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Supreme court allows corporate takeover of politics

The Supreme Court's 5-to-4 ruling today to open our political system to unlimited sums of corporate money is a reckless and dangerous piece of judicial activism. As I note over at the discussion site E.J.’s Precinct -- click here if you want to join the debate there -- it will create havoc in our political system and greatly undermine the legitimacy of the court that Chief Justice John Roberts leads.

I argued last September that if Roberts led a ruling in this direction, he would be directly contradicting his promises at his confirmation hearings of judicial modesty. Remember Roberts saying judges were like umpires calling the balls and strikes? In this case, he and his colleagues canceled the game altogether and decided on their own what the final score would be.

“I do think that it is a jolt to the legal system when you overrule a precedent,” Roberts said back then. “Precedent plays an important role in promoting stability and evenhandedness. It is not enough -- and the court has emphasized this on several occasions -- it is not enough that you may think the prior decision was wrongly decided. That really doesn’t answer the question, it just poses the question.”

He added: “And you do look at these other factors, like settled expectations, like the legitimacy of the court, like whether a particular precedent is workable or not, whether a precedent has been eroded by subsequent developments.” He also quoted Alexander Hamilton, who wrote in Federalist 78: “To avoid an arbitrary discretion in the judges, they need to be bound down by rules and precedents.”

This ruling overturns precedents going back to 1990, and in some ways to 1976. They were working. Does the court's majority really think that the problem with our politics is that corporations have too little power?

“The court today rejects a century of history when it treats the distinction between corporate and individual campaign spending as an invidious novelty….” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in his tough dissent.

"Our lawmakers have a compelling constitutional basis, if not also a democratic duty, to take measures designed to guard against the potentially deleterious effects of corporate spending in local and national races," Stevens wrote. “The court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation.”

Cuttingly, at least for Supreme Court dissents, Stevens accused the majority of going well beyond the case before them to do essentially what they wanted -- I’d call it, in one of President George W. Bush’s favorite phrases, legislating from the bench. “Essentially,” Stevens wrote, “five justices were unhappy with the limited nature of the case before us, so they changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law.”

There was also this from Stevens: “A century of more recent history puts to rest any notion that today’s ruling is faithful to our First Amendment tradition.” Exactly right.

Substantively, supporters of this decision such as George Will, with whom I have had disagreements on this general topic for years, say it is about free speech. It's not. Corporations are not individuals, as Congress recognized when it first limited the role of corporate money in politics back in 1907. Corporations are created by law, and they should not be treated the same as we treat live human beings.

Congress should try as quickly as possible to limit the damage this ruling does to our political system.

By E.J. Dionne  | January 21, 2010; 11:48 AM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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Comments

In order to promote and protect free political speech under this Supreme Court ruling, we need a new law.

We need to create a designated uniform for candidates with the logos of corporate sponsors emblazoned that candidates would be required to wear in all campaign spots and public appearances.

At least then the voting public would know what name brand they were buying.

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

The problem with the decision of the court is that it did not protect the "Free Speech" of the First Amendment. What the court protected is "Paid Speech." The First Amendment does not protect "Paid Speech." Free speech is what it says it is: free. Free speech should not be regulated. Nor should access to mediums of free speech be regulated. So, what needs to happen is to find a way to take the profit motive out of "Free Speech." Do I know how that will or can happen? No. But as long as the court did not uphold "Free Speech" but did uphold "Paid Speech" it seems to me nothing more than a sham to say the First Amendment is now protected.

Posted by: unchurch1 | January 21, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

whatever you think of the ruling, let's dump the "activism" garbage. It's just an after the fact pejorative for the court overturning a legislative act you like. If you didn't like it, you would say the court was doing it's job. As Will has noted, the court's job is to protect the constitution against the legislature, and, in the case of the Elo eminent domain abuse case in CT, more activism, not less, was needed, and he suggested that conservatives should be careful about throwing around judicial restraint as a rubric because they might get it when they don't want it.

