But with today's Citizens United decision, the Court has given corporate managers the greenlight to bypass the checks and balances, use unlimited amounts from the general treasury -funds that should be used to increase the value of the business or pay dividends to shareholders--to instead pay for public communications expressly advocating the election or defeat of the candidates of their choice.
Our democratic process was meant to protect the people not profit margins and today's decision makes the need for an effective system for public funding, effective disclosure regulations, and other reforms of federal elections all the more pressing
.
We look forward to working with concerned individuals, officials and groups to remedy to the greatest degree possible the unfortunate consequences of this Supreme Court decision, through legislation and other appropriate means.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 21, 2010; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Corruption and Apathy Run Hand in Hand in our Government

The recent ruling by the Supreme Court to give more corruptive power to the big corporation and Labor Unions shouldn't come as a surprise.
Prior to the Presidential election when petitions were filed with the various state courts and then the Supreme Court, they ruled that ordinary citizens didn’t have the right to question the qualification of the Presidential candidate, Barrack Obama. Yet when the Democrats questioned John McCain’s right to run and needed proof, McCain provided copies of all supporting information. To this date, Obama has hired a staff of lawyers and has spent over $900,000 to hold our petitions up in the courts prior to the election and still is being fought currently. This type of expenditure must be questioned as it is considered illegal to use campaign funds for this type of issue!
On January 26, 2010 at least one Judge has the necessary morals and ethics to hear our case in court. I just hope that he continues to hold onto those two leading qualities (which are sadly missing in our government today) and does not succumb to bribery or coercion by President Obama. If he has nothing to hide these requested documents could have been provided at a minimal cost of under $100. Has Obama, because of his legal degree, been given favoritism from the Judicial System to keep this petition held up indefinitely in the court system? When the Federal Election Committee, the Electoral College and the Supreme Court refuse to address an issue of such critical importance have they become too apathetic towards the safety of our country and the people. Passing authority of this nature over to a political party is insane. Especially since Nancy Pelosi signed his qualification certification without the collection of necessary documents. Had they been collected there would be no reason to not submit them unless they could be considered detrimental to their cause!
What harm could have been caused by demanding these documents be submitted, unless they care so little about our constitutional rights, the safety and security of our country over their own selfish agendas. How can they keep our country safe when they use such a dismissive attitude towards issues of this nature? Has our security been put in jeopardy because of the careless acts of these groups of people?
This issue shouldn’t be about any political party affiliation but what is necessary to assure the safety and security of our country.
When anyone can sign a document stating they qualify for such a top level position without being fully investigated, then something is seriously wrong with the people we put into office

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

Welcome to the 21st century version of feudalism. In our new post-democratic United Corporations of America, life will be managed and controlled by our modern feudal lords. The serfs working on the feudal plantations are convinced that they have the "one man one vote" freedom their medieval counterparts did not enjoy. The problem is, "one man one vote" applies only to the "candidates" that our modern feudal lords approve of and promote with all the media blitzing money can buy, effectively drowning out any opposition. Meanwhile, serfs line up to vote and proudly place "I voted have you?" stickers on their lapels. It's sad, really.

Democracy (sigh) it was nice while it lasted. Say goodnight, the lights have gone out in America.

Posted by: katydid1 | January 23, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm afraid that this is a very serious event. Beyond all of the usual partisan bickering this ruling is the biggest threat to American Democracy since the Army of Charles Cornwallis was loose and ravaging the South. Even the Civil War was about what kind of democracy we would have, not about whether we would have one or not. Justice Roberts and Company sincerely belief that individual Americans have no rights that corporations "are bound to respect". They regard corporate conquest of all elected offices as progress. In other words they, the Supreme Court, are bought and paid for; and to paraphrase Lincoln, I do not believe that the divided house will fall. It will become all one thing, or all the other. We the people will rise up and overthrow our corporate opressors or we will all become their slaves. "I know not what course others may take, but as for me Give me Liberty opr give me Death!!!!!!!!

Posted by: dzippere | January 22, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

We human people desired to have a government that would be of the people, by the people, and for the people. When the Supreme Court declared that people included non-humans I questioned the common sense of these group of judges.

