Thursday, January 21, 2010

Are you effing kidding me?

Letting corporations have MORE access and less regulation to the government?
In response to news that the Supreme Court will hold a special public session on Thursday, which some expect could bring a highly-anticipated campaign finance decision, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) is circulating an online petition opposing the decision, which is expected to undo limits on corporate spending in federal campaigns.

Grayson said he would personally deliver the signatures to the court in the morning.

"We're trying something new -- usually the only petitions the Supreme Court sees are petitions for writ of certiorari," Grayson told HuffPost. Asked where he got the idea, he said, "It's in the Constitution. The First Amendment guarantees the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Progressive good-government groups worry that the Supreme Court seems poised to unleash a flood of corporate money into federal campaigns. The case stems from the Federal Election Commission's decision not to allow a conservative group called Citizens United to air ads for an anti-Hillary Clinton movie during the 2008 election season. The ads, the FEC reasoned, constituted unlawful corporate electioneering. The Supreme Court is questioning the constitutionality of the FEC's decision.
h/t to Dusty Crickets in comments.

Update: Shoulda checked the news first :

By a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday rolled back restrictions on corporate spending on federal campaigns. The decision could unleash a torrent of corporate-funded attack ads in upcoming campaigns.

"Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy -- it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people -- political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it by design or inadvertence," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority.

In his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens accused the majority of judicial activism and attacked the use of corporate personhood in the case: "The conceit that corporations must be treated identically to natural persons in the political sphere is not only inaccurate but also inadequate to justify the Court's disposition of this case."

Republicans offered measured praise for the decision, but progressive good-government groups and Democrats responded angrily and vowed to fight back with legislation.

And more:
Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- A divided U.S. Supreme Court struck down decades-old restrictions on corporate campaign spending, reversing two of its precedents and freeing companies to conduct advertising campaigns that explicitly try to sway voters.

The 5-4 majority, invoking the Constitution’s free-speech clause, said the government lacks a legitimate basis to restrict independent campaign expenditures by companies. The ruling went well beyond the circumstances in the case before the justices, a dispute over a documentary film attacking then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“When government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. “This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.”

Companies, which had been barred since 1947 from using general-treasury dollars in support of or in opposition to a candidate, now can spend millions of dollars on their own campaign ads, potentially punishing or rewarding lawmakers for their votes on legislation. Labor unions, though they weren’t directly at issue in the case, have been subject to the same restrictions and may also now expand their political spending.


Dusty Crickets said...

My comment from over Hullaballo :

"check out this snip....

"Towards the end of their correspondence, just before they died, John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson, "The problem, as I see it, is how to prevent freedom from allowing intelligence and ambition to accumulate great wealth. And how to keep great wealth from corrupting Congress."

If that quote is accurate then the founders new there was going to be a problem....and it seems reasonable that they would have approved of Congress working to limit the corrupting influence of great wealth. It's too bad really....the checks and balances were such great ideas, they just couldn't solve the problem of fat cats corrupting Congress. Until we solve that, we're screwed.

Dusty Crickets said...


""This is the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case," the Orlando, Fla. congressman said in a statement. "It leads us all down the road to serfdom."

"The Supreme Court has decided to protect the rights of GE, Volkswagen, Lukoil and Aramco, at the expense of our right to good government," added Grayson, who was in the courtroom when the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision.

"If we do nothing, then before long, there won't be Senators from Oklahoma or Virginia, there will be Senators from Citibank and Walmart. Maybe they will wear insignias on their $500 suits, like NASCAR drivers do."

ellroon said...

Dear God.

We really have become a Corporatocracy, haven't we?

Anonymous said...

This is the last thing, for me. I can't see how you (the collective you) can return to any semblance of democracy, if this stands.

Hoping new legislation will correct it, but I'm doubtful.

ellroon said...

The collective us are a bunch of fucking morons.

Going to go pout over in this corner and then pick up my megaphone, pitchfork and bucket of tar....