Posted by: JoeT1 | January 21, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The conservative justices on the Supreme Court did just what they were paid to do by the Bush family cartel: destroy our democracy. Now the corporations will be able to spend unlimited sums of money to support (buy) the candidate (flunky) of their choice, and unlimited sums of money to dominate the media with their propaganda. The only people celebrating this decision will be oligarchs and corporate facists like George Will, the Bushes, and the CEOs. Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, Alito, and Kennedy are traitors to the Constitution and Bill of Rights and should be impeached and thrown off the court today. How about a little extraodinary rendition for them all?

Money is not speech, and corporations are not humans, they are creations of the state. As such, the state can regulate corporations any way they want. I suggest that all states immediately write into their rules of incorporation a ban on corporations of any type partipating in the political process in any manner whatsoever. Congress should immediately convene an emergency session to pass an Admendment to the Constitution restricting the right to participate in the political process to registered voters only, and defining speech as sound waves and text, not money.

Posted by: Chagasman | January 21, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Free speech has won and the left has lost . . . this is indeed a good day.

Posted by: rplat | January 21, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

It's not activism, it's criminal. they're not even coming close to neutrally officiating or "judging". Scalia is a textualist. The dictionary does not define corporation as individual. The founders did not intend to give business entities the same rights as people.

IMPEACH the 5.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | January 21, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Reckless activism"? That is what we prolifes said about Roe v Wade which has even less constitutional backing than the most recent decision and which has distorted pretty much every election since 1973.

Perhaps some day you liberals will come to appreciate that the Supreme Court has hogged up too much power and needs to be reined in.

And oh, I agree with you that it was a bad decision. Corporations should not be treated as being on the same footing as individuals. Next thing they will be asking for the right to marry!!

Posted by: rohitcuny | January 21, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

E.J., you really should take that plane to Cuba where you'll fit right in. With its ruling, the Supreme Court now says corporations, who normally vote with Republicans, can now donate their money to likeminded candidates and compete head to head with the extortionist labor unions, Emilys Lists, Moveons, etc. I only hope the corporate checkbooks are vastly greater than these socialistic parasites. If the lamestreet media won't fairly cover conservatives, then, By God, they can buy the time and space they need to get their message out to people.

Posted by: panamajack | January 21, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

ok, so you say that Corporations donating money and funding ads amounts to evil politics.

Then WHAT THE HELL ARE PACs??? PACs are political front groups to cache money and then deliver to specific candidates. Same idea and PACS have unlimited collection potential.

Who the heck do you think paid for Obama's 1/2 hour national infomercial prior to the 2008 election. I didn't hear squat from anyone at the post about how Obama came up with the funds for that and several other of his big media spends.

Posted by: alutz08 | January 21, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

The Roberts Supreme Court will go down in the history of American jurisprudence as one of the most destructive Courts to the fabric of our democracy.

The majority in the instant decision as well as a number before it e.g. the Ledbetter Title VII statutue of limitations case, have the moral and intellectual suasion of the Court as it was constituted in Plessy v. Fergeson, the famous separate but eqaul decision of the 19th century.

The concept of stare decisis means nothing to the majority and it is the conservative block of the Court who are the true activists.

It is time for Democrats in the Congress and groups interested in the integrity of the federal judiciary to give the lie to the conservative saw that it is the "liberal judges" who are legislating from the bench. The Roberts Court is its own legislature and its mission is to enable big business and Big Brother to rule this land.

This is but another legacy of the imperial presidency of W and Vice

Posted by: assumedbyanyorknowntonone | January 21, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Only in America

SCOTUS defines a financial/legal term as HUMAN- CORPORATION

Mr. or MRS. ? Does it matter?

Just like US SENATE defines majority of 100= 60 not 51!

Only in America!

No wonder AMERICA sucks at SCIENCE and MATH!

Posted by: sasha2008 | January 21, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Defending the 1st Amedment is not "activism" EJ - once again you are on the wrong side. Changing the Constitution to fit your needs is activism and the five judges who struck down McCain/Feingold in this decision stuck with the Constitution - you should read it sometime.