Corporations have no soul and their sole purpose is to make profit. To proclaim that Corporations are people is an affront to all humans. Human embryos maybe should be considered people; but not a legal construct.

We humans must demand that "people" is reserved word that only includes humans. Corporations should not be considered "people".

Posted by: ppease5 | January 22, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Obama's response could be interpreted as an attempt at comic irony. His administration for a year has been devoted to helping Wall Street banks and health care insurance companies. He, his white house advisors and most Democrats, until Tuesday, have had contempt for the opposition by a majority of people, according to polls, to their weak health care bills.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | January 22, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

The last shred of U.$.A., Inc. as a democracy died today with this ruling. The majority opinion could be titled: We ♡ Corporatism/Money Rules!
Our government refuses to face reality, it is broken, corrupt and almost no one in power or with power is even interested in fixing it because it is working for them and their corporate pals. In ever area, laws are enacted (arcanely written by/for corporations and the wealthiest) that in effect unnecessarily, cruelly and at a minimum further complicates ordinary people’s lives and with this opinion, a tsunami of corporate money will further smother our individual voices.
I believe Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito should be impeached by the Congress for perjury at their Senate confirmation hearings. They each under oath stated they would honor stare decisis and not reverse existing settled case law. They lied and should be removed from the court.

Posted by: Susan919 | January 21, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

The time has come in our Republic to acknowledge and understand that the power to govern ourselves justly and Constitutionally is in the hands of the People of the several states of America--NOT in the hands of the branches of federal government. What most people in America have been duped to believe is that the US Supreme Court is the final arbiter in all matters concerning government actions related to the US Constitution.

When it comes to US S CT rulings that contradict the US Constitution and that reject the historical facts and principles of our Republic, people feel hopeless and think that regaining freedom somehow means replacing the "liberal" judges with "conservative" judges. Such an approach to preserving freedom is not only un-American; it is fruitless and ineffectual. History now proves this. Additionally, this approach proves that the vast majority of Americans have been indoctrinated into the centralist-ideology imposed on us by not-so-innocent advocates of such a political belief system.

Let me state this clearly: the US Constitution does not grant to the US S CT the power to interpret the Constitution in contradiction to the terms of the Constitution, and it does not strip the powers of the States to actively arrest and resist tyrannical federal actions. The US S CT can no more violate the Constitution than the Legislative and Executive branches can. What sense does it make that the US S CT is bound by an oath to support and defend the Constitution and then has the power to interpret it however the heck they want to? Do you think our founders were so near-sighted and unlearned that they would have given to the US S CT this unchecked and unlimited power in the very document that states its purpose is "to secure the blessings of liberty"?


http://newswithviews.com/baldwin/baldwin528.htm


Posted by: AJAX2 | January 21, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

The time has come in our Republic to acknowledge and understand that the power to govern ourselves justly and Constitutionally is in the hands of the People of the several states of America--NOT in the hands of the branches of federal government. What most people in America have been duped to believe is that the US Supreme Court is the final arbiter in all matters concerning government actions related to the US Constitution.

When it comes to US Supreme Court rulings that contradict the US Constitution and that reject the historical facts and principles of our Republic, people feel hopeless and think that regaining freedom somehow means replacing the "liberal" judges with "conservative" judges. Such an approach to preserving freedom is not only un-American; it is fruitless and ineffectual. History now proves this. Additionally, this approach proves that the vast majority of Americans have been indoctrinated into the centralist-ideology imposed on us by not-so-innocent advocates of such a political belief system.

Let me state this clearly: the US Constitution does not grant to the US S CT the power to interpret the Constitution in contradiction to the terms of the Constitution, and it does not strip the powers of the States to actively arrest and resist tyrannical federal actions. The US S CT can no more violate the Constitution than the Legislative and Executive branches can. What sense does it make that the US S CT is bound by an oath to support and defend the Constitution and then has the power to interpret it however the heck they want to? Do you think our founders were so near-sighted and unlearned that they would have given to the US S CT this unchecked and unlimited power in the very document that states its purpose is "to secure the blessings of liberty"?


http://newswithviews.com/baldwin/baldwin528.htm

Posted by: AJAX2 | January 21, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Hi. Canadian dude here. This is to the little man: Dude, you gotta get the .... outta there man! Go to Australia or Europe but you have GOT to get the .... out while you can.

