Obama vs. Alito vs. Dionne
Our Readers Who Comment are still all fired up about Justice Samuel Alito's murmured "not true" response to President Obama's pointed criticism of a Supreme Court decision in his State of the Union message. Readers this morning are arguing about E.J. Dionne's column saying the Court "is now dominated by a highly politicized conservative majority intent on working its will, even if that means ignoring precedents and the wishes of the elected branches of government."
Commenters were strong on both sides of the discussion, some praising and others damning the court's decision. The ruling ended decades of restrictions on corporations being able to use their profits to finance campaigns for and against candidates and, among other things, raised fears that foreign-owned corporations could significantly influence U.S. elections.
We'll start with twm1, who wrote, "I think Dionne is just exactly right. Both Obama's criticism of the Court and Aliot's apparent dissent are appropriate. Repression of this sort of thing in the name of decorum deprives the public of important information. The British House of Commons holds a weekly rancorous "Question Time" where the Prime Minister must answer questions by MPs on the floor of the Commons... I wish someone of importance would push this [in the United States] now."
polystyreneman said, "No, it was the response of a judge who understands the law better than the president. Whether the decision was activism isn't the point. I know the commenters here love to slam the conservative columnists, but Dionne deserves at least as much disdain."
dmblum wrote, "What struck me was the silly childishness of it. I mean, he's supposed to an august, apolitical jurist who merely interprets the law. Instead he looks like a one of these obnoxious shouting heads that dominate cable news."
stratman1 said, "The only thing this dust-up reminded me of is Obama's lack of class. It's an image I'll remember, for sure, but not for the reason E.J. thinks (and holds dear)."
whatdyousay wrote, "It's pretty obvious these judges have way to much power. To take one mans documentary and turn it into human rights for a corporation makes no sense. Everyone in that corporation has the same rights as you and I, but should a CEO decide for everyone else what candidate to support?"
OneWhoSpeaksTruth said, "His was the honest reaction of a judicial activist who believes he has the obligation to impose his version of right reason on the rest of us. Uh, that's what judges do, they judge."
j9zig1 wrote, "Funny how libs are all about respecting precedents except on decisions they disagree with... Please get off your high horse and just say you think that money is not speech (a previous SCOTUS decision) and that corporations and unions (and non-profits too!) do not have the right to make political statements."
And ljkeesey observed that "Free speech is free speech. What's the difference between a corporation or UNION using its own treasury to pay for a political advertisement or a political action committee, frequently with an innocuous-sounding name, espousing its views in a commercial? At least with the former I know where the message is coming from and can gauge accordingly. That's not necessarily the case with the latter. Frankly, I say more transparency is better."
i_go_pogo said, "I would sure like to have one of the fine conservative commenters explain the big upside of unlimited corporate political speech. Standing up for the First Amendment? Please. Seems to me that since the silent majority of voters never quite showed up on your side, you're eager to enable the until-now silent majority of corrupt corporate dollars..."
But johntu wrote, "Liberal activists have dominated the court for so many years that it makes chills run down the spine of a leftist when a conservative court reverses an unconstitutional decision. And for those worried about all those possible corporate donations, I have a question. Did anyone ever find out where the Obama campaign got all its millions?"
JerWH said, "If our rights are to be protected, it is necessary to love freedom more than your fear the consequences of it. Personally, I despise many of the provisions of the Patriot Act precisely because I love the freedoms which it curtails more. By the same token, I love the freedom of speech more than I am afraid of corporate money being used in a free campaign. I am intelligent enough to not base my vote on a paid advertisement, and so I'm willing to risk allowing a person with whom I disagree to speak. You're wrong on this one, Mr. Dionne."
dmblum wrote, "The ideas that corporations are human beings is so transparently monstrous on the face of it it's astonishing any adult (not working for a corporation) for it to be so. Can corporations fight and die for this country? If corporations are citizens with all the rights entrusted in thereof, we no longer had a democracy, we have a plutocracy. Actually we've had one for some time, this just openly acknowledges it."
chod1560equines said, "The perfect summation of the Obama performance to date; "That's Not True"..."
MNUSA wrote, "In 2000 they chose a president. That was without Alito and Roberts. Now the Bush Supreme court is even more entrenched and for a much longer period of time."
But etronsen said, "The nation owes a substantial debt to Justice Alito for enforcing the U.S. Constitution."
JoeTH wrote, "...Obama's transparent attack was merely a cookie for his liberal base. And another divisive zinger when the nation - not its extremes - longs for real collaboration. Where is Dionne's disdain for Pelosi, Reid and Obama's core belif that they have the 'obligation to impose [their] version of right reason on the rest of us?' "
We'll close with blarsen1, who gave me a laugh in writing, "The republicans will hail this decision right up until the moment George Soros starts a billion dollar campaign to elect Nancy Pelosi for president."
All comments on Dionne's column are here.
February 1, 2010; 6:57 AM ET
| Tags: Alito, Corporations, Obama, Supreme Court, Unions
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