Posted by: Realist20 | January 21, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

There is a real problem for voters today. PR campaigns of lobbyists, politicians, and, yes, Fox News have made it very difficult to determine the facts on the ground. And facts matter. When an administration is incompetent, as the previous one was in its prosecution of the two wars, people need to know about it when they vote. Similarly, when an administration is competent, as the present one has been in dealing with the economic crisis, people need to know. By allowing corporations, with their unlimited propaganda budgets, to unleash yet more confusing and self-interested ads, we are dooming ourselves to be voting in ignorance, bent to the will of forces that are very likely no friends of ours.

Posted by: bertram2 | January 21, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I've been saying this for a long time, and now it's quite clear:

The only solution is an amendment to the Constitution saying, very simply, "the word `person' in this Constitution and its amendments refers only to human beings."

When the Bill of Rights was added to the original constitutions, no one had thought of the modern corporation at all, much less of the legal fiction of treating it as a person that can sue or be sued. That fiction, in any event, was never intended to erase the distinction between a legal entity and a flesh-and-blood person.

You're on the right track in this column, but Congress can't fix this mess, so it's time to find a real solution.

Posted by: tmorgan2008 | January 21, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Dead On! Bush's far right wing Roman Catholic millionaire Court Appointees have screwed us AND what we were trying to restore - - a true "We the People" Democracy.
Absolutely Disgusting!

Posted by: lufrank1 | January 21, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

What about all the cases in the past, not necessarily linked to this issue, that the court essentially passed the buck and never provided a concrete ruling? Even with its list of current actors. Its about time they ruled on the actual constitutionality of some issues. We can't allow constitutionally protected rights to be selectively applied to parts of the populous.

Now Corporations can put up their own ads that would counter Obama's 30 min infomercial (that was mostly funded by PACs).

Also let it be known, that Corporations don't throw all of their support behind the GOP, as the liberals have continually espouse. The funds and advertising flow both ways.

Posted by: alutz08 | January 21, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

It also evens the playing field. The Libs have always had the WaPo, NYT, MSM carrying their endorsement water, their anti-gun, pro-tax, pro-abortion rights, pro-criminal rights positions for them. For free. Besides you overreached with McCain-Feingold.

Posted by: ronjaboy | January 21, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

This would not be a problem if we had Term limits. One term for a Senator(6 years), two for President (8 years currently in effect) and three terms for Congressmen (6 years). Corporate money which is probably no more corrupt that very wealth individual money would have far less value to policians who no longer need it ( term limited) and as a result less corporate money would flow to the system (poor investment). Everyone knows this and except for the politicians and the people who make their living off of culivating politicians, would vote for it in a minute.

Posted by: Tuerke9 | January 21, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

That pesky 1st amendment to the Constitution. Our founding father's had such odd ideas "Free Speech" indeed? And imagine Chief Justice Roberts following the Constitution and the 1st amendment. Shame on him!!!

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

I'm so sorry unions are no longer able to offer unlimited sums of money by "encouraging" their members to donate instead of directly giving it to the candidate they support. I'll make it really clear:
OBAMA RAISED MORE MONEY THAN MCCAIN BY EXPLOITING THESE RESTRICTIONS.

Posted by: axxionx12 | January 21, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The left always hates free speech when the words are contrary to their narrative/agenda.

Cope liberal statists....dare to be normal too.

The left has no problem when a "non-profit" corporation speaks loudly or funds a message........

If the corporate words are more than you can bear, it is probably your false worldview more than a constitutional let down at work.

Posted by: georgedixon | January 21, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The 1st ammendment applies to citizens. The whole point of this is now a corporation has the same rights as citizens.

--------------------------
That pesky 1st amendment to the Constitution. Our founding father's had such odd ideas "Free Speech" indeed? And imagine Chief Justice Roberts following the Constitution and the 1st amendment. Shame on him!!!

Posted by: jjj141 | January 21, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

This is laughable, a leftist pig complaining about judicial activism!

Shove it, Dionne.

Posted by: DCer1 | January 21, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

@Joet1 - Yes but the decision was 5-4. That's not protecting the Constituion, that's partisan division.

This wasn't about a Constitutional issue. this was about benefiting big business at the expense of we the people.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | January 21, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Disgraceful. Corporations should have SOME of the legal protections as individuals, but to codify that corporations have the same political rights as U.S. citizens goes beyond the pale.