Posted by: Porcsale | January 21, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

The man who rode to victory in the White House on the backs of the criminal unions is now whining because the playing field has been leveled and there is free speech again. Get used to it, Obama, you have many more loses ahead.

Posted by: Ozark_Sunshine | January 21, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

beeker25, Exactly, the government can regulate more, they can require further disclosure by special interest groups on where they get funding, transparency in funding.

As long as citizens, voters are aware the of where the funding comes from, then citizens can make an informed decision.

More then that, further disclosures and transparency in lobbying is needed, and not just in the case of corporations. Those that vote, citizens, should be able to be fully informed on lobbying including both who and why.

Posted by: win1 | January 21, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Although the SCOTUS has ruled that independent groups and corporations can spend money to influence. The key word is expenditure which the court says amount to suppression of speech.
However what got lost is that they upheld the disclosure and disclaimer provisions (201 & 301)which the government can regulate corporate speech through these provisions something Citizen's United wanted to strike out but lost.

Posted by: beeker25 | January 21, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

enough3, most corporations are small, and not rich. There are for profit corporations, and non-profit. There are closely held, and huge.

A corporation is a business structure, and though we may not agree with their message, why should the government have the right to restrict the rights of business, unions, or other entities to speak out in their own interest?


Posted by: win1 | January 21, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

stanassc, the funding for the non-profit corporation in this case was mainly made by individuals. Some funds were from businesses, but most were from individuals to the non-profit. The FEC ruled against them simply because they were a corporation.

One case, considered after the 14th amendment, ruled that they had the right to equal protection under the law and due process.

Over and over again, it appears that the implications of the fourteenth amendment were not well thought out when it was passed. While the stated purpose of the amendment was good is agreed, but the amendment itself reached much further then the stated purpose.


Posted by: win1 | January 21, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable - the Supreme Court just made the worst threat to our democracy even worse. From beyond the grave, we get one last poke in the eye from the disastrous Bush administration.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | January 21, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: nosuchluck | January 21, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

This ruling will eventually hearken back to the days when "The Senator from Standard Oil" and others like him roamed the halls of congress and the capital.

Posted by: spencerbrowne | January 21, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

What if we defined citizens as only living, breathing human beings via a constitutional amendment, what might happen? Corporation would not have any inalienable rights under the Constitution or Bill of Rights; only those rights given to them by Congress. They might not be able to make any contribution to campaigns or 527 advocacy groups. The might be made to open their books for all corporate derived contributions. They might be made to testify before legislative committees, but could not lobby outside the TV camera range. Any written testimony or position papers might be public. CEOs as citizens could petition the government, but they could not use corporate lawyers, only those they paid for by the CEO personally and costing less than $2300. Any nonprofit participating in political action might have to disclose all contributions greater than $200. American Petroleum Institute would have to open its books. So to would the NRA if they received any corporate funds. If they had any corporate contributors, they would be denied lobbying privileges. Labor unions, Common Cause, MoveOn.org could lobby Congress because they were a collection of private citizens banded together to rent the microphone.

Posted by: stanassc | January 21, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Corporations were defined as persons in contract law because it makes it possible to assign responsibility to this thing rather than to some specific individual who may or may not actually be employed by the corporation for the full duration of a contract.

A corporation cannot (yet) vote therefore a corporation is not a political being and should have no voice.

Posted by: diomede | January 21, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Chief Justice Roberts during his Senate confirmation hearing stated that the function of a Supreme Court justice is similar to a baseball umpire - he (she) calls the balls and strikes. If that is so, this decision is a foul ball which allowed a winning run to score all the way from FIRST! So much for conservative judicial restraint and the alleged antics of "liberal" activist judges.

Posted by: lifestory | January 21, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

panamajack:

There are less than one thousand unions in the United States, whereas there are millions of corporations, with thousands more formed everyday. I would think the disparity in available corporate vs. union resources would make you think twice about gloating over this radical decision which is not derived from the Constitutuional text (it says strict constructionism be damned), nor respecting precedents and scores of decisions over the last 100 years (tradition and stare decisis) nor respectful of recent right wingers opposition to foreign interference in US politics. You see, this isn't about your flexible principles and situational ethics (?), rather it is about the GOP subversion of the American way by so-called conservatives who are traitors in black robes.

