Justices Overturn Key Campaign Limits

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacNut, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    Sweeping aside a century-old understanding and overruling two important precedents, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

    The ruling was a vindication, the majority said, of the First Amendment’s most basic free speech principle — that the government has no business regulating political speech. The dissenters said allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace will corrupt democracy.

    The 5-to-4 decision was a doctrinal earthquake but also a political and practical one. Specialists in campaign finance law said they expected the decision, which also applies to labor unions and other organizations, to reshape the way elections are conducted.

    “If the First Amendment has any force,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority, which included the four members of its conservative wing, “it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

    Justice John Paul Stevens read a long dissent from the bench. He said the majority had committed a grave error in treating corporate speech the same as that of human beings. His decision was joined by the other three members of the court’s liberal wing.

    Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, an author of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, called the ruling “a terrible mistake.”

    “Ignoring important principles of judicial restraint and respect for precedent, the Court has given corporate money a breathtaking new role in federal campaigns,” said Mr. Feingold, a Democrat.

    Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader and a longtime opponent of that law, praised the Court’s decision as “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.” The case had unlikely origins. It involved a documentary called “Hillary: The Movie,” a 90-minute stew of caustic political commentary and advocacy journalism. It was produced by Citizens United, a conservative nonprofit corporation, and was released during the Democratic presidential primaries in 2008.

    Citizens United lost a suit that year against the Federal Election Commission, and scuttled plans to show the film on a cable video-on-demand service and to broadcast television advertisements for it. But the film was shown in theaters in six cities, and it remains available on DVD and the Internet.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/politics/22scotus.html
     
  2. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    As if our system wasn't bought off enough now.
     
  3. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

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    Well if the american politics was not courpted enough this is now the icing on the cake.
    Voting has just become completely worthless. The candiates now have no reason to listen to the voter and will only cater to the big business.

    What were the 5 dumb ass on the court that voted for this.
     
  4. MacNut thread starter macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    This is not going to be good for anybody but those we are trying to stop.
     
  5. NT1440 macrumors G4

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    From what I've read so far, the conservative judges supported it, but I'd really love a list, any help?
     
  6. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    Entirely expected from the conservative corporatist majority on the court.

    So, you think we'll hear any conservatives come in here complaining about "activist judges" who are "overturning precedent" and "thwarting the will of the people"? My guess is no. They like activist judges when their judicial activism helps their side.

    Come on righties! Prove that you aren't hypocrites!
     
  7. MacNut thread starter macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    I don't understand how anyone could think this is a good idea. Unions and corporations already have to much control in government and elections.
     
  8. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    I don't know if there's a list yet, but I agree, it was probably the RATS+Kennedy
     
  9. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    I was just going off an MSNBC article I read during class on my ipod, thats why I want actually confirmation you know.
     
  10. MacNut thread starter macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    On its central point, Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel A. Alito Jr., and Clarence Thomas. Justice Stevens’s dissent was joined by Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.
     
  11. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    Well, if you're a well-heeled corporation (who are apparently people just like you and I), then you'd think this was a brilliant idea.
     
  12. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    Thank you. That's the most surprising news I've heard since they discovered that bears **** in the woods.
     
  13. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    Because getting their foot in the door on determining who can and when they can was a dangerous step.

    I support it only from the standpoint that regardless of your affiliation you should be able to get your message out.

    The simple fact is, if we restricted corporations and unions, realizing that the corporation in this case is a non business association, then only the the politicians control the message.

    The system is controlled by the politicians who simply control the union and corporation money directly. Find a case where an opponent to an incumbent invoked this law.

    Right now, all the people decrying all this influence will suddenly appear are willfully ignoring it is already there but only for the connected politicians (mostly incumbents)
     
  14. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    From the article:

    Kennedy and RATS voted for it.

    They voted against it.
     
  15. MacNut thread starter macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    The message should not be controlled by big business ether. Leave it up to the people to decide. You don't think that unions or corporations could get their message out before? I didn't see them having any problems. All this does is take away another voice.
     
  16. rdowns macrumors Penryn

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    What an awful ruling. We need to get the money out of politics, not open the door for more.

    So can anyone now form a corporation and skirt all campaign finance laws?
     
  17. abijnk macrumors 68040

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    Welcome to California, brought to you by Chevron.
     
  18. hulugu macrumors 68000

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    Corporations and other large organizations will become the deciding de facto voice in political speech with this ruling. Whoever spends the most money, wins.

    Yes. This creates a loophole so massive that all campaign finance reform has been rendered moot.
     
  19. MacNut thread starter macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #19
    So who does this help more during midterm elections. Democrats or Republicans.
     
  20. steve knight macrumors 68020

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    So now free speech is paid for. only in America. we will really be the laughingstock of the world.
     
  21. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    It helps those who already have money and power to maintain that position.
     
  22. iShater macrumors 604

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    Soon we will start importing freedom and asking the UN to come observe our elections. :rolleyes:



    So if corporations are now citizens, can they prosecuted and put to jail for crimes?
     
  23. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    Wrong question. The right question is who does this help more, Walmart or Exxon?
     
  24. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    Whoever has better funding. As the GOP has shown, people will start believing anything if you say it enough, and now with this you can have smear campaign ads from corporations as long as they want to air them. Essentially its a race to spend the most to completely overpower opposing messages/ads.

    I don't care which party takes advantage of it the most, its just plain wrong, and further proof that America is owned by corporations.
     
  25. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    Nope, like always, it will only be applicable in court when it can help them somehow.
     

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