Given the line of argument, why not let corporations directly run for office? What better form of political expression is there than to run for office, be elected, and put into place the politics and laws you believe are best?

Posted by: hmfmcg | January 21, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Your second-to-last sentence sums up the problem. Corporations are not persons. Identifying them as such is abhorrent. Where is Scalia, the originalist, in this case? Where in the Constitution is there reference to entities as persons? This is an activist ruling by justices who represent the moneyed class in this country.

Posted by: gtinla | January 21, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Look on the bright side - since the Court is apparently no longer bound by precedent, we can try again in a few years.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | January 21, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: panamajack | January 21, 2010 1:02 PM
I only hope the corporate checkbooks are vastly greater than these socialistic parasites.
________________________________________________

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

So we are to presume that the banking community that can skim off billion$ in bonuses will not be able to skim off billion$ in campaign funds(bribes) to lobby against banking regulations?
And that's just one example.
You sure 1 funny guy.

Posted by: jimbo1949 | January 21, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Dionne, the only precedents we should worry about are the ones going back to 1789, specifically The Bill of Rights.

Free speech (1st Amendment) and Restrictions on Congress (10th Amendment) say that the latter has no businesses telling anyone or any business entity how little or how much they can donate to a political campaign.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | January 21, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Dionne: "reckless radicalism." It's in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the other founders! They are both reckless and radical. May God bless them for eternity, for these reckless radicals have provided me with FREEDOM. Man-0-man, I feel like William Wallace when he screamed out to the world "FREEDOM!"

What a wonderful week! We won't have a government beaucracy to put a ring in my nose in this health care stuff, and now we have affirmed we have Freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Last year, we afirmed the God given right of people to keep and bear arms!

Posted by: Cdgaman | January 21, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Why do some of the right-wing loons commenting here love corporations so much? You guys aren't so dumb as to think they love you back ... are you?

Posted by: gmg22 | January 21, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

The statement was made that "With its ruling, the Supreme Court now says corporations, who normally vote with Republicans, can now donate their money to likeminded candidates and compete head to head with the extortionist labor unions, Emilys Lists, Moveons, etc."

I hate to pint out that it is INDIVIDUALS who vote and have rights under the US Constitution. I also recall that the famous first line reads "We the People ...". It excludes corporations.

Roberts did what he has been doing all along: He is overriding precedent in favor of Corporations. He has yet to vote against a corporate position! But then again, he IS the son of corporate executives.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | January 21, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

LOL you rightwingnut droolers are too funny. So much for your "judicial activism" bleats. Those "unelected judges" bleats. Just a bunch of rightwingnut crap.

Surely a teabagger has the balls (pun intended) to criticize this decision. Yeah, right!

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | January 21, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Boo Hoo - the unions absolutely hate spending union dues on advertising....oh well

Posted by: humbucker | January 21, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The political classes, with the support of the "mainstream" media, have hacked away at our free speech rights for years, with the intent to limit political speech to the political classes and the media and keep the rest of us as slient as possible. Exactly how limits on the amount I can contribute to a candidate can be constitutional is beyond me and even more beyond me is how the Supreme Court determined the the magic number. Should corporations be allowed to spend money to advertise their political views? I don't have a strong policy opinion about it but I do know that all corporations are owned by individuals and the last time I checked the Constitution itself doesn't exclude corporations. And if you are worried about cororations spending money to pubilize their political views, how do you permit the mainstream media to spend money on political views. The NY Times, the WAPo, the Journel, NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and hundreds of other newspapers and raido and tv stations do it every day and they are corporations too. And they spend really big money on politics.

Posted by: jdonner2 | January 21, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Some of the commentary from the righties here is unreal. "I only hope the corporate checkbooks are vastly greater than these socialistic parasites..." Do you live under a rock? Because, YES. They really are VASTLY greater. So, um, good for you, I guess?

Anybody with an ounce of sense - of ANY political stripe - can see that this is an unmitigated disaster. The amounts of money that get hyped in a typical political campaign are chump change compared to what corporate bosses have to throw at candidates they like (or against candidates they fear). The Obama campaign raised $730 million for the '08 election. Meanwhile, Citigroup - just one bank - paid out seven TIMES that amount in BONUSES in 2008 (around $5.5 Billion, with a 'B'), the same year it lost tens of billions and required a bailout.