Posted by: enough3 | January 21, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Ever notice that ANY time the Bill of Rights is upheld, the Leftists get angry and misquote how the Founding Fathers would not have wanted it this way? Or how the Bill of Rights is "really" about reiterating the powers of the national government and not about individual freedoms at all?

Did not the Founding Fathers draft the Bill of Rights? I would think they would applaud this ruling.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | January 21, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Unions and Corporation spending will not help the Democratic Party in future elections. All voters and those who will now register to vote have had time to see what the Democratic Party really is. Mr. Brown and the Republican party are not perfect, but this past Massachusetts election signals both parties, we will not stand for anti-God and anti-Constitution policies in our nation. The Democrats put in a candidate without legal status in the Constitution; his father was a British subject, citizen of Kenya regardless of where Barack Obama was born.

The Democrats allow him to hide identity records that anyone seeking a high security position would have to supply: passport, school records, health records, selective service registration and verified birth certificate in spite of Communist connections in his parents etc. Barack Obama has put in Socialist-Communist connected people into his close advisory positions, (David Axelrod etc.). He quickly made abortion more accessible with our tax dollars and enlarged homosexual agenda for our nation. The Democrats help the president block court access and withhold information, not fulfilling their duties according to the Constitution. They allow him to put in czars that have no accountability to Congress, another layer of paid government.

They push Health Care Reform without knowing the details, pushing for mandatory insurance for everyone, dictating a parent should pay insurance for a child until over 25 years old, causing extra bills of from $80 to hundreds of dollars extra expense each month. It is against the Constitution and against God's law of faith verse fear. They push for a Climate Change Agreement giving the United Nations authority over the United States forming another government. The president repeatedly says one thing and does another.

If voters vote Democrat or for their policies after seeing the oppression and deception this president and the Democratic Party are using, we deserve what God warned us against.
Details and other charges are at http://www.divine-way.com and have been sent to the president.

Posted by: MarieDevine | January 21, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

congrats teabaggers and other reebos - something for you to really be mad about. That is, if you can drag yourself away from drawing Hitler mustaches on President Obama's posters.

Idiots...

Posted by: LABC | January 21, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

OH, boo hoo! You whining libtards are just upset that now conservative candidates can now go head to head with corporate money that dimocrats get from labor unions! If you really want to put an end to this, outlaw political action committees and special interests of every stripe: publicly fund every campaign and limit campaigns to just 5 weeks before the election. But no, libtards want to goatrope the conservatives while they're free to pull in as much union money as they can get. It doesn't work that way anymore, and the Supreme Court finally saw it for what it was....restrictions on free speech.

Posted by: panamajack | January 21, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Please go to

http://www.movetoamend.org

and join the swelling grassroots movement to amend our constitution regarding corporations rights as "persons".

Posted by: Bippo | January 21, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Too bad this decision was released after the vote in Mass. That might have resulted in a very adverse reaction causing many independents to rethink how they were planning to vote.

Once again, we have the consequence of the Bush administration being inflicted upon us. A corporation is a legal entity, not a voter. As a legal entity it, and labor unions should all be subject to the same limitations as a single, individual citizen. To grant a corporation, as well as Labor unions unlimited financial power to buy influence, votes, through massive financial contributions in the electoral process is simply obscene.

This is just one more case in which the Public gets the shaft, in just one more new way. You wonder why congress is so messed up, and can't seem to agree on anything? Behind the scenes financial interests Limit each citizen and corporation to a single $1000.00 contribution to each candidate. Outlaw PACs, make intentional misrepresentation of a candidates past a crime, with severe financial penalties. (Swiftboating is the term) Time to clean up this mess that is the political system in America.

Posted by: atc333 | January 21, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

1) Expose names of shareholders. Open records if they donate a dime to any PAC, and non-profit of any shape or form.

2) Remove all corporate tax credits, exemptions, etc.
End TIF and corporate bonds. List every shareholder and exec expense accountings to the penny. We can read and decide.

3) Impeach a justice or two. That's the easy option.

5) Put Phillip Morris cigarettes on Kraft Mac & Cheese boxes...make companies show what they sell on all the things they sell. Free speech means we have a right to know who is saying what to us...with sparkly mezmorizing packaging.

6) Vote.

Posted by: wintoursghost | January 21, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

It is time the House and Senate start working on a Constitutional Amendment that will once and for all declare that Corporations are NOT people or citizens and should not be afforded the same rights that actual living, breathing human beings receive.

Posted by: cdv31hellrzr | January 21, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

If you can't beat 'em, then buy your way in ! And as a value add, this ruling also provides us with a great way to stimulate the economy - becuase you need to be based in the U.S. to participate in this investment opportunity. So my only question now is this: how will AIG and GM invest their money ... or better yet, how will China or Dubai ?

Posted by: jralger | January 21, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I can't begin to express my anger at this absurd decision. Multinational corporations with no obligation to the US, as well as foreign-owned corporations doing business in the country, can now spend billions of dollars to influence elections. Justice Stevens' dissent is exactly right: "Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are not actually members of it. They cannot vote or run for office. Because they may be managed and controlled by nonresidents, their interests may conflict in fundamental respects with the interests of eligible voters." Shame on the Supremes!

Posted by: justasking3 | January 21, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the decision does include unions as well as corporations. But the democrats seem willing to forego that new influx of money. Are the Republicans going to heed the voice of the people they were so excited about yesterday? There is nothing about the populist/tea party movement that the party seemed so happy to embrace that supports giving a larger role in our democracy to corporate interests. That's what they are supposed to be against. Republican leader Mitch McConnell's statement applauding the decision -- "For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process" -- is unbelievably disingenuous.

Posted by: fmjk | January 21, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse


George Will must be in his happy place.

I can't wait to see the great things vested elite corporate influence cash will do now.

I hope you conservatives love Brazil, because that's what you're turning this once free Republic into.

On the other hand, this could be the boost unions need, so there.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | January 21, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Unions get this same ruling - Haven't seen anyone bemoaning that here. And if corporations and unions aren't equivalent to people (as was decided a LONG time ago) for politics, then they aren't for income taxes too, right?

Posted by: letmgo | January 21, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

THE 5 PRINCIPLES OF CONSERVATISM


1. THE REDISTRIBUTION OF FREE SPEECH TO THE WEALTH - COMPLETED

2. THE REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH TO THE FEW - COMPLETED

3. THE REDISTRIBUTION OF POLITICAL POWER TO THE WEALTHY - COMPLETED

4. THE MILITARY DOMINANCE OF THE WORLD - TO BE COMPLETED

5. - COMPLETE CONTROL OF ALL VALUABLE NATURAL RESOURCES - ALMOST COMPLETED

AND YOU THOUGHT CONSERVATISM WAS DEAD?

Posted by: thecontributist | January 21, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.):

"For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process."
***************

Sir, who exactly, are "some"? Name them. Where exactly do they live? Are they paying their legally mandated taxes?

Posted by: abqcleve | January 21, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The fundamental problem with his argument, the Supreme Court's ruling, and any argument stating money is equal to free speech, is that it unfairly disseminates the right to free speech to the rich.


If it is true that "all people are created equal" and we all have "one vote for one person" the Supremeless Courts rationale serves only to circumvent the fundamental principles of our Democratic Republic by allowing a disproportionate influence on government to the rich.

If the average American has $1 that they can contribute, and a millionaire or multi-national corporation has $1,000,000 to contribute, this gives them 1,000,000 times more free speech than the average American. This is fundamentally unbalanced and clearly not in the spirit of democracy.

It directly results in a greater persuasion on elected officials to influence outcomes on issues in their self-interests. If multi-national corporations can spend millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions, they will certainly get a greater impact of “free speech” than the average American.

What is worse is that these multi-national corporations do not consider themselves to be American companies anymore, as they are global companies with global self-interests. Yet the Supremeless Court will allow them to impart their will on our government to a greater extent, than the will of the average American family.

It only cost me 10 minutes of my time to write this letter, or any letter to my elected officials. It will cost me nothing to write this blog response. It will cost me almost nothing to e-mail my dissaticfaction with this ruling to every Senator, every paper and every person I know. The free press allows for issues to be aired openly on 24 hour news channels and in nationally distributed newspapers at no cost to the candidate. Candidates can appear on any number of news shows, opinion shows, forums, radio programs, ect. with out paying a single dime for the public access.