I mean, MoveOn? Emily's List? Oh please - MoveOn spent ~$30 million in 2008 on campaigns, raised mostly from small individual donors (alongside a few conservative boogeymen like George Soros). A corporate banking sector (or any other) with literally TRILLIONS of money at stake can now just swamp that if they don't like the way an election is headed, making everyone else's voices pretty much irrelevant.

This is a sad and terrifying day for democracy.

Posted by: nonbelievable | January 21, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh Please, Mr. Dionne. What about the centuries of precedent firmly establishing the corporate entities too are persons?

And your baseball analogy is weak. There are big pitches, and there are smaller ones. This time, the constitutionality of corporate speech was before the court. Big as it was, the call had to be made just like for any any other pitch.

Posted by: Meximelt | January 21, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"Congress should try as quickly as possible to limit the damage this ruling does to our political system."

But they won't, because anyone who wants to be re-elected will have to kowtow to big business or they won't be able to compete in a campaign.

Posted by: Duodenum | January 21, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

the ruling class has spoken again. i hope all those who commented here in favor of the ruling are already at the top of a corporate hierarchy, stand to inherit a secure base of old money, are already securely independently wealthy, or are an irreplaceable highly placed, highly paid lackey of someone else in one of the just described situations (and are okay with being the lackey). because if you support it and you aren't already in one of those situations, you're just kidding yourself -- it doesn't help you. yes, you have an outside chance of getting there if you aren't there already but the odds are NOT in your favor. you also have a chance of drawing to an inside straight but you shouldn't bet on it. responding with vitriol and/or calling me names does not change that reality. this ruling is part of the ongoing class warfare being waged by the ruling class against everyone else -- including you.

Posted by: allyourbasearebelongtous | January 21, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

the ruling class has spoken again. i hope all those who commented here in favor of the ruling are already at the top of a corporate hierarchy, stand to inherit a secure base of old money, are already securely independently wealthy, or are an irreplaceable highly placed, highly paid lackey of someone else in one of the just described situations (and are okay with being the lackey). because if you support it and you aren't already in one of those situations, you're just kidding yourself -- it doesn't help you. yes, you have an outside chance of getting there if you aren't there already but the odds are NOT in your favor. you also have a chance of drawing to an inside straight but you shouldn't bet on it. responding with vitriol and/or calling me names does not change that reality. this ruling is part of the ongoing class warfare being waged by the ruling class against everyone else -- including you.

Posted by: allyourbasearebelongtous | January 21, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

If the 2000 Supreme Court had not interfered with the presidential election that year, the Robert's court would not exist. The decisions and judgments of 9 unelected individuals have mighty power in deciding our fate in too many areas. And in too many decisions they have been biased and subjective. Todays majority ruling mirrors the politics of the presidents who appointed them, and that is not coincidental. But whether liberal or conservative, I would object, since the highest court, often a last resort, should above all be objective in their work.

Time to revisit proposals for term limits for the court. Lifetime tenure is too generous, and unrealistic in the fast moving, tech world of today.

Posted by: jbleenyc | January 21, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I have no concerns about this ruling as now that they have further pushed the personhood of corporations far enough that the corporation goes to jail (all officers, employees and shareholders) the first time they break any law that pertains to a person
- pollution - no fine - jail time
- Hire illegal aliens - no fine - jail the entire corporation

No, you can't just fire the person you picked at random to represent the corporation - the ENTIRE corpoartion (lock, stock and barrel) goes to jail.

Way to go!

Posted by: leespencer | January 21, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Not only are corporations not individuals, as Mr. Dionne says, they are also, in our global world, no longer really American, in many cases. These are international entities whose only purpose is to seek their own enrichment.

Posted by: roland_menge | January 21, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

edbyronadams
is right. All candidates should be required to be emblazoned with logos from their corporate sponsors in an outfit very similar to a Nascar drivers uniform at all campaign appearances. It would be far more honest than the system we have today.