Why then is money indispensable for the dissemination of political speech?

Posted by: thecontributist | January 21, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse


PETITION TEXT

Unlimited corporate spending on campaigns means the government is up for sale and that the law itself will be bought and sold. It would be political bribery on the largest scale imaginable.

This issue transcends partisan political arguments. We cannot have a government that is bought and paid for by huge multinational corporations. You must stop this.


SIGN THE PETITION

http://salsa.mydccc.org/o/30019/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4&tag=corporatespeech_response


Posted by: AJAX2 | January 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Horrific ruling. A corporation is not a person, and that is how it is treated in the US Judicial System thanks to some random precedent set years ago.

This ruling reinforces that those with most money will matter the most and that their voiced will be "the loudest".

What these justices did today is a crime, and I cannot believe that anyone wanting to protect the interests of the American people can sleep at night after doing this.

Unfortunately, this will be the news story for a day or two, and it won't get much coverage, as people will turn to discuss some "voter anger", whatever that is, and reality TV and stuff like that. What a disgrace.

Posted by: sharedgum | January 21, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

let us pray.
Please dear God take the lives of the conservative judges on the US Supreme court.
They are trying to kill our wonderful country.

Posted by: strictly_liberal | January 21, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

If the Democrats were not such wimps, they would pass a bill of impeachment against the five justices in the majority. They have a large enough majority in the House to do it. The Congress alone has a right to decide what constitutes "high crimes and misdemeanours".

Because of the Republicans and right-wing Democrats, the justices will not be convicted in the Senate. But the battle lines will have been drawn to end the domination of money in our politics.

Posted by: Desertstraw | January 21, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Hola,

My name is Pedro and I approve thees message.

While you worry about illegals getting health care, your Supreeme Court is doing the real work for us Mexicans. Thanks to your Acteevist Supreeme Court wheech has ruled in favor of giving corporations unleemited use of money to buy your poleetical offeecials weeth no restreections on international companies and investors, we Mexicans will be moving in for good. We will be setting up shop een America and buying and investing in your companies, and setting up our own companies so we will have more rights then you gr1ng0s.

Seence corporations do not have to be born or naturalized like we indiveedual Mexicans do, we can now have our corporations make us legeetimate. Yes, we will pump all our huge amounts of drug money into our U.S. corporations and use that money to buy off your politeecians just like we do in Mexico. Since money weell now be equal to free speech, and corporations equal to eendividuals, we rich Mexican drug lords will have more free speech then you individual gr1ng0s. We will use thees unprecedented access to change the laws in our favor. And there ees nothing you stupid gr1ng0s can do about eet.

The beauty of the case Citizens Coalition vs. Federal Election Commission ees that gr1ng0 right wingers think thees is good to give corporations unleemited access to government, and they can slap Hillary Clinton een the process, but it also gives us Mexicans the ability to make the U.S. our home.

Thank you acteevist judges Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Kennedy and Thomas.

Posted by: thecontributist | January 21, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

For every action there is a reaction. Lets hope this is reacted to by constitutional amendment forcing all campaigns to be completely publicly financed.

Posted by: alex35332 | January 21, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

definition of a republican:

they tell you what you want to hear, then do what benefits them and their fat cat benefactors.

Yet you dim-witted voters continue to swallow the crap hook line and sinker. I could say you get what you deserve, but what about the rest of us? - the intelligent, educated, thoughtful types.

I hope all you muthafukkers die in hell.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | January 21, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I am appalled. This Supreme Court shames itself and the Constitution with this decision. John Marshall must be spinning in his grave.

Posted by: leoxthree | January 21, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

A model for understanding the U.S. can be found in Pinochet's Chile and Papa Doc's Haiti.

Posted by: TeresaBinstock | January 21, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Armed rebellion anyone?

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | January 21, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

If you thought political corruption was bad now, just you wait. Every politician in this country is just waiting to be bought. The Supreme Court just killed what little chance this country had of being a shining city on a hill; we will now sink into a stinking swamp of corruption.

Posted by: googleguy | January 21, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Happy now, republitards?

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | January 21, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

National Republican Senatorial Committee chair Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas):

"I am pleased that the Supreme Court has acted to protect the Constitution's First Amendment rights of free speech and association. These are the bedrock principles that underpin our system of governance and strengthen our democracy.

This is an encouraging step, and it is my hope that political parties will one day soon be able to speak as freely as other citizen organizations are now permitted."
***********************

Come on, conservatives. Cornyn doesn't even bother to try to support this outrageous statement. Do you want to step to the plate for him and help everyone understand how any reading of the Constitution--let alone a "strict constructionist" reading--grants corporations super rights (because of their money and access), but no responsibilities? Most corporations don't even pay anything other than nominal, token taxes.

This is an outrage worthy of taking to the streets, folks. This is what a real Tea Party should be focused on.

Posted by: abqcleve | January 21, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Since when has a corporation or a union been "born or naturalized" in the United States?

If they have not been then they are not a citizen and are not granted citizens rights.

The do not have the right free speech in the elections process and they cannot vote.

This is what the Consititution clearly defines.


What we have here is an "ACTIVIST SUPREME COURT" that has broken all historical precedence, procedure, decorum, and principle in hand selecting a case that allows the court to change a law that they did not like. This is the definition of ACTIVIST.


In doing so, the court has now...

* Created a giant loophole that allows foreign governments to have unprecedented influence on our government and selection of legislators and the decisions that they will make due to undue influence. Foreign owned businesses registered within the US can now exert as much power and influence on our elections process as they so chose. We are now no longer a country of Americans, but a vessel for international corporate influence.

* Undermined the Constitutional principle of "Fair and Equal representation for all". With unlimited influence, beyond what any ordinary US citizen could ever hope to achieve, corporations can publically pressure an elected official into behaving a specific way they desire through the mere threat of an advertising campaign t undermine their election. Thus any foundation or appearance of fair representation has been obliterated.


the actions of Justices Roberts, Thomas, Stevens, Scalia and Alito have forever taken ths country away from its people. Thier actions were discriminate, intentional and calculated. They have used their positions to directly undermine the people of the United States. They wraped their argument in the guise of "free speech" and "the public good" which makes them both liars and traitors.

American citizens should be outraged at the actions of our Supremeless Court.


Posted by: thecontributist | January 21, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

This is a wedge issue for the democrats this fall if they use it right. Americans will not see this as fair. They are already mad as hell about Wall Street profits. Now those profits, made with taxpayer money, will go to buy elections this fall.

Stand up democrats and stand behind the Fair Elections Now legislation. Get republicans on video standing against it. Make it a major issue. Take McConnell's words from above and point out that constitutional rights he is talking about is that of a corporation, not an individual, which America only endows with rights. Take this lemon the SC gave us and make lemonade, use it against the republicans, and in the process make a better America.

Time for democrats to go on the offense.

Posted by: Fate1 | January 21, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

So now George Soros and MoveOn.org won't have to hide their participation any more?

Posted by: ronjaboy | January 21, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The Glenn Becks and Sarah Palins of the world are going to have to show their true colors too. Are they going to accept large corporations pouring unlimited funds into elections? Or will they only object to political donations by labor unions? Is that how they will represent the "real Americans" who feel unserved by their government? Or are they going to finally sit down to a civil bipartisan conversation about how to fix a corrupt, broken system?

Posted by: fmjk | January 21, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The only way to thwart the Court is via a Constitutional Amendment that clearly states and limits free speech to only individuals and not corporations. The Amendment should also clearly state that "money" or its synonyms or antecedants ("cash", "dollars", "payments", etc.)shall not be construed as "free speech." What do you think the chances are of passing such an amendment would be? A law passed by Congress is insufficient. We would need a massive grass roots movement, much, much larger than the teabaggers to pass it in 3/4s of the states and in Congress.

Posted by: sunnsea | January 21, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

And the good people of massachusetts how do they think their new senator will vote on the issue if it ever comes to vote in the senate, eh?
dumbasses.....
Keep electing republicans, the ability of americans to hurt themselves is astounding

Posted by: biglio | January 21, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

What will be the reaction of the angry people all over the country to this decision? Both the democrats and the republicans will finally have to show their true colors -- who do they represent? the people? or the corporations? If the grassroots, tea party, "main street" guy is the driving force in politics these days, how can this Supreme Court opinion stand? What is Congress going to do to overrule this decision? And who is going to have the guts to try to lead the movement?