Posted by: dfolk1 | January 21, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Liberals can and will complain, but a simple look at the numbers shows that McCain-Feingold has been a disaster. Instead of direct contributions, corporate interests funnel money through various PACs and 527s, and the amount of money flowing from special interests into politics has skyrocketed since McCain-Feingold came into force. The law has done nothing to control special-interest spending; it has encouraged it by establishing legal means through which money can be hidden from public sight.

And is it really "judicial activism" to defend the letter of the law in the First Amendment? One would think that journalists of all people would want to expand free speech protections, but apparently not.

Posted by: blert | January 21, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

This is just one of the many lies Roberts told during his confirmation. Democrats keep giving Republicans the benefit of the doubt only to get slapped in the face every time. Naiveté is an understatement it actually borders on being mentally challenged! I’m not a politician and I did not review Robert’s complete history before the confirmation. I only researched a little and I knew he was lying during testimony. There should be legal consequences for this but there is not.

Posted by: dhampton100 | January 21, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Once, just once, I'd like a liberal decrying "judicial activism" to actually quote the text of the Constitution that the decision is inconsistent with, then provide a detailed explanation of why. EJ, I keep looking for that in your column, but can't seem to find it anywhere!

Posted by: SamsDog | January 21, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Wingnuts have no place in this discussion. This isn't about left or right, or even about unions or businesses. This is about the declaration today that money is now equal to speech, and an organization is now equal to an individual.

The imbalance of power represented in these two propositions should scare anyone, left or right. The twisted logic used to arrive at them should also scare people. Ask yourself: now that money equals speech, should we not be allowed to give money to terrorist organizations? After all, it's just political expression (now).

Or, would you be OK with a corporation or asserting the right to adopt children? Or how about a union stockpiling weapons? After all, if the rights of individual extends to these organizations, why would we not allow it?

Posted by: Buddydog | January 21, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

There they go again, writing law from the bench, judicial activism at it's worst. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." I see the word people, I don't see the word corporation. Individuals may be protected under this language, corporations are not. They did the same thing in 2000 overriding state law when no federal law superceded it, making Dubya the president.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 21, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

So all that advertising money selling us stuff on broadcast and print media from all those corporations will continue to sell us stuff, but this time they will get a twofer- they put their names on the candidates they back who spend that money on broadcast & print media to sell us the candidate and products we don't want but buy anyway.

If Free Speech is not bought and paid for, then why do you pay for cable TV & internet, newspapers, magazines?

As for the Democrats being upset about this, well when Democrat politicians stop taking lobbying money, letting corporations write laws, and boycott all corporations from backing Democrat Party candidates, then be against this ruling.

In the meantime, take your hypocrisy and redeposit in those banking and automobile industries you gave all that corporate welfare to.

Posted by: planetspinz | January 21, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Free Speech, paid speech, it is all the same.

First amendment isn't to protect us from speech we agree with, but speech we do not agree with as well. The opinion simple adds quantity to the quality protection.

Naive to think Corporations didn't have politicians in their hip pocket anyway. GE, GM, Pharma, Goldman Sachs, Freddie and Fannie, etc, etc, etc - you think they don't have all the influence they want over politicians now?

So odd, how so many can see the influence this may give Corporations over politicians, but when the roles are reversed & Government gives money to Businesses many of the people complaining today were not at the time of the bailouts.

I suppose if we can protect rights of terrorists in Gitmo we can protect rights of companies. The SC has been totally consistent in how they handled this case and the Gitmo case (regardless of my personal thoughts).

Posted by: rdmartin1 | January 21, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

So corporations can now swamp the airwaves with advertising. So what?

It's still up to you to believe (or not) what they say. Or continue being sheeple. Your choice.

Posted by: Bailers | January 21, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Dionne, I normally do not agree with you on politics, but in this case I would have to agree with you. I have always felt that Supreme Court judges should have term limits. The problem I believe is that it would take a constitutional amendment to do this. We are in the 21st century now, and I'm sure that the founding fathers of our constitution never would have imagined that this could have happened.
Lets have some words of wisdom from John McCain and his cosponsor of the legislation that was overruled.

Posted by: SeniorVet | January 21, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

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