Posted by: fmjk | January 21, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

They're dancing, dancing on K Street.

Posted by: whocares666 | January 21, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

It's now official! The conservatives on the court have lost their collective minds. We know what to do about this. The culture war that has paralyzed this nation is about to turn into a revolution. As Jefferson said, the blood of the tyrants must flow to preserve the rights of the common man.

Posted by: pablomango | January 21, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

A disaster. Leave it to Mitch McConnell to paint this as a victory for a poor 'wittle bunch of freedom-fighters in mouthgags. What a joke!

Posted by: corbinb | January 21, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

What precious little was left of the Republic is finished. How ironic that two days ago Massachusetts voters that they were voting to send a message! Forget it....

Posted by: sunnsea | January 21, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

So citizens are not much of a factor anymore since money overcomes all semblances of a citizen democracy. Extremely well funded voices become unequal voices. Between ads, lobying, donations and influence peddling, our country just took a step closer to enslavement, not freer as the winners would have us believe. "Freedom" is such a relative and much abused word.

Corporations did not even exist until the time of the Civil War, so how can the Supreme Court elevate a legal person (corporations) to have the same founder envisioned Constitutional rights as a physical person (human being) without straying from the strict interpretationist doctrine of conservatives?

This ruling is disastrous for people, as the recent $650 million health care lobbyting and advertising effort by interested corporations shows. The SCOTUS has sold Americans into slavery. Money is the poison that has fouled our political discourse, and they have just increased the flow and heightened the level of battle and conflict. Shame, shame, shame.

Posted by: enough3 | January 21, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Corporations are not people. They do not vote. They should not be allowed to participate in the political process in any way. Period.

This is even more true now that corporations have made themselves not only legally "persons," but a special kind of person with all the rights of human beings but none of the responsibilities. They are super human.

This country is run by corporations. American politics are a tragic show meant to make it appear we have democracy. We don't.

Posted by: geezjan | January 21, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

The Bill of Rights was instituted to ensure INDIVIDUALS' freedom from government tyranny. It does not apply to corporations and any attempt to do so is bald-faced Machiavellianism.
There is no doubt anymore. The Court is no longer the safeguard of democracy. It has become a mere tool of the politicians.

Posted by: nadie1 | January 21, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"Will the Senator from ExxonMobil please yield five minutes to the Senator from AT&T?"

This is the worst possible decision the Roberts Court could have made and it's even worse because they went fishing for it. They have literally set our political system back 120 years.

@alex35332: Surely you are joking? There will never be another independent candidate...only those more subserviant to to corporate corruption than our current group of villans will stand a chance to get elected. Expect to any and all consumer, environmental, safety, worker and media protections eliminated within two years.

Posted by: hoos3014 | January 21, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

The mind-boggling distortions conservatives go through to justify their transparent allegiances is depressing. In support of this decision, the conservative majority of the court is saying that a corporation has the same standing in the light of the Constitution as an individual citizen. How is it possible for citizens to tolerate that?

This is the same ability to distort that informed their view of the "unitary executive" that Cheney used to utterly pervert our Constitution in matters of privacy, open meetings, and torture, to name only a few of his crimes.

Teabaggers: THESE are the issues you need to be concerned about, not communism and tax hikes and Muslims in the WH.

This ruling is an absolute outrage. Shame.

Posted by: abqcleve | January 21, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Why do we even vote at this point, since corporations will essentially be selecting who gets to run?

Posted by: RapmasterAC | January 21, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

-- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations, shall not perish from the earth.

Posted by: lichtme | January 21, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

America - a government of, by, and for Corporations.

Posted by: angie12106 | January 21, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

As an independent socialist-libertarian dedicated to the eventual destruction of the two party system, all I got to say is, this decision will help my people more than either the republicans or democrats.

Posted by: alex35332 | January 21, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

This is nuts, if you don't vote, you shouldn't be a contributor.

Posted by: citigreg | January 21, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

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